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Richard Dé

MONTREAL, Quebec, February 4, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Richard Décarie says he’s running for leader of the Canada’s Conservative Party to return it to its roots and correct the “Liberal-lite” leftward swing it’s taken under the influence of “red” Tories.

“I think the leadership of the Conservative Party needs to be changed drastically,” the Quebecer and former Stephen Harper staffer said in an exclusive interview for LifeSiteNews with Georges Buscemi of Campagne Quebéc-Vie.

Part of that change would include returning the party to the definition of marriage as the “union of a man and a woman,” he said. 

Indeed, Décarie’s candidacy stands in stark contrast to that of alleged front-runner, former MP Peter MacKay, as well as MPs Marilyn Gladu and Erin O’Toole, all of whom say they’ll march in the homosexual Toronto Pride parade the day after the new leader is announced at a Toronto convention June 27. (O’Toole has made his participation contingent on the police being allowed to march as well.)

The Conservatives must decide in this race if they truly are the “big tent party” Harper built in 2004, Décarie said.

And in his view, that means the party must recover the centre-right position it had under the former prime minister, and more particularly, go back to what it was before 2016.

That’s the year Conservative delegates at a Vancouver convention voted 1,036-462 to nix the policy supporting the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

Canada legalized homosexual “marriages” in 2005, but dropping the policy was “a mistake,” Décarie said.

“I’ve been fighting with Mr. Harper in 2004 against the definition of marriage that the Liberals were trying to present,” he told Buscemi. 

“So we need to go back to the definition of marriage with the union of a man and a woman, and then the rest of the unions will be covered by civil union.”

Former MP Brad Trost, who came in fourth in the last leadership race and is now chairing Décarie’s campaign, was the de facto leader at the Vancouver convention for those who opposed dropping the definition of traditional marriage.

Trost said at the time deleting the policy didn’t mean the Conservatives endorsed same-sex “marriage,” but that the party was neutral on the subject.

But Décarie’s view, as well as his observation that homosexuality is a “choice,” have led some high-level Tories to claim the party should bar him from the race for alleged bigotry.

There’s also been suggestions in the media the leadership committee could disqualify him on the grounds he doesn’t adhere to party policy.

This “makes no sense,” counters Décarie, pointing out policies are by definition subject to change. 

“I was challenged in this race, saying that I go against the party rules or policies,” he told Buscemi. But the policies “were changed in 2016, why not change them back if it’s necessary?”

The firestorm over Décarie’s views on homosexuality has eclipsed his views on abortion, which he says is not health care because pregnancy is not a disease, and so therefore, abortion should not be covered under Canada’s public health insurance plans. Although health care is administered by the provinces, the federal government provides a large share of funding for it under Canada Health Act, Décarie said.

So if the federal government stops “financing or funding abortion, it will be easy for the provinces to decide whether they will finance it themselves, or, they will decide to abandon it,” he said.

Décarie said he has no proposed legislation to curtail the expansion of euthanasia, but that “my perception is that life is starting at the conception until the natural death” and this “would set the base for debate” within the party.

“I’m always surprised to see the progressive Conservatives, more red Tories, are against debating those issues, saying it’s settled. It’s never settled,” he said.

“We’re in politics to debate and I am proposing all those issues to make sure that they are well debated, and not imposed like the Liberal Party is doing.”

He supports allowing Members of Parliament to bring forward private member’s bills, noting that Justin Trudeau’s father Pierre told “his MPs that they had no power other than the day of election.”

Décarie denounced the controversial Yale telecommunications report that recommends the Liberal government massively expand the CRTC to regulate the internet and require that media be licensed to operate in Canada.

“Liberalism is socialism by the back door and that’s the proof of it, you know,” he said. “In communist countries you have the control of the information and all of that. I’m for freedom, the Conservative Party should be for freedom.”

Décarie supports a decentralized federal government and more autonomy for the provinces, stricter immigration laws, and banning private advertising from the CBC.

He initially said he’d run to oppose one-time Liberal Quebec premier Jean Charest’s candidacy.

But as Buscemi pointed out in the interview, Charest apparently decided against running because, according to an unnamed party source quoted in French-language daily Le Devoir, internal polls revealed one-third of the party opposed abortion and same-sex “marriage.”

Those are the views Andrew Scheer, the Conservative leader whose resignation in December kicked off the race, held at one point and likely still does, but as leader he insisted the party would not reopen the abortion debate on any level.

Scheer “didn’t apply his own values, his personal values, to the party, and all the people that elected him were very deceived,” Décarie said.

Moreover, “red Tories” like MacKay claimed Scheer “lost the election because he’s a social conservative,” Décarie said. “I think it’s the opposite. Let’s bring back that philosophy.”

It was MacKay’s implied threat that social conservatives weren’t welcome in the party that motivated Décarie to persevere in his leadership bid after Charest bowed out, he said.

Décarie is not the only social conservative candidate in the race. Rookie Ontario MP Derek Sloan has also thrown his hat in the ring, and has already received media backlash for his views.

Aspiring candidates must submit 1,000 signatures of party members from a minimum of 30 ridings in at least seven provinces and $25,000 by February 27, at which point they’ll be vetted by the committee, including having to answer a 42-page questionnaire. 

If they pass that hurdle, they must submit another 2,000 signatures and the balance of a total of $300,000 by March 25.

The financial requirement shows the party obviously wanted to limit the number of candidates, Décarie said, adding that a far more fitting criteria would be proficiency in both official languages — possibly a shot at MacKay, who can’t speak French.

Campaign Life Coalition is urging Canadians 14 years of age and older to buy a membership in the Conservative Party of Canada as soon as possible to be able to vote for the next leader.