Monday, May 19, 2014

Proud to be part of a Liberal Party that stands for choice

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.

So I’m proud to be a Liberal today, and proud of Mr. Trudeau. Proud to say this is who we are, and this is what we believe in.

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.

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3 comments:

Leeky Sweek said...

You speak about Liberals embracing choice but that's exactly the opposite of what you and Trudeau are advocating. The concept of "choice" should go past one mere issue. Additionally, It is easy to approve of Trudeau's statement because you agree with him

But what type of precedent does this set within your Liberal Party? If Trudeau suddenly stated that all liberals had to attend a Catholic Church, would you blindly follow him down THAT road?

brian digings said...

I believe that this attitude is exactly what is wrong with Canadian politics. Being told to blindly follow, or don't bother coming out!

I would expect this kind of "follow the leader" from the PC's but not from a "liberal" blogger.

Jeff Jedras said...

There are a few pertinent facts that you both seem to have missed from the post you're commenting on.

This is not a leader dictating anything. As I said, the Liberal membership has regularly and firmly passed policy affirming that we are a pro-choice party. This is who we are, and what we believe in. The leader didn't decide that. WE did. We the members.

And no Leeky, I am advocating choice. Liberals have choosen to be a pro-choice party. Is it so crazy to say if you want to be a Liberal candidate, you should stand for Liberal values? I don't think it is.

Nor should it be controversial. If you are pro-life, why would you want to stand for a party that has made abundantly clear pro-choice is a central tenet of what it believes in?