The drama around the revelation that only those with pro-choice views (incumbents exempted) will be allowed to run for Liberal Party of Canada nominations has been interesting to watch, with so many commentators turning to democracy arguments to seek to overturn something Liberal members have democratically decided many times: we are a pro-choice party.
It goes beyond the last leadership campaign. Liberals at policy conventions have routinely made our position on this issue abundantly and emphatically clear. And now, finally, we have a leader who is willing to have our backs on this and put the marker down.
For me, being a Liberal has always been about choice, and about personal freedom. Choice in who you marry. Choice in what you do with your body. I respect your right to make your own choices, and to have your own beliefs when it comes to matters of conscience. But I absolutely do not though respect your right to impose your own choice on others.
We are a big tent party. Some things, though, go to the central tenets of what the Liberal Party is about. And when those things have been clearly and firmly expressed in a democratic fashion by the party membership, they should be respected.
We believe in choice, and that also means making the choice to run for another party that does share your views more closely. No one’s rights are being trampled here. You have the right to run for Parliament, but you don’t have the right to be a Liberal candidate. Membership has its privileges – running under a party banner confers the resources, name recognition and brand benefits of the party. But it also has responsibilities – you need to share our core values, because that’s what brings those brand benefits – recognition you share those core beliefs. If you don’t, you’re in the wrong party.
Will some people be upset at this move by Trudeau? Probably. Some of them will even be Liberals. We may lose a few members. That's fine. This is about principle, and fundamental beliefs. We faced the same reaction when championing same sex marriage rights – in the end, that core Liberal commitment to personal choice won out.
If you do too, you’re welcome to join us.
And if you don’t, that’s fine, and we wish you well elsewhere.
But we’re the party of choice.Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers