Opinion

Editorial — Justin Trudeau betrays father's principles with attack on freedom of religion

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Wednesday May 7, 2014 in Ottawa. - The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Wednesday May 7, 2014 in Ottawa.
— image credit: The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld

Justin Trudeau promised, after being selected federal Liberal leader in 2013, that there would be open and democratic contests for Liberal nominations all across Canada. This was in contrast to previous Liberal leaders, notably Jean Chretien, who decided to appoint candidates in numerous ridings, rather than let local Liberal members actually selecet the candidate they wished to represent them.

It all sounded good. But when the rubber met the road, and candidates were actually being selected, the true facts about how candidates were chosen started to emerge.

In one Toronto riding, where a byelection has just been called, Trudeau barred the wife of the former MP in that riding from running — in that riding, and in any other. No reasons, other than the fact that Trudeau had a “star” candidate in mind, seemed apparent.

Last week, Trudeau announced that no one who opposed abortion would be allowed to seek a Liberal nomination across the country. This despite the fact that several current Liberal MPs are pro-life (they were grandfathered), and several former pro-life members had considered seeking nominations.

Trudeau declared that the matter of abortion is “settled,” despite the fact that there has been no abortion law since 1988 and an attempt to pass a new law, based on a Supreme Court decision, died on a tie vote in the Senate in 1990. It’s “settled,” in that politicians won’t consider a new law. But the public aren’t quite as one-sided on the issue.

The Liberal Party supports abortion, and has endorsed it at a recent policy convention. However, personal beliefs about abortion are often based on religious faith, and Trudeau in effect has said that people with that faith position are incomplete, and inadequate as candidates.

It is another troubling attack on freedom – and it’s coming from the son of the prime minister who brought in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which explicitly guarantees Canadians freedom of religion. Trudeau the Younger has shown that freedom is only selectively guaranteed by his party.

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