At a Liberal fundraiser last November, Justin Trudeau took questions from the audience. A supporter asked which country’s administration he most admired. Trudeau’s response was shocking and made news headlines:
There is a level of admiration I actually have for China because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime (emphasis added).
Trudeau went on to explain the advantage of that system of governance: “There is a flexibility… having a dictatorship where you can do whatever you wanted, that I find quite interesting.”
Liberal Party apologists immediately downplayed the startling comment, explaining it away as ‘tongue in cheek.’ They claimed that Trudeau doesn’t really admire the communist dictatorship (which has a deplorable human rights record including the murder of its own people, forced abortion, and violent oppression of religion.)
Well, the Liberal leader made a policy announcement on the eve of the National March For Life which absolutely confirms his affinity to dictatorial rule. On May 7, admiration for his favourite dictators turned to imitation. Without any warning even to his own Liberal caucus, Trudeau announced that going forward, all Canadians who believe in the sanctity of human life will be barred from running as candidates in the Liberal Party. Only pro-abortion Canadians will be allowed to seek the nomination. People with pro-life beliefs are no longer welcome to run as candidates in what used to be “the big red tent” of the Liberal Party.
It’s important to note that in Justin’s Liberal leadership bid, one of his key campaign promises was that he would hold “open” and transparent nominations, allowing grassroots members in the riding to democratically choose their Liberal representative for the 2015 election. This broken campaign promise makes Trudeau a liar as well as a tyrant. Far from being “open,” the nomination process will be very closed, with Trudeau himself red lighting candidates to prevent them from being democratically selected.
When asked by reporters what he’d do about the three or four pro-life Liberal MPs currently in the party, Trudeau extended his almighty hand to say he would not kick them out of the Liberal caucus.
Oh, what a great and merciful ruler! The North Korean dictator, Kim Jon-un, who demands his people address him with the benevolent title of “Dear Leader,” is probably green with envy! Trudeau has shown his followers he is so much more benevolent.
Actually, hold that thought... When a reporter followed up to ask if those current pro-life MPs would be forced to vote in favour of abortion on future bills, Justin indicated that would be a “tough” decision and that he hadn’t yet made up his mind. Perhaps Trudeau will not be so merciful after all? According to his response, Trudeau may in fact still order those few Liberal MPs to violate their consciences, thus trampling their basic human rights. Remember - freedom of conscience is protected by the Charter.
Even if you're "pro-choice" on abortion, this development ought to trouble you. If Justin's prepared to whip the vote on this subject, in spite of its negative impact on a fundamental freedom, do you think he would hesitate to subvert the role of MPs on unrelated lesser matters should it suit his political interests?
Trudeau’s new candidate selection process is a serious problem for Canada’s democracy, representing a slide toward tyranny. This is not the same as a leader’s prerogative to demand assent to party policy on matters of prudential judgement like the budget or foreign policy. This attacks core Canadian values by undermining our constitutional rights to freedom of conscience and freedom of religion. By insisting that all candidates must be pro-abortion or agree to vote in favour of abortion even if they’re pro-life, it is a way of discriminating against practicing Catholics, Evangelicals, Protestants, Jews, Muslims and many other Canadians. It essentially tells them their religious beliefs are unfit and therefore they will not be tolerated.
How would things have played out differently if Trudeau had instead made the following policy announcement?
From now on, Bible-believing Christians and people from other religions are banned from running in the Liberal Party.
I believe there would have been a massive public outcry. Trudeau would have been promptly excoriated in the media, and he would have had to retract the statement within hours. Yet, that is essentially what Trudeau did, albeit indirectly. To be clear, I am not saying that Trudeau violated the letter of the Constitution, since the Liberal Party is an organization with voluntary membership, like a club. However, he certainly broke the spirit of the law in a profound, liberty-destroying kind of way.
Christians and other people of faith who support the Liberal Party’s economic, environmental or foreign policy have been told they need not apply if they believe that abortion violates the commandment “Thou shall not kill."
