Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 1, 2006
Grits bereft of pro-life nominee
No pro-family advocate seen in leadership hopefuls
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
Among the declared candidates for leader of the Liberal Party, no credible advocate for pro-life or pro-family views has emerged.
Joe Volpe, the former immigration minister who pleaded for support from Christian groups prior to the 2003 election promising to fight to protect traditional marriage, might be as good as it gets. But Volpe voted for same-sex marriage after Paul Martin ordered cabinet to do so.
When Charles McVety, one of the main spokespersons for the Defend Marriage Coalition, was asked whether groups that rallied under that banner would support Volpe, he laughed.
Volpe was one of several Liberal cabinet ministers Defend Marriage targeted for their flip-flops with websites and an ad campaign showing his pro-marriage quotes.
Liberal MP Tom Wappel, a Catholic, told CCN he finds the lack of pro-life and pro-marriage candidates disappointing.
"What it means for me personally is that I will not be supporting any candidate for the leadership of the Liberal Party," he said.
He said that as a Liberal MP, and a leader in his community, people will still look for him for his opinions and he'll continue to speak up for pro-life and pro-family positions.
"I'm hoping (the new leader) will be someone who is closer to my views than farther away, but that remains to be seen," he said.
Liberal MP John McKay, an evangelical Christian who has been a consistent defender of traditional marriage, said he is supporting Michael Ignatieff, an academic who returned to Canada to run in the January election after nearly 30 years in the United States.
McKay told CCN a debate is shaping up about the kind of liberalism the party will represent.
Will it be a one-size-fits-all vision like the secularist liberalism of France or a pluralistic view that allows for diversity of opinions? McKay hopes the party opts for the latter.
Wappel agrees. "The Liberal party has always been a big tent party," he said. "We pretend now that it is a big tent party but that's because we are looking for lots of members. It remains to be seen if the new leader, whoever the new leader is, will permit it to continue to be a big tent party."
Dan McTeague ponders
Dan McTeague, a staunch pro-life, pro-family Catholic, said many people have asked him to run for the leadership. He had not completely made up his mind, but said he might be freer to work on issues of concern to him if he were not the leader.
He was not worried, however, that he would lose his rights to speak freely and vote his conscience under a new Liberal leader.
"I'm more concerned about a Conservative party that espouses these issues but refuses to allow its members of Parliament to speak on them," he said. "I think for people who believe in those issues, they have to look at all candidates."
"I know that there was plenty of latitude given members of Parliament like myself on a variety of issues. But the same can not be said of the Conservative Party."
Letter to the Editor - 05/15/06