BELLEVILLE, Ontario, February 11, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Canadian conservative leadership hopeful and rookie Member of Parliament Derek Sloan says that if elected party chief he’ll “actively encourage” MPs to bring forward bills on social issues such as abortion and same-sex “marriage.”
“I know the base wants people who are not ashamed to be conservative,” the 35-year-old lawyer and father of three told LifeSiteNews in a recent interview.
“And as leader, I will never make a caucus member apologize for saying something that’s conservative. I will never make the party apologize. I will actively encourage members to push the boundaries when it comes to political correctness. And that’s what the base wants and that’s what we need.”
MP for the south-east Ontario riding of Hastings-Lennox and Addington, Sloan scored an impressive 29 percent approval rating from Canadians in an Ipsos poll rating leadership hopefuls, only two of whom — Peter MacKay and Erin O’Toole — are approved candidates.
He and another half-dozen aspiring contenders have until February 27 to submit 1,000 member nomination signatures and $25,000 in order to register and be vetted by the leadership committee.
Candidates must also submit the balance of a total of 3,000 signatures and $300,000 by March 25 to stay in the race, which ends with the leader announced at a June 27 convention in Toronto.
Sloan decided to enter the race because he’s convinced Conservatives must have “distinct ideological difference on everything” and “a bold vision that can catapult the party to a position of dominance. … And I wasn’t sure we were going to see that in this election. And I …thought and thought and prayed about it and decided that now was the time for me to move forward.”
A devout Seventh Day Adventist and social conservative, Sloan contends that there are many in the Tory caucus who share his pro-life and pro-family views, but “their electoral tactics seem to be along the lines of avoid anything controversial at all costs” and “to avoid censure” from a “liberal media.”
“I don't think that that is a winning recipe, and in all honesty, the last election’s results should, I hope, definitively show that that’s not the recipe for success,” he said. “Although some people are taking the opposite lesson from it.”
Indeed, contender MacKay infamously stated after the election that leader Andrew Scheer’s social conservative views hung around his neck like a “stinking albatross.”
Moreover, Global News is suggesting that leaked reports of former MP John Baird’s internal review of the party’s election performance say Scheer’s personal opposition to same-sex “marriage” was a major problem for the Conservatives.
Baird is reportedly now thinking of entering the race, telling Global News he appreciates Alberta Premier Jason Kenney urging him to do so, and that the Conservative Party needs to be “modern.”
Sloan believes the party is “at a crossroads” and that the result of the race triggered by Scheer’s resignation in December will “determine whether we chart the course to be the dominant political force in the country or whether we go into the wilderness for another 10, 15 years.”
As for particular issues, he says he’ll be releasing his platform next month.
On abortion, he’s “not specifically endorsing any particular route” but believes encouraging debate in caucus, and looking to “a variety of very talented pro-life MPs in caucus to sort of bring forward those ideas” is the best approach.
Sloan says he supports Conservative policy that Canada should not fund abortion in other countries.
On same-sex “marriage,” he is “not intending to re-open the marriage debate,” but agrees the Conservative Party has been “effectively neutral” on the matter since 2016, when delegates scrapped its policy supporting the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.
Section 7 of the policy book allows Conservative MPs to vote their conscience on moral issues and he would let MPs to “bring forward bills on any issue that's of concern to them,” he said, including on same-sex “mariage.”
As for the firestorm over leadership hopeful Richard Décarie’s comments to CTV’s Evan Solomon that homosexuality is a “choice,” Sloan said it “was just silly” in the way it “exploded.” Décarie also wants to restore the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.
Sloan thinks Décarie should be allowed to run so party members can vote on his ideas, even though some high-level Tories called for his disqualification for “bigotry” in the wake of the controversy, during which the Ottawa press corp besieged Conservative MPs for an opinion on whether or not being homosexual was a “choice.”
“There’s tremendous pressure in the Ottawa bubble, so to speak, by the media and other sources to sort of adopt a politically correct frame of mind,” Sloan told LifeSiteNews.
“The pressures are real and they’re there. And that’s why … we have to pray for our Members of Parliament and ask for and pray for courage and wisdom for them to deal with these types of things,” he added.
Sloan had his own run-in with Solomon when he asserted that the cause of homosexual orientation is “scientifically unclear,” and stated his opposition to Bill S-202, now in the Senate, which will criminalize “conversion” therapy.
— CTV Power Play (@CTV_PowerPlay) January 28, 2020
Bill S-202 is “over broad” and “interferes with parental rights,” Sloan told LifeSiteNews, adding that when he refers to “conversion therapy,” he isn’t talking about such alleged practices as shock therapy that “to my knowledge is not practiced at all today,” but “the freedom of people to engage in in the type of counselling and even spiritual guidance that they feel is appropriate.”
He also opposes the Liberal transgender ‘rights’ bill C-16, which he points out allows men who claim to be women to access to women’s change rooms and women’s prisons.
His willingness to wade into controversial subjects is one way pro-life Conservatives can guage whether he will himself buckle under the pressure, Sloan said.
“If I wanted to play it safe, I would simply not have done this at all, let alone been speaking about this on national television,” he told LifeSiteNews.
“I know that in the past many people have tried to say the right things and have left social conservatives feeling burned and feeling used. Nonetheless, it’s important that they have a seat at the table,” he added.
“It’s important that social conservatives are in this, and…really take a look at the candidates and… try and make a difference in this race.”
Sloan is still seeking signatures from individuals who have Conservative Party members for at least 21 days; those who wish to sign his nomination papers can go to www.dereksloan.ca. Similarly, those who wish to support pro-life candidate Décarie can go to www.richarddecarie.ca.
Campaign Life is urging Canadians 14 years of age and older to buy a membership in the Conservative Party of Canada as soon as possible in order to influence the outcome of the leadership race.