We have anti-discrimination laws in Canada that prevent employers from discriminating on the basis of religious belief. And yet, the man leading the federal Liberals is actively discriminating against religious people from running in his party. Let’s remember that the Liberal Party is not a fringe, one issue party like the Marijuana Party, for example. If Trudeau were leading the “Abortion Access Party,” I think it would indeed be a legitimate policy for him to impose on the candidate selection process. But historically, that’s not what the big red tent has represented to Canadians. The Liberal Party has always been one that claimed to represent and serve all Canadians.
Justin marginalizes a majority of Canadians
According to a 2013 Environics poll, 6 in 10 Canadians believe there should be some legal protection for children in the womb. By contrast, only 28% of respondents supported the status quo of abortion-on-demand, throughout all 9 months of pregnancy. And a 2011 Environics poll found that 92% of Canadians oppose sex-selective abortion. In effect, Justin Trudeau is excluding a majority of Canadians from the party. The big red tent has become a tiny, exclusionary red tent.
By hiding behind party rules, Justin is avoiding the legitimate accusation that his policy is one of anti-religious discrimination. Several media outlets are now questioning whether Justin’s policy crosses the line into violating freedom of conscience for a few sitting MPs. However, the continued portrayal of this as an issue of leader’s rights is helping him avoid the full brunt of condemnation for trampling the Charter right to freedom of conscience. This situation needs to change. More people and especially the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, need to start speaking out in these stark terms against Trudeau’s dictatorial policy. Canadians need to wake up and see how inappropriate it is for a man who has contempt for our most fundamental rights and freedoms, to be this close to the power of the Prime Minister’s office. Perhaps if there is strong enough public backlash, Trudeau may be forced to withdraw this anti-democratic policy.
Liberal self-sabotage for 2015?
Ultimately, I believe this decision will damage the Liberal Party in the 2015 federal election. Bizarre as it may seem, the Catholic vote has traditionally supported the Liberal Party. In fact, this large voting bloc had been the Liberal key to victory for decades.
That is largely because Catholics accepted the lies of successive party leaders like the elder Trudeau and Jean Chretien who claimed they “personally" opposed abortion, but didn’t want to "impose" their personal views on society. To me, that is a flimsy excuse that disingenuous politicians use to try hanging onto Catholic votes while, in practice, being ardent anti-Catholics. However, the tactic enabled generations of Catholic voters to rationalize turning a blind eye and supporting pro-abortion Liberal candidates because of the party's perceived emphasis on "social justice".
However, the younger Trudeau has broken with that rather successful, if not devious, political strategy. In his announcement, made it clear that he both privately and publicly supports the killing of babies in the womb, describing himself as “a resolutely pro-choice leader.”
If you’re pro-life, you would never call yourself “a resolutely pro-choice leader." There is no wiggle room in that statement. He’s a full-on supporter of baby-killing via abortion. And now, all Catholics who’ve recently returned to the Liberal fold will know this. For that reason, many Catholic voters may soon abandon Trudeau’s Liberals.
Why can we expect this will be the case? Because history tells us so. The Liberal Party’s push to redefine marriage in 2005 led to the decimation of the Liberal Party over the next few years and successive elections. Liberals went from “natural governing party” to the humiliating status of “third place losers” in the 2011 election. The secular press tried to blame the sponsorship scandal, but that wasn't the reason.
One can trace the demise of the federal Liberals from 2005 - 2011, to their position on social issues, which increasingly put the Liberals outside the mainstream of Canadian values, and painted them as “extreme.” This was felt in particular amongst the traditionally loyal voting blocs of Catholics and visible minorities. A significant defection amongst Evangelical Christians also occurred.
Successive Liberal leaders made their party look out of touch, even “radical," on issues like homosexual marriage (Martin 2005), taxing the air we breathe with a carbon tax (Dion 2008), funding abortion in Africa as part of maternal health (Ignatieff 2010), and the transsexual “bathroom bill” (Ignatieff 2010). As they shifted to the extreme left, core voting blocs flowed to the Conservatives who then had the appearance of being more aligned with their core values.
