MONTREAL, Quebec, February 14, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was famous for his fight against Quebec separatists. So his son, Montreal MP Justin Trudeau, caused a stir this week after he appeared to support Quebec sovereignty.
His justification? Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s oft-touted “hidden agenda” on abortion and same-sex “marriage.”
A Radio-Canada radio host asked Trudeau on Sunday if he can still recognize Canada now under Prime Minister Harper, and got a shock by the MP’s reply.
“I always say, if at a certain point, I believe that Canada was really the Canada of Stephen Harper – that we were going against abortion, and we were going against gay marriage, and we were going backwards in 10,000 different ways – maybe I would think about wanting to make Quebec a country,” said Trudeau, seen as a strong contender for the Liberal Party leadership in the future.
“Oh yes. Absolutely. If I no longer recognize Canada. For me, my values, I know them very well. But I believe profoundly in Canada, and I know that Quebec within Canada can [restore] this all,” he added.
The remarks lit up Twitter and blog users who questioned Trueday’s apparent reversal on federalism, a defining position for the Liberal Party owing largely to Pierre Trudeau’s influence.
Trudeau was quick to reassert his federalist stance Monday, tweeting that his view is “exactly the opposite: Canada needs Qc to balance out Harper’s vision that I (and many) just don’t support.”
The young MP’s tweet picked up on a theme raised by outspokenly pro-life Conservative MP Brad Trost in an interview with the Sun News Network’s Michael Coren last week – namely, that the liberal-stronghold in Quebec has been key to keeping abortion as an untouchable topic in Canadian politics.
“For decades, the center of gravity in Canadian politics has been dominated by Quebec, and Quebec elite opinion has been incredibly hostile on this,” Trost said.
But Trost emphasized that Quebec is losing its political clout as the population shifts to Ontario and Western Canada. “I think irrespective of who’s the leader, who’s the government, who’s the party, as the center of gravity in Canadian politics is moving from Quebec to suburban Ontario and suburban Western Canada…social issues like abortion will be more decided by the views of the suburbs of Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver.”
Joseph C. Ben-Ami, president of the Canadian Centre for Policy Studies, a conservative think-tank, criticized Trudeau for reintroducing the old “hidden agenda” charge against Harper. “For better or worse, PM Harper’s public and private opposition to re-opening the same-sex marriage or abortion debates is the chief impediment to the Conservative Party tackling either issue,” he told LifeSiteNews.
“Mr. Trudeau knows this full well, so his angst is completely disingenuous and contrived,” he added.
“Given Mr. Trudeau’s penchant—shared by his party and his colleagues and friends on the Left of the political spectrum—to decide from on high what subjects are suitable for the public to debate, says a great deal about his (and their) commitment to democratic principles,” Ben-Ami observed. “I do not believe that most citizens of Quebec would be happy living in such quasi-dictatorship, but I certainly wouldn’t.”
Ben-Ami suggested that neither Harper nor Trudeau may actually be able to stop the public debate on abortion. “There is increasing pressure from across the political and demographic landscape to address the issue of abortion,” he said, “especially in light of a recent report by the Canadian Medical Association Journal that gender-selection abortions are common in certain ethnic communities.”
“If that pressure continues to grow no government - Conservative or Liberal - will be able to resist it as resolutely as they heretofore have,” he added.