Calling social conservatives dinosaurs was ‘wrong terminology,’ says Patrick Brown

OTTAWA-

Federal Conservative leadership candidate Patrick Brown says it was “the wrong terminology” to call social conservatives “dinosaurs” in a book he wrote about his time in Ontario politics.

“I think a better way to put that would be to say, I don’t think the Conservative Party should rethink these issues,” Brown said in an interview on Friday.

The mayor of Brampton, Ontario, has attacked former MP Pierre Poilievre – once a colleague in the House of Commons when Brown was an MP – for his stance on abortion.

Brown said he believes one of the reasons the party lost the 2019 election was a lack of clarity about its stance on the procedure.

During the race and even after, former leader Andrew Scheer was dogged by questions about his socially conservative values, before resigning under mounting pressure to do so.

Asked about his own views, Poilievre has said that he believes in free choice and that a government led by him would not introduce or pass legislation restricting access to abortion – despite the wishes of MPs and party members belonging to its well-being – organized social conservative wing.

Poilievre has pointed out on social media that in his book about his fall from the leading party of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party over allegations of sexual misconduct that he continues to deny, Brown referred to social conservatives as “dinosaurs.”

He added that they are becoming irrelevant and that their views are “insincerely hypocritical”.

“Maybe that’s the wrong terminology,” Brown said Friday when asked about his use of the term “dinosaur” in his book “Takedown: The Attempted Political Assassination Of Patrick Brown.”

“My conservatism is that I want to see less government. I want less government in your small business and less taxes, less bureaucracy – but I also want to see less government in your personal life.”

A leaked draft opinion from the US Supreme Court suggesting that it may overturn Roe v. Wade, a ruling that upholds abortion rights nationwide, has revived the issue in Canada and the conservative leadership race.

One issue for Tory leaders to resolve is how to deal with the bills of MPs seeking to restrict access to abortion. Under former leader Erin O’Toole, 81 of the party’s 119 MPs — more than half — voted in favor of legislation tabled by Saskatchewan MP Cathay Wagantall to ban so-called gender-selective abortion, which she said targeted on baby girls.

The bill was easily defeated by the Liberal government, along with NDP and Bloc Québécois MPs who labeled it a Trojan horse to erode reproductive rights.

Brown said Friday that while MPs may introduce private abortion bills, he would not allow members of his cabinet to vote in their favor.

“It would not be supported by (my) government. And so any cabinet I select, no government I lead would rethink the abortion debate.”


This report from The Canadian Press was first published on May 28, 2022.

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