After a group of former MPs criticized Liberal leader Justin Trudeau on Thursday over his pro-abortion voting policy, the Catholic politician rebuked them on Twitter as a bunch of “old men” trying to control women’s lives.
“The days when old men get to decide what a woman does with her body are long gone,” he wrote. “Times have changed for the better. [The Liberal Party of Canada] defends rights.”
Seven former Liberal MPs issued an open letter Thursday morning urging Trudeau to renounce his “undemocratic” stance that candidates for the party must support his pro-abortion view.
Addressing Trudeau, they said he is asking candidates “to park their consciences at the entrance to the House of Commons and vote directly opposite to their fundamental beliefs.”
They MPs argued that his policy “clearly discriminates against a select class of people,” and as such violates the spirit of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which Trudeau has invoked to justify the policy.
“How can such a discriminatory policy serve the democratic ideals of our great nation?” they asked.
The days when old men get to decide what a woman does with her body are long gone. Times have changed for the better. #LPC defends rights.
— Justin Trudeau, MP (@JustinTrudeau) September 18, 2014
The Liberal Party also defended Trudeau's policy in a statement Thursday. Spokesperson Kate Purchase said, “Anyone is entitled to hold their own personal views, but Canadians deserve to know that when they vote Liberal they will get an MP who will vote to defend women's rights in the House.”
“Women's rights are long-held Liberal values that we will not back down from,” she added.
The seven former MPs who wrote to Trudeau were Garnet Bloomfield, who represented London-Middlesex from 1980-1984; Murray Calder (Dufferin-Peel-Wellington-Grey, 1993-2004); Rex Crawford (Kent, 1988-1997), Pat O’Brien (London-Fanshawe, 1993-2006), John O’Reilly (Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock, 1993-2004) , Janko Peric (Cambridge, 1993-2004), and Tom Wappel (Scarborough Southwest, 1988-2008).
Read the full letter here.