David Yurdiga greets supporters and volunteers as he is named the Member of Parliament for Fort McMurray-Cold Lake on Monday October 19, 2015. Robert Murray/Fort McMurray Today/Postmedia Network
The Conservative riding associations for Fort McMurray-Cold Lake and Edmonton West have joined calls to have the ban on same-sex marriage dropped from official party policy.
At the party’s recent policy convention, Alberta’s Conservative party members met to agree on what changes should be made or adopted when the entire party meets in Vancouver this spring for a policy convention.
The riding, as well as Edmonton West MP Kelly McCauley, proposed amending the party’s social policy on same-sex marriage.
Existing party policy says parliament - not the courts - should determine the definition of marriage. The party also supports legislation “defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
But the party’s social policies dictate that on moral issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage and euthanasia, members should be allowed to vote according to their conscience and in consultation with constituents.
The two electoral district associations argue the policy is redundant. In 2006, parliament held a free vote on whether marriage should be defined as between one man and one woman, and it failed. That vote was held one year after the passage of the Civil Marriage Act, which legalized same-sex marriage in Canada. Parliament has not debated the issue since.
The submission also argues that it makes no sense to take a stand on a moral issue while encouraging free votes on matters of conscience.
“Individual members of Parliament should be empowered to vote with their conscience in consultation with their constituents without having them biased one way or the other by their party policy declaration,” the submission said, according to The Canadian Press.
The motion calls for the two lines dealing with same-sex marriage to be deleted from the social policy platform. On Tuesday, Fort McMurray-Cold Lake MP David Yurdiga said the proposal coincides with the party’s principles regarding individual rights and freedoms.
“I’ve been clear for a long time that the Conservative party welcomes all conservatives,” he said. “If you believe in smaller government, lower taxes, balanced budgets and individual freedom, we want you in our party.”
By Vincent McDermott