TORONTO, Ontario, May 15, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A former Liberal pro-life MP says he is outraged over Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s new policy banning pro-life citizens from running as candidates for the party.
When Tom Wappel was a Liberal Member of Parliament from 1988 to 2008, he says the party “was then a ‘big tent’ party, accepting of a diversity of views, encouraging of debate, knowing that with healthy, respectful debate and exchange of ideas, policies might emerge which would benefit Canada and Canadians.”
In an op-ed that appeared in the National Post yesterday, Wappel called Trudeau’s pro-abortion policy the “antithesis of the Liberal Party which I have supported and worked for the better part of my adult life.”
When Truedeau first took the reigns of the party he announced that nominations “will be open and democratic,” said Wappel. “Then, within months, and apparently without consultation with his MPs or the party at large, [he] issues a command that people like me … are now, suddenly, persona non grata in the Liberal Party of Canada.”
“So much for an open, fair and democratic nomination process. So much for freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of speech. If you want to be a candidate for the Liberal Party, you must think, be and vote like the leader,” he wrote.
Wappel called the policy “dictatorial,” “unprincipled, undemocratic, unappreciative, and intellectually bankrupt.”
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“Such a unilateral decree is an affront to the historical principles of liberalism. It amounts to saying, if we cannot stop people from talking about something we don’t want to talk about, then let us just ban them from the room and the topic will magically disappear.
In a strongly worded letter yesterday, Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto, urged Trudeau to reverse his position, saying that the policy would exclude Pope Francis himself from running for office in the party.
But Trudeau’s Liberals responded that they would not change their position. “We obviously respect the cardinal, and his views,” a spokesperson from the Liberal Party told the National Post. “This is a matter of rights, and Canadians need to know that when they vote Liberal they will get a representative who supports and defends women’s rights.”
Margaret Somerville, director of the Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law at McGill University, wrote in the Ottawa Citizen, that Justin Trudeau’s famous father Pierre would be “appalled” by his son’s action.
“Such an edict by a leader of a political party on a matter of conscience relating to one of our most fundamental values – respect for human life – violates the basic principle that MPs are primarily their constituents’ representative in Parliament on such matters, not their leaders,’” she wrote.
Even columnist Margaret Wente, who identifies herself as “pro-choice,” says she sees Trudeau’s position as extreme.
“The man who promised he would never dictate party policy or keep Liberal MPs on a leash has come out as an abortion absolutist. He is pro-choice, no exceptions, period, and anyone who disagrees won’t be welcome in the party,” she wrote in the Globe and Mail.
Wente called it “downright idiotic” the idea that “governments shouldn’t legislate abortion, as Mr. Trudeau asserts.”
“Abortion is legislated nearly everywhere; even civilized countries impose restrictions… Personally, I’m pro-choice, with some limits. I respect people whose limits are different from my own. I do have problems with people who try to frame all limits on abortion as an attack on women’s freedom. And I don’t especially like leaders who can’t tolerate dissent on issues as profound and personal as this one.”