OTTAWA – A Conservative MP accuses the Liberals and the NDP of "anti-Catholic bigotry" in questioning the position of his leader, Andrew Scheer, on gay marriage.
In an interview with experts on CTV's question period on Sunday, Alberta MP Garnett Genuis was questioned about the view that Scheer should recalibrate his position on social issues such as same-sex marriage before the review of the party leadership in April.
His answer was that "if something," the party must make sure that Scheer's "very clear" position "is heard by everyone".
"Unfortunately, we see this kind of confusion in the waters and frankly anti-Catholic fanaticism on the part of the other parties, but we will oppose that," said Genuis. "What we see with Andrew Scheer … is someone who asks himself questions about, I think, often about misunderstanding or presumptions about Catholics," Genuis said about Scheer's questions. on the verge of knowing he considered homosexuality as a sin.
"Andrew Scheer has been very clear about equality and I think we need to be sensitive to this anti-Catholic message in particular," said Genuis, brandishing an editorial cartoon of the US presidential election. John F. Kennedy in 1960, for example.
"I think we have to be very careful not to go down that road in Canada," he said.
In response to Genuis's allegation, the NDP and Liberal MPs who sat with him said it was not a matter of religion.
"I do not think that's it, I mean, I'm Catholic," said Liberal MP Mona Fortier, who also pointed out that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is Catholic, but has shown his support for LGBTQ Canadians.
"I just find that they're trying to find a way out of the conversation that's the one we have right now," Fortier said.
NDP MP Jack Harris, who grew up Catholic, said it was not a question of whether the questions asked of Scheer were good, but rather "it's a question of whether people are immoral or villains because they are homosexuals?
Similarly, he defended his Sikh leader Jagmeet Singh, saying that unlike the Conservative party, he had not heard any concerns about the NDP's position on the defense and celebration of LGBTQ people.
"If you can not quell that fear by saying legitimately," No, I'm ready to acknowledge and support them and to participate in a Pride parade to show that I support their efforts to achieve equality. "Well, that gives rise to legitimate fear," Harris said. "It has nothing to do with religion. You can have your personal convictions as you wish, but if you do not show it to the point that people can be assured that it is not part of the agenda of your party or party, you have a problem. "
Several conservative personalities came forward in the weeks following the election to ask Scheer to clarify his personal position on same-sex marriage or to risk losing the opportunity to lead the party in the next election.
During the episode last week, former communications director of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper had stated that Scheer's position on same-sex marriage "could be fatal" for his future leader because not supporting same-sex marriage is "more and more bigotist".
At the time, CTV News had asked his office to clarify whether his personal opinion was that same-sex marriage was a sin and was not answered.
Then, after Wednesday's caucus meeting, where Conservative MPs wondered if Scheer could or could not be the leader of a party that does more to be a voice for LGBTQ Canadians, Scheer was asked if he thought personally that he was gay was a sin.
His response was similar to the one he had previously proposed: "My personal opinion is that I respect the rights of every Canadian and my personal commitment to Canadians is to always fight for the rights of all Canadians, including the rights of all Canadians. LGBTQ Canadians. "
Manitoba's Conservative Premier Brian Pallister said in a separate segment of Sunday's episode that balancing public opinion with your personal opinions is a challenge for all leaders.
"The beauty of the situation that Andrew is now facing, and his double-edged dichotomy, is that members of the Conservative Party base across Canada will determine who their leader is, they will ask themselves some of the questions that you just ask me, and in the Conservative Party, that's how we run, "he told the host Evan Solomon.