A case in point is the Catholic vote which dropped by 38 points, from 54% supporting Liberals in 2000, to just 16% in 2011. Over the years, Conservatives were the main beneficiaries of the Catholic defection.
The visible minority vote
It’s the same story with visible minorities, most of whom come from countries with strong beliefs in the traditional family, marriage and the sanctity of human life. A study of “probable voting” by visible minorities found that in 2000 Liberals had a 26 point advantage. By 2008, visible minorities were “almost as likely” to vote Conservative.
Cult of celebrity vs. Unsightly truth
Liberal popularity improved dramatically in 2013 after Justin Trudeau won the leadership of the Liberal Party. A key factor in that popular resurgence was nostalgia amongst older Catholics over the memory of his charismatic father, Pierre Trudeau. It was also the result of more than a decade spent by young Justin cultivating Catholic support by giving hundreds of talks in Catholic schools and other venues, wherein he presented himself as “one of you,” a practicing Catholic.
This of course was a ruse. Justin has always bitterly opposed Catholic teaching against abortion and homosexual marriage. As far back as 2001, during a World Youth Day event where he was a guest speaker, he told the group of young Catholics not to listen to the pope or bishops, referring to them as “old men with old ideas.” In 2012, while busy speaking in numerous Catholic schools, Trudeau told a CBC radio interviewer that if Stephen Harper ever turned back the clock on abortion or the definition of marriage, he would support Quebec separation from Canada.
However, by now making his support for baby-killing so crystal clear, without the “personally pro-life” cover, and by turning the Liberal Party into an officially pro-abortion party, Trudeau risks repulsing Catholic voters. He could produce a Catholic “yuck factor” of sorts. Many of the people who had moved from the Liberals to the Conservatives and back to the Liberals, will once again distance themselves from the ‘small red tent’ that Justin built. In my opinion, Trudeau has given the Conservatives an election gift.
I’ll provide the caveat however that this loss of popularity amongst Catholics will be dependent on whether word travels within the Church about Trudeau’s anti-Catholic policy. The mainstream media cannot be counted on to expose how inimical Justin Trudeau’s position is to Catholicism, to democracy and to human liberty. Therefore to a large extent, the responsibility does fall on clergy and other influence leaders within the Church.
Another party of death?
If Justin Trudeau does not recant this ‘no choice but pro-choice’ policy, Campaign Life Coalition will be forced to treat the Liberals the same as the NDP, wherein we basically say, “You cannot vote for an NDP candidate.” However, CLC would prefer not to do so because it is a much healthier democracy when freedom of conscience is respected within both major parties.
It also helps avoid the risk of the Conservatives taking pro-lifers for granted, believing they have nowhere else to go. Harper’s advisers tend to forget that social conservatives always have other options. Like staying home on Election Day if there is no pro-life candidate to support in the riding. Or supporting the Christian Heritage Party or other pro-life independents. In fact, I believe the pattern of declining voter turnout ratios is partially explained by the disenfanchisement of moral conservatives from the political process. They've chosen to stay home.
Build a backlash
Justin’s dictatorial policy cannot go unanswered. We must strike while the iron is hot. Write letters to the editor of your newspaper, phone in to call-in radio shows. And most importantly, write to your current Liberal MP and candidate. Tell them how disgusted you are by this anti-democratic policy, pointing out it could be disastrous for liberty and for the Liberal Party.
 Elisabeth Gidengil, Patrick Fournier, Joanna Everitt, Neil Nevitte, Andre Blais (2009) “The Anatomy of a Liberal Defeat”, p.13
 Ipsos-Reid exit poll of 36,000 Canadians on May 2, 2011
 Elisabeth Gidengil, Patrick Fournier, Joanna Everitt, Neil Nevitte, Andre Blais (2009) “The Anatomy of a Liberal Defeat”, p.3