By Jonathon Van Maren
If you just read the news, you would think that Canada is an enormously progressive place, filled with cheery lefties who take their toddlers to Pride to twerk with the leather dudes, free abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy for whoever wants one, and universal disdain for the dark, evil past from whence we all came (unless you go far enough back. It was great before any non-aboriginals came here. Not that we dislike immigrants, or anything. They are also great.)
But the reality, as I pointed out in a column last week, is quite different. Red Tory Jean Charest, according to some sources, decided not to run for the leadership of the Conservative Party after internal polling indicated that a significant percentage of the membership holds socially conservative views. In fact, polling this past summer found that a full quarter of Canadians still support the traditional definition of marriage, with less than 50% of Canadians of East Asian and South Asian descent supporting the idea of same-sex marriage. That debate might be closed, sure. But socially conservative views are far from rare in Canada.
Socially conservative views are fairly common, but it seems these days that the Conservative Party wants to ensure that social conservatives do not have a political home in their big tent. It isn’t just their refusal to even consider the idea, supported by a majority of Canadians, that perhaps abortion should be restricted at some point during pregnancy (in fact, most Canadians think we already have such legislation.) As Chris Selley pointed out recently in the National Post, the membership of the Conservative Party holds views that differ wildly from party bigwigs who are trying to get woke as fast as possible:
On “so-con issues,” Conservative supporters stand out where you would expect them to: 61 per cent say Pride parades “are not for me,” versus just 12 per cent of Liberals; 68 per cent agree “there should be a law prohibiting abortion during the third trimester … unless the health of the mother is in danger,” versus 39 per cent of Liberals; and 84 per cent agree minority Canadians “should do more to fit in better with mainstream Canadian society,” versus 36 per cent of Liberals.
Did you catch that? Almost 40% of Liberals think we should have abortion restrictions. And yet, over and over again, genuinely conservative Canadians have to listen to clueless media pundits who view those with different belief systems like they’re on a National Geographic safari inform Conservative Party officials that they cannot win elections by supporting policies that have majority support from the Canadian public. And those Conservative Party officials then take a break from whining about how much the media hates conservatives to accept this nonsense, hook, line, and sinker. Try and figure that one out for a minute.
Chris Selley mused that “surely [social conservatives] would be far better off building their own movement…[rather] than endlessly begging in vain for table scraps from a party that clearly does not want them around.” Incidentally, he’s not the first one to suggest it.