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EDMONTON, Alberta, May 9, 2014 ( – Edmonton’s archbishop said he was “outraged” Thursday over Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s decision to bar new pro-life candidates from his seeking his party’s nomination in the 2015 federal election.

Archbishop Richard Smith said the timing of the comments by Trudeau, a self-professed Catholic, on the day before thousands of pro-lifers across the country joined the National March for Life and provincial marches, seemed aimed to “slap them all in the face.”

“I would speak first of all as a citizen of the country and it angers me,” Smith said, according to the Edmonton Sun.


“This is an outrage for a man who hopes to be Prime Minister some day, to stand up on the eve of a day when thousands of people are coming out to speak in favour of the vulnerable, to speak in favour of the protection of life in the womb, to come out and slap them all in the face. I just find that absolutely outrageous,” he said.

Smith said the decision was “dictatorial.” “Here we have a man who would like to be Prime Minister some day, dictating to party members that they must vote against fundamental human rights,” Smith explained. “In effect, what they’re saying is, ‘There’s no choice but pro-choice.’ That’s a contradiction in itself.”

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Trudeau has touted a new “open nomination” process in the lead-up to the 2015 election, pledging to allow party members in each riding to choose their candidate with little interference from party brass. However, he has required potential candidates to go through a “green light” process, and he revealed Wednesday that that process includes a litmus test on abortion and same-sex “marriage.”

“I have made it clear that future candidates need to be completely understanding that they will be expected to vote pro-choice on any bills,” he said. “The existing MPs … will be respected to a certain extent in their choices, but our position as a party is we do not reopen that debate.”

Asked if the party would whip votes on abortion, he said, “It is a tough one. … We are steadfast in our belief … it is not for any government to legislate what a woman chooses to do with her body. And that is the bottom line.”

Though sitting pro-life MPs who are pro-life are allowed to run, he will prevent former Liberal MPs who are pro-life. The Canadian Press has reported that three former Liberal MPs who had intended to seek nominations will likely be “red lighted” because of their pro-life views. Gar Knutson, Dan McTeague, and Joe Volpe have a combined 52 years of experience representing the party in the House of Commons.