Former MP Pierre Lemieux to run for Tory leadership on social conservative platform
OTTAWA, August 23, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Campaign Life Coalition is applauding the news that former Conservative MP Pierre Lemieux has decided to run for leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada.
Lemieux announced his decision in an email to Conservative supporters in the Ottawa-area rural riding of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, where he served as MP for three terms before losing last October to Liberal Francis Drouin, the National Post reported Monday.
He is seeking support based on his pro-life stance and defence of marriage, according to the Post. LifeSiteNews could not reach Lemieux for comment by deadline.
“Pierre is a solid guy, with solid credentials; he’s a great candidate for the leadership of the party,” Jim Hughes, president of Campaign Life Coalition, told LifeSiteNews. “He has the strong support of his wife Audrey and is well respected by his colleagues.”
Hughes said CLC, Canada’s national pro-life, pro-family lobby group, endorses Lemieux as a supportable candidate — as it does Saskatchewan MP Brad Trost, who officially entered the race last week.
“The more pro-life candidates for the leadership the better, because of their ability to sign up members,” Hughes pointed out. The party requires candidates to collect signatures of 300 members from at least 30 electoral districts representing at least seven different provinces and territories.
Lemieux’s run will bring a further infusion of social conservative members into the Conservative Party’s ranks, which remains the one holdout of the three major parties to be open to candidates who believe in the sanctity of human life, Hughes noted.
“Pierre’s moving into the leadership race provides the opportunity for somebody from eastern Canada to complement what’s happening in western Canada,” he added.
Lemieux, a 53-year-old Catholic father of five, maintained a pristine pro-life voting record during his 10 years in the House of Commons, consistently participated at the annual March for Life and was a member of the parliamentary pro-life caucus.
In one notable instance, he referred to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and prayed in the House of Commons during debate on the Tory motion to reopen the issue of same-sex “marriage” some 10 years ago.
More recently, Lemieux blasted the Supreme Court in February 2015 for its activism in striking down the laws prohibiting assisted suicide and euthanasia. The MP, who served in the military 20 years before entering politics and now works as an engineering consultant, was parliamentary secretary for the Minister of Agriculture, and the Minister of Veterans Affairs.
“Pierre Lemieux is a man of integrity who has represented his riding very well. I have no doubt his qualities, convictions and platform will broaden the debate, not narrow it,” Johanne Brownrigg, CLC’s Ottawa lobbyist, told LifeSiteNews.
The Conservative Party “should be pleased that it is business as usual in the run for the top job, with leadership contenders who hold a vast array of positions, some of them being pro-life,” she added.
According to the Post, a document called “Pierre Lemieux Leadership” sent to supporters points out that “Pierre is pro-life and believes in the sanctity of life from conception through to natural death. Pierre supports the traditional definition of marriage as the union between one man and one woman.”
“Pierre believes that this leadership campaign offers a tremendous opportunity for people to get involved and make their voices heard,” the document stated.
“There are many reasons why, but a key one is that I feel that this is an extremely important time in the Conservative Party – both in terms [of] choosing a leader, but also in encouraging as many people as possible to join the party, to stand and be counted,” Lemieux wrote in his email, “so that they can help shape the party as it moves forward. It is a great time to bring new life into the party!”
Lemieux and Trost are the only social conservative candidates in the current field of seven, which also includes MPs Maxime Bernier, Kellie Leitch, Michael Chong, Tony Clement, and Deepak Obhrai.
Regina pro-life MP Andrew Scheer is also considering a run and expected to declare shortly, as is Andrew Saxton, former North Vancouver MP who was defeated in 2015, according to the Post. Former Nova Scotia MP Peter MacKay, MPs Lisa Raitt and Erin O’Toole are also considering a run.
As well as the membership-signing requirements, leadership candidates must raise $100,000, half of which is the registration fee and the other half a refundable compliance deposit.
Conservatives will elect their new leader on May 27, 2017. The first of five leadership debates is scheduled for November 10 in Saskatoon.