The leader of Canada’s Liberal Party, Justin Trudeau, has sparked a controversy with his recent letter to party members in which he said the party would only accept pro-abortion people as candidates for elections.
He announced that candidates running in elections for the Liberal Party would be screened to ensure that they would vote in favor of abortion.
Commentators noted that traditionally in Canada members of parliament have been free to vote on abortion issues according to their conscience.
The archbishop of Toronto, Cardinal Thomas Collins, published an open letter to Trudeau asking him to reconsider his decision.
“I am deeply concerned about your decision that citizens who, in conscience, seek to assure the protection of the most vulnerable among us are not acceptable as candidates in your party,” he stated.
“It is worth noting that if Pope Francis, as a young man, instead of seeking to serve in the priesthood in Argentina, had moved to Canada and sought to serve in the noble vocation of politics, he would have been ineligible to be a candidate for your party, if your policy were in effect,” Cardinal Collins added.
“Political leaders surely have the right to insist on party unity and discipline in political matters which are within the legitimate scope of their authority. But that political authority is not limitless: it does not extend to matters of conscience and religious faith. It does not govern all aspects of life,” he continued.
On Monday this week Trudeau wrote another letter in which he said: “Canadians of all views are welcome within the Liberal Party of Canada.”
Then, in a seemingly contradicting affirmation he declared: “But under my leadership, incoming Liberal MPs will always vote in favour of a woman’s fundamental rights,” the Globe and Mail newspaper reported May 19.
Former Liberal parliamentarian Jim Karygiannis said Trudeau’s announcement will “definitely” hurt the party and that the leader should rethink the policy, Canada’s CBC news reported May 20.
“Spare me the abortion absolutism,” was the title of an opinion article by Margaret Wente for the Globe and Mail on May 15.
“I thought,” she said, “the Liberals were the tolerant and diverse ones.”
Declaring herself as pro-choice, at the same time Wente said that “I don’t especially like leaders who can’t tolerate dissent on issues as profound and personal as this one.”
Liberal progressivism, she concluded, has “become as intolerant and doctrinaire as any fundamentalist cult.”
On the Net:
Letter by Cardinal Collins: http://www.archtoronto.org/events_news/pdf/justintrudeaumay1414.pdf