The president of the Brandon-Souris Liberal riding association stands by the sweeping declaration made by party leader Justin Trudeau that will bar anyone who is against abortion from seeking nomination.
“It seems to me it fits with Liberal values,” Laurie Jackson told the Sun.
Trudeau said on Parliament Hill Wednesday he has “made it clear that future candidates need to be completely understanding that they will be expected to vote pro-choice on any bills.”
The Liberal party, which is fervently trying to re-establish itself both nationally and locally, has championed open nominations — a promise Trudeau made when he became leader more than a year ago.
Jackson said the party is staying true to that, allowing anyone to come forward as a candidate, but those individuals have to get the “green light” from the party before becoming a nomination candidate.
“I don’t see that it changes open nomination; it may change the mind of people with certain personal values to come forward,” Jackson said.
Jackson also said she has no problem with the leader drawing a line in the sand with such a divisive issue, pointing to Trudeau’s highly publicized stance on legalizing marijuana.
In Brandon-Souris, Ray Piche is currently the only person to make public his intention to seek the Liberal nomination but hasn’t yet been party-approved and didn’t wish to comment on Trudeau’s statement.
The local party association has a group of three members charged with recruiting possible candidates ahead of its nomination meeting, which is slated for June.
Meanwhile, at least three former Liberal MPs could find themselves barred from running again for the party due to the newly imposed rule.
Former cabinet minister Gar Knutson said he fully expects to be “red lighted” by the Liberal party. Knutson had hoped to seek the party’s nomination in Ottawa-Orleans, where Trudeau’s hand-picked star recruit, retired general Andrew Leslie, is vying to carry the Liberal banner in the 2015 federal election.
The only exception Trudeau will make is for incumbent Liberal MPs, several of whom share Knutson’s belief that abortion is morally wrong.
One-time minister Joe Volpe and veteran backbencher Dan McTeague could similarly find their dreams of a political comeback shattered by the party’s firm stance.
» firstname.lastname@example.org, with files from the Canadian Press
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Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 9, 2014