OTTAWA, April 29, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – John Pacheco, the principal organizer of the largest rally in the country in defence of traditional marriage in Ottawa only three weeks ago has been rejected as a possible Conservative candidate for the Ottawa West riding. The stunning development has left social conservatives within the party scratching their heads. Pacheco, working with life, faith and family groups drew over 15,000 people to rally for traditional marriage on Parliament Hill on April 9.
In an interview, Pacheco told LifeSiteNews.com that he launched an appeal to the party once he learned of his rejection but the appeal failed. “Obviously, I am disappointed in the decision, not so much because of my own political ambitions which are quite secondary, but because the positions which I espouse, being held by many Party members who share my social conservative views on preserving the institution of marriage and family, will not be given a full representation,” he said.
Pacheco added, “Debate and dialogue are absolutely critical for the health of a free and democratic society, and this is no less true for political parties. If an idea or position does not have merit, then the debate and dialogue among the Party’s membership should decide that it does not.”
The central issue in the decision seems to have been the marriage issue. The Conservative Party and its leader have made little secret that the Party favours candidate John Baird, a Member of Provincial Parliament for the Tories who is willing to leave provincial politics to run federally. Baird, however, is a staunch proponent of homosexual ‘marriage’.
In the provincial legislature Baird spoke in favour of a provincial gay marriage law striking the words “husband” and “wife” from all Ontario legislation. In the legislature, Baird went so far as to heckle one of his provincial Conservative colleagues who opposed the gay marriage law.
Baird’s campaign information indicates direct ties to Conservative Party Leader Stephen Harper. “In 2003 John was asked by Stephen Harper to serve as co-chair for his leadership campaign. And in the federal election of 2004, John was again asked by Stephen Harper to serve as Ontario co-chair for the National Campaign,” says the information.
Many social conservatives are disappointed that Party Leader Harper, although availing himself of the opportunity to speak at the huge marriage Rally organized by Pacheco, did not intervene to at least allow Pacheco the opportunity to contest the Conservative nomination.
Jim Hughes, National President of Campaign Life commented on the development saying, “I guess the party wanted a gay marriage candidate rather than a pro-marriage candidate. This is ridiculous. I hope this isn’t the start of a campaign where they start shooting themselves in the foot just prior to the election.”
Aidan Reid, National Public Affairs Director for Campaign Life Coalition told LifeSiteNews.com “We already have two liberal parties why do we need a third. We need people who will stand up for life and family, not just clones of the other parties.”
Pacheco was resolved to continue to work within the Party to elect pro-life and pro-family candidates. “I encourage my supporters and all social conservatives not to be disillusioned or discouraged by this minor setback, but instead to redouble your efforts in making your voices heard and respected within Canadian politics. The dignity of every human person from conception to natural death and the institution of marriage are too important to abandon because one person did not accomplish his political ambition,” he said.
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
See the LifeSite report on the passage of Ontario Bill 171 which John Baird actively supported and his public ridicule of his fellow caucus members in the legislature for opposing the bill: