July 1, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Saskatchewan pro-life MP Brad Trost is “strongly exploring” the possibility of a Conservative Party leadership run, and “looking for support to make the final decision,” he told LifeSiteNews.
“I’m seeing if I can put together a professional campaign,” explained the 42-year-old Tory backbencher, who after four terms as MP for Saskatoon-Humboldt was re-elected last October in the newly configured riding of Saskatoon-University. “People think you wake up one day and decide to run. It’s not quite that easy.”
“The first thing you do is check with your spouse,” added Trost, who married in 2012, and whose Mongolian-born wife Gerelt “is more eager about this than I am. Maybe because I have a few more leadership campaigns under my belt than she has. I know most political campaigns end up in losses, which most people forget.”
So far, only Ontario MPs Kellie Leitch and Michael Chong and Quebec MP Maxime Bernier have declared as candidates for CPC leadership, which will be decided May 2017.
Social conservatives Jason Kenney and Andrew Scheer are also contemplating a run, although Kenney has made it known he is considering a run for leadership of Alberta’s PC Party to help rebuild the conservative movement in his home province. Scheer announced at a Regina event Tuesday that he will decide over the summer, according to CBC, as Kenney has said he will do.
Lisa Raitt, Tony Clement and former MP Peter MacKay are also rumoured potential contenders for the Conservative top job.
Outspoken pro-life and pro-family advocate
A German Baptist Mennonite and former geophysicist, Trost has been outspoken in defence of pro-life and pro-family issues in his 12 years as an MP, even to the point of calling out his own party at times. Trost has an impeccable pro-life voting record, and been a regular at the annual March for Life on Parliament Hill, notably appearing in the last two with his daughter Isabel Anu, now 15 months old, cradled in his arms.
He criticized his own Conservative government in 2009 for funding the Pride Parade to the tune of $400,000. He created a media storm and a backlash in Conservative ranks during the May 2011 election campaign when he stated the Tories had stopped funding the International Planned Parenthood Federation because of its abortion support. He subsequently blasted the Harper Conservatives for giving IPPF $6 million.
More recently, at the party’s May policy convention, Trost vocally opposed a motion to delete the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman from the policy declaration.
That the motion passed was “one of the things” that led Trost to consider a leadership run, he told LifeSiteNews, although he had already been approached a few times before, and said no.
It’s not that there is “no one else in caucus who shares my beliefs,” but “there aren’t a lot of people who are prepared to stand up. Some people just shrugged their shoulders and were prepared to walk away,” he said.
“Look, I understand, sometimes you lose political battles; you can’t fight them over and over again,” Trost told LifeSiteNews. “But I’m not the sort of person who believes that you just shrug your shoulders about fundamental principles, and I think that says it all.”
Independence an asset
Trost also denounced the Harper government for its infamous “ironclad party discipline” that shut down debate on policy, and he supported MP Michael Chong’s 2015 Reform Bill, which allegedly had its genesis in “Committee 2012” — a group of about 25 disaffected Tory MPs who pushed for democratic reforms, including limiting the power of the prime minister and the prime minister’s office (PMO).
“There were rumours that such a group existed,” was Trost’s only comment on the subject.
But as far as his leadership aspirations are concerned, he sees it as “a bit of an advantage” to be “someone who is not tightly associated with the Stephen Harper government,” and viewed as “being independent and thinking for oneself.”
There is a difference between discipline and control, he added. “Discipline is when you have everyone working together for the same goal, I think that’s a good thing; control, when someone from the exterior is trying to push you in a direction you may or may not want to go, which I don’t think is a good thing.”
For the same reason, he doesn’t see his lack of cabinet experience as a drawback, noting that he has more “parliamentary experience” than had both Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau combined when they assumed leadership of their respective parties.
Trost says that he will stand by his pro-life and pro-family convictions, but recognizes that “voters don’t want a one-issue candidate.”
“People want to know that you can talk about the economy, answer questions about foreign policy, deal with other issues too,” he said.
“They want someone who can be a leader across the board. That’s one of the things, if I do run, I want to be able to clearly articulate. I’m not changing my views, but I’m prepared to deal with all issues.”
In his view, “Canadians are a lot more conservative than our legislation reflects,” and they “appreciate respectful people who argue their position based upon principle who don’t have malice to anyone on the other side.”
Pro-life convictions inseparable from philosophy of life
Trost describes himself as a “full-spectrum Conservative,” whose pro-life and pro-family convictions are inseparable from his “philosophy of life” and views on “the purpose of government.”
“You have two basic options when it comes to taking care of the family,” he said. “You have the state, or you have the family itself when dealing with their social needs in society.”
“If you create and expand the state, you will inevitably encroach on the family, and when you encroach on the family, social liberalism will take place, because the family will be destroyed,” Trost said.
“As a fiscal conservative, I believe the state needs to withdraw and let the family take its rightful place in society,” he told LifeSiteNews. “I think if you are socially conservative and fiscally liberal, large social programs, large welfare state, eventually that welfare state will push its way into the life of the family, and it won’t able to be defended. So I see the two as deeply connected.”
Trost told the Huffington Post’s Althia Raj that he upholds parental rights, and is against imposing sex education, although that’s a provincial matter. He also thinks MPs should not shy away from using the notwithstanding clause. If they believe their legislation “is right for the country,” then they “should be willing to stand by it regardless of what the courts say,” he told LifeSiteNews.
Trost’s honesty will appeal to voters: CLC
“I got into politics because I believe in things, not because I was looking for a job or a career,” Trost observed. “And when you believe in things and those beliefs are defeated, and you think they are the best for the country, that can be incredibly frustrating.”
“You have to realize your job is not always to win,” he added. “Your job is to do what is right and then let the winning and losing sort itself out.”
Trost is “exactly what Canada's conservative movement needs at this point in time,” according to Jack Fonseca, political strategist for Campaign Life Coalition.
“Brad is a no-nonsense, straight talking guy who would stand on core conservative principles including the sanctity of human life, traditional family values, small government, freedom of religion, and fiscal responsibility,” he told LifeSiteNews.
His “honest, integrity and absence of political duplicity” will “attract huge numbers of Canadian voters,” added Fonseca, including not just social conservatives and “ethnic voters, but also libertarians and a large portion of the thirty-three or so percent of disaffected voters who sat out the last election because they've come to view all politicians as equally two-faced and corrupt.”
People who wish to support Trost, he added, should be aware that only card-carrying CPC members will be eligible to vote in 2017 (for more information, go here).