By Jonathon Van Maren
United Conservative Party leadership candidate Brian Jean of Alberta is very concerned—concerned that voters have been paying attention to a so-called “shadow campaign” that questions his faith and his principles. “Shadow campaign” is a rather dramatic way of referring to a column I wrote back on September 11, detailing his past statements referring to social conservatives as a “gang of crazies” that needed to be kicked out of the party, which I had to follow up with a column explaining that Jean’s attempt to fake victimhood by claiming that people were “questioning” his faith was his way of avoiding addressing his previous statements. I’ve merely been pointing out what Jean said before, and what he’s saying now.
A few columns published by someone using their real name and openly stating the purpose behind them—to inform social conservative voters of Brian Jean’s past statements about them—is hardly a “shadow campaign,” which he brought up again at the most recent leadership debate. The CBC actually cited my columns as the source of his angst. Additionally, he sent out a long campaign email describing his commitment to school choice and again claiming that his principles were being attacked. I’d love for Jean to actually point out where anyone has said he doesn’t go to church, or where any of us said he had any principles in the first place.
But it was extremely amusing to be told this week by a friend in Calgary that she got a phone call from a pollster hired by Brian Jean’s campaign, asking her whether social conservative values would impact her voting choice or not. The pollster did not initially reveal that she was calling on behalf of Jean’s campaign, but my friend made sure to check. My friend found the whole scenario rather hilarious: Brian Jean hasn’t had any of these principles up until now, she told me, but because the topic keeps on coming up he’s getting pollsters to check whether the party’s voters want him to have any. Jean is literally assuring voters that he supports the rights of social conservatives while simultaneously running polls to find out whether those promises are worth keeping.
Progressive Conservative weasel Patrick Brown’s statements during the leadership race were very similar to Brian Jean’s, followed up by a prompt betrayal of those he wooed during the race, statements to the media saying that social conservatives could turn in their memberships and leave the party, and this week, an announcement that social conservative policies are off-limits at the convention. It is essential that social conservatives vote in self-defence, especially as school choice and parental rights in education are so under attack. Look at Jean’s past statements, and ask yourself whether you trust him not to cave to those calling Christian schools homophobic, or whether he will defend those who hold traditionally Christian beliefs (Jean attends Pride events).
I’d love to believe him when he says he’ll defend the rights of Albertans to educate their children and pass on their own beliefs, but the evidence and his own past statements just don’t bear that out. Bluntly put: Brian Jean is not worth the risk.
For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.