TORONTO, June 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown, who earned major social conservative support in his leadership bid, announced Friday morning that he will marching in Toronto’s Pride parade on Sunday. He will become the first leader of the party to lead a delegation in the event.
“We are building a new Ontario PC Party—one that celebrates diversity in all its forms and that includes Ontarians from every corner of the province, in every community and on every block,” Brown said in a statement. “I am looking forward to attending the Pride parade on Sunday to march.”
Brown’s announcement was greeted with dismay by Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s national pro-life, pro-family lobby group, which campaigned for Brown in his bid for leadership of the PC Party.
“This is definitely not a good development, and we’re upset by it,” says CLC vice-president Jeff Gunnarson.
After Brown was elected PC leader May 9, defeating sole opponent MPP Christine Elliott in a landslide victory, Gunnarson calculated that CLC supporters accounted for about 20 percent of Brown’s vote, a total that didn’t include social conservatives not directly affiliated with CLC.
As a three-term MP for Barrie, Brown had a perfect pro-life voting record, and on this basis CLC was confident in endorsing the 37-year-old as a supportable candidate. Brown also opposes the Ontario Liberals controversial sex-ed curriculum, and has stated that he would start over and consult parents on proposed updates.
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Elliott, on the other hand, supported a woman’s “right” to choose abortion, and co-sponsored Ontario’s transgender-rights “Bathroom” bill.
But Brown’s decision to march in Sunday’s Pride Parade won’t sit well with social conservatives.
“He wrongly believes that he needs to set aside his principles in order to be accepted by all,” Gunnarson told LifeSiteNews. “By doing so, he risks excluding the socially conservative base that helped him get elected as leader. He will need that base come election time because the social liberals will not vote for him anyway.”
Brown has not hidden the fact that he attended Pride events as an MP in Barrie. “Pride Week is one of the largest events in Toronto and is celebrated by so many Canadians and others from around the world,” his statement reads. “Having attended many Pride events in my community in the past, this weekend will be great.”
The pressure for social conservatives to march in the Pride parade is intense, as in the notable case of former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, whose ongoing refusal to do so and the attendant controversy became, during his tenure as mayor, a major part of the annual event.
And Brown is “still promising to repeal the sex-ed curriculum if elected and that’s more than Christine Elliott would have done,” Gunnarson pointed out. “Although this is definitely disappointing, social conservatives need to remind Brown to work on other issues that are important to pro-life and pro-family citizens.”
To respectfully voice concerns, you can email Patrick Brown at: [email protected].