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Uninspiring candidates run for liberal leadership.

The Liberal Party of Canada will choose its next leader at a convention in Montreal this coming December 3. Social conservatives are not anticipating the event with any degree of enthusiasm, based both on the track record of Liberal leaders since the 1960s-Pierre Trudeau, John Turner, Jean Chretien and Paul Martin-and the qualities exhibited by the current crop of eleven candidates.

The backgrounds of those in the running demonstrate that there really is no place for social conservatives or active Catholics in the upper echelons of the Liberal party at this time. Paul Tuns, a political analyst and editor of The Interim newspaper, commented; "None of the candidates is acceptable to socially conservative voters, who make up a surprisingly large part of the Liberal party" (, April 17; The Interim, April 2006).

The following is Catholic Insight's evaluation of how the positions of candidates relate to Catholic principles. The candidates are listed in alphabetical order.

Carolyn Bennett, MP, 55--A family physician, fourterm Liberal MP and former minister of state for public health, Bennett during the 2004 federal election campaign denounced Stephen Harper's hint of holding a free vote on abortion in the House of Commons. (LSN) (April 28, 2005) describes her as "a staunch pro-abortion activist" who was a sponsor of a bill put forth by former MP Svend Robinson to legalize same-sex "marriage" as early as 2001. On May 16, 2006, she co-hosted a Parliament Hill press conference announcing the launch, by the U.S. National Abortion Federation, of a Canadian public policy and outreach program. Bennett is a hard-nosed feminist and member of the culture of death.

Maurizio Bevilacqua, MP, 45--Like all the other Liberal Members of Parliament mentioned here, Mr. Bevilacqua in 2003 voted for adding sexual orientation to the hate crimes law, for embryonic stem-cell research, and for eliminating the traditional definition of marriage. In 2005, he voted for same-sex "marriage" (C.I., Feb. 2004, p. ii; June, 2005, p. 17).

Scott Brison, MP, 38--The openly homosexual Brison in 2001, then still a Conservative, seconded NDP MP Svend Robinson's same-sex "marriage" bill in the House of Commons. In October 2005, as a Liberal MP, he announced that he would be "marrying" Maxime St. Pierre, his same-sex partner of six months. He has consistently supported abortion and euthanasia (LSN, Oct. 11, 2005).

Stephane Dion, MP, 50--The only Quebec candidate and former environment minister announced in 1997, as minister of inter-governmental affairs, that the province of Quebec would be allowed to do away with its religiously based school system despite the Constitution. Protection for Protestants and Catholics, he said, is incompatible with the standards of modern society (LSN, Dec. 19, 1997). He voted for same-sex "marriage" in 2005.

Ken Dryden, MP, 58--The former Montreal Canadians goaltender and former social development minister made waves in November 2004, when he suggested that parents who keep young children home rather than in daycare centres, are like those who refuse to bring their children to a doctor when they are sick. He dismissed the notion that many parents would prefer the mother to stay home with her young children as unrealistic and wishful thinking. He supported the same-sex "marriage" drive (LSN, Nov. 24, 2005).

Martha Hall Findlay, 46--Findlay was the Liberal candidate in the Newmarket-Aurora (ON) riding who stepped aside for Belinda Stronach after the latter crossed the floor to join the Martin cabinet. A CBC News report (April 25, 2006) describes her as "socially progressive," i.e., pro-abortion and pro-same-sex "marriage." Campaign Life Coalition's record for the 2004 election lists her as proabortion.

Hedy Fry, MP, 64--Fry, a former secretary of state for multi-culturalism and the status of women, has been a long-time advocate for both legal abortion and homosexual equality. Campaign Life Coalition classified her as "outspokenly pro-abortion" as long ago as 1997. In 1999, she boasted that Canada, through the UN, is a leading supporter of homosexual equality. In 2000, she lamented that the UN Beijing +5 conference failed to promote women's "sexual and reproductive" lives (i.e., homosexuality and abortion) and mocked the notion that "Jesus Christ is the God of the whole universe." In 2003, she attacked anyone who would deny anything but full "marriage" rights to homosexuals.

In 2004, she suggested prostitution be made a quasi-legal activity (LSN, June 16, Sept. 22, Nov. 20, 2000; Aug. 20, 2003; Sept. 27, 2004).

Michael Ignatieff, MP, 59--The scholar, writer and journalist worked for the leadership campaign of Pierre Trudeau in the sixties. He was away from Canada for 30 years. He supports same-sex "marriage" and believes abortion should be legal (LSN, Jan. 17, 2006). (See also Rory Leishman's article, "Michael Ignatieff s ignorance of human rights," page 9 in this issue.)

Gerard Kennedy, MP, 45--A 1996 Campaign Life Coalition assessment noted he is "opposed to abortion," but supports OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance) funding of it. In 1996 and again in 1999, as an MPP, he spoke in favour of legislation to give homosexuals all the rights and privileges of common-law spouses, as well as the right to adopt children. His legacy as Ontario education minister is the proposal that teachers' unions be given control of Ontario's teaching college, which evaluates teachers (Toronto Star, May 18, 2006). This is a direct conflict of interest.

Bob Rae, MP, 57--The former Ontario premier's name is anathema to pro-family supporters. In the early 1990s he and his NDP regime in the early 1990s made a concerted effort to enshrine abortion and homosexualist principles at all levels of the provincial government. A member of the Jewish community, his very first act as Premier was to abolish Sunday as a day of rest. His legacy persists in a court injunction that limits the ability of pro-life activists to demonstrate or counsel women around several Toronto abortuaries.

Joe Volpe, MP, 58--Although once held in high esteem in Canada's pro-life community, the former immigration and human resources minister has fallen out of favour both because he accepts abortion in limited circumstances, according to a Campaign Life Coalition assessment, and because he flip-flopped to support same-sex "marriage" after speaking against it in 2003 (LSN, March 8, 2005).

Among the above, the following are practising Catholics: Maurizio Bevilacqua, Stephane Dion, Gerard Kennedy, and Joe Volpe. Hedy Fry is a nominal Catholic.

Tony Gosgnach is a freelance media person who is also assistant editor of The Interim newspaper.
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Title Annotation:Liberal Party of Canada leadership
Author:Gosgnach, Tony
Publication:Catholic Insight
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Sep 1, 2006
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