June 13, 2016

OTTAWA - Some social conservatives are ready to leave the Conservative Party after the party's policy convention decided it will no longer uphold the traditional definition of marriage.

"It's a tragedy social conservatives in Canada no longer have a party that they can support," said Gwen Landolt, national vice president of REAL Women of Canada.

"The Conservative Party at the convention has just become another liberal-lite party, which we cannot either accept or support," Landolt said.

"We can only hope that out of this confusion of values that a new party will be formed such as the old Reform Party."

However, other social conservatives chose to look at victories gained in other policy areas.

"I voted against it, but I expected it to pass and it does not, contrary to media reports, mean we endorse same sex marriage, it just means our policy document is now silent on marriage," said Christopher Mahon, a Conservative delegate from Scarborough Southwest.

Paul Tuns, a delegate from Willowdale, Ont., and editor of the Interim newspaper, said the policy change will allow MPs to "vote their conscience on it." The party also remained silent on euthanasia.

Tuns and Mahon preferred to look at the pro-life victories won at the convention.

Mahon pointed to the victory in adding the word "abortion" to the policy condemning sex selection abortions. The previous policy had omitted the word.

"In addition, our constitution now includes as a founding principle that we as a party stand for a 'belief in the value and dignity of all human life," he said.

The convention also passed a robust amendment protecting conscience rights, he said.

Cecilia Forsyth, a Saskatchewan delegate, said the convention left her with mixed feelings.

Forsyth said she will not back any candidate for the party leadership who does not support the traditional definition of marriage.

"I will certainly not be donating to the party anymore."