By Jonathon Van Maren
Canada’s progressive politicians have always had an underlying disdain for Christians, but as that disdain becomes more open and part of their legislative agendas, it is rapidly turning into open war. It started with Justin Trudeau’s new Governor General Julie Payette mocking people of faith in a speech, comparing those who believe that the universe came about through divine intervention with those who believe in horoscopes. She was promptly defended by Justin Trudeau, who was condemned by Conservative leader Andrew Scheer for belittling the beliefs of millions of Canadians. The Canadian commentariat, at least, was almost universally disgusted by her speech, citing it as an example of a figurehead official overstepping her bounds.
But other commentators were eager to go on the attack. In fact, the Toronto Star published a column by an NDP strategist describing the leader of United Conservative Party of Alberta Jason Kenney as a childless social conservative running a party of closeted homophobes, even going so far as to state—ludicrously—that Kenney is “a man who has refused to discuss his own sexual orientation.” Considering that the Alberta NDP’s entire smear strategy is based around accusing the UCP of forcing conversations about sexual orientation, this is particularly and painfully ironic. The column was so full of overt lies and inconsistencies—the author claimed that Kenney was both a scary social conservative as well as someone who only tricks his followers into thinking that he believes the same things he does—that it even managed to get basic, public record facts wrong, referring to Kenney as an “evangelical” (he is Catholic.)
The column was so obviously a smear job that the National Post columnist Chris Selley tweeted, “If progressive Canada signed a sort of manifesto clarifying that it just dislikes evangelical Christians, it could save us a lot of time.” Jonathan Kay noted that if someone tried to comment on the childlessness of a female politician, the outrage would go on for weeks. For the second time in a couple of weeks, Canada’s generally liberal media figures and commentators seemed to agree that the palpable disdain of Canadians of faith—Selley also pointed out that two-thirds of Canadians believe in God—is simply going too far.
But I suspect that the attacks on Jason Kenney are only beginning for two reasons: He is a politician with genuine conservative principles, and he is willing to fight for them. The media and progressive politicians are generally accustomed to men like Patrick Brown, who will do anything to attain power and thus is willing to adopt any position he finds convenient, even if it means slinking away from a position he staked out very publicly a very short time before. Kenney is already showing that the NDP strategy of lying about Catholics—accusing educators of not believing in consent in marriage—is not going to unfold without response. The UCP is still demanding an apology, but instead, Education Minister David Eggen repeated Premier Rachel Notley’s slander. The NDP then put forward a bill that would make it illegal to tell parents if their children were involved in Gay Straight Alliance Clubs—their insidious justification for this legislation being that parents cannot be trusted with their own children.
Jason Kenney isn’t backing down, and has announced that the United Conservative Party will be opposing Bill 24:
The United Conservative leader knew he would be roughed up and put down and reach villain status in a matter of minutes for the stand he’s taken but he is not throwing in the towel. No way.
“I’m not so easily intimidated. Backing down would be the wrong thing to do. It would be backing down to a cynical effort to exploit kids for partisan political reasons,” says Kenney.
“It would be backing down to a policy that would make it illegal for teachers of even very young kids to engage parents.”
“We’re not going to let the NDP’s anger machine and their allies intimidate us. This is just part of the play. There will be more of this and I won’t be rattled.”
Kenney, who is easily one of the most brilliant politicians in Canada today, knows precisely what Notley and the NDP are up to—they are attempting to distract from their abject failures as a competent government and are instead trying to demonize Christians to position themselves as necessary protectors and give people some reason to vote for them. At the very least, perhaps Notley and her gang hoped that Kenney would be more like Patrick Brown, and anger many of his supporters by caving and voting for legislation opposed by conservatives. But finally, Canada’s conservative movement has a leader who fights instead of a Kathleen Wynne knockoff.
Justin Trudeau and his millionaire friends have weathered months of scandal, Kathleen Wynne is less popular than some communicable diseases, and Rachel Notley’s last desperate bid to hang on to power is to smear Albertan parents as bigoted enemies of their own children. They face very little opposition: Brown has fewer convictions than Wynne does and it’s never clear what those are, Brian Jean would have in all likelihood backed down in the face of Notley’s bait-and-switch, and Trudeau has two more years with a majority to try and turn things around. In the meantime, Canada’s conservatives need to get behind those politicians who are willing to defend truly conservative principles and refuse to play the divisive and hateful game progressive politicians are using to hang on to power at the expense of voters they despise.
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.