In light of Campaign Life Coalition’s endorsement of Frank Klees for the leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, I have received some queries about my position in support of Randy Hillier.
Here is my response:
1. Randy Hillier is described in the report as “not pro-life” as opposed to “pro-abortion”. This means that he did not answer the Campaign Life questionnaire perfectly. It does not mean he supports abortion in all cases. In fact, it is my understanding that he is against abortion in most cases.
2. Being a libertarian, Randy Hillier would also oppose the public funding of abortion.
3. There are strategic reasons for social conservatives to support both candidates. This is a ballot system so that your #2 pick is very important. Either Randy Hillier or Frank Klees should be your #1 and #2 picks.
4. If Randy Hillier becomes leader, it is important that he receives social conservative support so our constituency may have some influence in his government.
5. I am not entirely convinced that Frank Klees is entirely on side in his pro-life views. It is true, however, that Mr. Klees has stood up for pro-family initiatives in the past. I acknowledge and appreciate that. And that’s why I hope he wins the nomination if Randy Hillier does not.
This is not an easy endorsement for me to make. I am very uncomfortable in endorsing a candidate who is not entirely pro-life, especially when there is a declared one on the ballot. However, abortion is not going to be overturned in the short term, at least not by politics. Moreover, the legality of it is a federal matter, not a provincial one. So, other than the public funding of it, the question is largely a moot one.
I believe there are substantial strategic reasons for supporting Randy Hillier, especially in light of the current hostility towards conscience rights and the encroachment of the human rights commissions on the liberties of Christians and other social conservatives. Randy Hillier has been front and center in this fight from the beginning. Frank Klees has not.
Furthermore, as social conservatives, we must ask ourselves what is the central question of the day in regards to both abortion and other socially conservative causes? And more importantly, what can the current political situation do to address it?
The central question today is not overturning abortion or its funding, however important and laudable those goals are. The name of the game right now is protecting health care professionals’ right to exercise their conscience in their profession and to refuse to participate in abortion and other objectionable “health care services”. Today, it is the health care professional. Tomorrow, the “bigot train” runs over every profession and all of us are at risk from fully participating in society.
That’s the battle that we face today.
This is the battle we must fight today. Not some other battle which we have long lost and will not return to for some time yet.
I would prefer to fight the central question of abortion itself, but that is not the hand we are being dealt right now. While we are fixated on being politically pure in our pro-life position, our opponents are lining up pro-life, pro-family doctors to haul them before the human rights commissions as we speak.
Therefore, our support must be with the candidate who most loudly and boldly speaks to this issue.
The question today for this leadership race is not outlawing abortion. The question today is stopping the State from forcing us to participate in it.
And to that end, today, the best man for the job is Randy Hillier.
Tomorrow, it could be someone else.
If Mr. Klees wants more social conservative support, perhaps he should speak more loudly and boldly to the issues of conscience, and match or even surpass the measures Mr. Hillier is proposing. Maybe he should come out more publicly in his opposition to abortion too. A questionnaire is one thing. Making it part of his political platform is something different.
While the deadline for buying a membership (click here to do so now) is this Thursday May 14, the actual mail-in vote will not happen until June 27. Therefore, there’s lots of time to hear the SPECIFICS of how Frank Klees is going to address the issue of abortion, human rights commissions, and conscience rights.
There are many social conservatives in both camps waiting to hear what both will be saying on these topics in the coming weeks. Randy Hillier said he would abolish the HRCs. What will Frank Klees do?
And you never know….some allegiances could switch.
Buying a membership from one candidate doesn’t necessarily translate into a vote. Six weeks (May 14-June 27) is a long time in politics.
Lots of talking and policy development could occur around these issues.
Things could change. And so could votes…and endorsements.
– John Pacheco