Thursday, January 05, 2006

Conservative Party candidates that scare me

A disturbing tend is developing among some of the candidates the Conservative Party of Canada is running. A number of candidates seems to fall into either of two categories; outright wingnuts (thankfully, there doesn’t seem to be too many of them) or dominionist Christian bible-thumpers. The wingnuts are pretty easy to spot – the moment they open their mouths everybody cringes, including some of their own party members. It’s the second group, the bible-thumpers, that make me a bit nervous. Now, don’t get me wrong – I have no problem with a candidate with deeply held religious beliefs, as long as that candidate respects Canada’s history of separation of church and state. My fear is that some CPC candidates have no intention of respecting that division. Indeed, some are bent on creating a "Christian" government at the expense of all others.

The Extreme Wing Nuts:

Ron Anders – Calgary West
Ron Anders is the ultimate definition of a loose canon. The man simply can’t get the hang of engaging his brain before opening his mouth. Check out the previous posting on him.
He considers Nelson Mandela to be a communist and terrorist. He embarrasses his own party by wearing an anti-China T-shirt to a Chinese New Years celebration. He’s a poster boy on the wall of shame. And he could do with a couple of lessons from Miss Manners:

"Then came the mandarin from Manitoba [Lloyd Axworthy], the whiner from Winnipeg who now lavishes upon himself as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He has begged for political pork, dined diplomats and grovelled for government goodies. Who could forget the hyena from Hamilton [Sheila Copps] who shrieked and shrilled her way under the public's skin..."
- Conservative Defence critic Rob Anders, in his first ever speech to the House of Commons, Oct. 2, 1997 Hansard.

Another thing that should be rattling the nerves of Canadians is that Anders is a graduate of a "Karl Rove" style school of lying and deceit; none other than the Arlington, Virgina based Leadership Institute. The Leadership Institute is associated with the Heritage Foundation, a Republican Party bank account and policy shop, and with, the web voice of the ultra-right.

Stockwell Day – Okanagan-Coquihalla:
Sigh, what can one say about this clown? This is a man who publicly stated that man and dinosaurs walked the earth together causing the entire country to collectively slam their heads on their desks while screaming “The Flinstones is NOT a documentary!” The best way to describe Day is to let him speak for himself.

"Homosexuality is a mental disorder that can be cured through

Stockwell Day, February of 1992, quoted in Alberta
"Women who become pregnant through rape or incest should not qualify for
government-funded abortions unless their pregnancy is

Stockwell Day, 1995, at an Alberta Conservative party
"God's law is clear: standards of education are not set by government, but by
God, the Bible, the home and the school."
- Stockwell Day, the Conservative
Party's Foreign Affairs critic, in Alberta Report magazine, 1984.
"I would expect the support of the party no matter what happens... even if I
were to kill my grandmother with an axe."
- Then-Alliance leader Stockwell Day, according to various MPs, June 2001
"As a Christian, I acknowledge the lordship of Jesus Christ over the whole
universe ... I believe that the Bible is the infallible word of God and every
word in it, cover to cover, is true."

- Stockwell Day, 1998.

The Bible Thumpers (the scary ones)

Darrel Reid – Richmond B.C.
Past president of the Canadian chapter of Focus on the Family. Anti-abortion. Anti-common law marriages. Anti-gay. Pro-censorship. Considers the United Nations to be a left-wing institution that is anti-life and anti-family. Has no qualms at all acknowledging his desire to merge religion and politics. This guy scares the crap out of me.

Cindy Silver – North Vancouver
Former executive director of the Christian Legal Fellowship, former legal counsel for Focus on the Family Canada, strongly supported by R.E.A.L. Women of B.C. Her views are no different than Darrel Reid’s. Definitely a member of the far right religious bible-thumpers.

David Sweet – Ancaster/Dundas/Flamborough/Westdale
For six years Sweet was the president of the Canadian chapter of Promise Keepers, a “Christian” based organization that really, really wants to get women back into the kitchen and under the control of men.

Their goal is to get power over women back into men’s hands, and they make it clear that men should not be asking to “reclaim” their power, they should be taking it. This group is an open threat to all women.

The question
The examples are the extreme cases which are put forward by the Conservative Party as candidates. When confronted about some of these people, Harper suggests that the CPC welcomes any and all who wish to stand for election as Conservatives. But that doesn't wash. Either a candidate accepts party policy and quells extreme personal agendas or the party has to acknowledge that the personal dogma of the candidate influences the party ethos.

It’s easy to dismiss the occasional headcase and perhaps even have a chuckle at how out of touch they are with reality. The real concern is with the sheer quantity of these people in a national political party that has a real chance of assuming power. The bible-thumpers are the most worrisome. To a person, they are anti-abortion, homophobic, and determined to destroy all barriers separating church and state. They are often very quiet about their religious agenda, even expunging it from their official biographies on their candidate websites. Stephen Harper, conscious of the revulsion that most Canadians would express if it appeared that the Conservative Party was nothing more than a northern version of the U.S. Republican Party, is careful to maintain a certain distance from the more extreme candidates. But they are there, whether Harper acknowledges them in public or not. The question becomes, do these people and their ideas represent the real Conservative Party? If so, then Harper needs to stop pretending they don’t. If they don’t, then the Conservatives need to assume greater control over who they run as candidates.

While Cheryl is credited as author, this is a joint research effort by Cheryl and Dave (requiring several rewrites and dispatching several bottles of wine)

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