Former Kenney staffer introduces conscience rights Bill; commentators upset Scheer questioned on religious beliefs

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean

Some might say they have nothing to do with the other. I would disagree.

Bill 207, the “Conscience Rights Bill” or “Patient Abandonment Bill” (depending who is speaking) is the latest attack on Albertans in favour of the UCPs religious right leadership. Dan Williams, UCP MLA for Peace River introduced Bill 207 as a Private Member’s Bill in the Alberta Legislature on November 8th and passed first reading with a vote of 36 (UCP) to 15 (NDP). Williams, who relocated to Alberta in 2017, wrote in his bio on albertastrongandfree.ca that he “began working for Jason Kenney five years ago”; which is a far more interesting tidbit if you can do math.

Self-admitted UCP voter and political pundit Cory Morgan took to social media to declare his displeasure with the Bill claiming he voted for economic policy, not religious policy. However, when he voted for a Party built by Jason Kenney and populated by his hand-picked representatives, Morgan willingly supplied them with the opportunity.

Around the same time last week, reporters were demanding answers from Conservative Party of Canada leader Andrew Scheer that he still can’t seem to give. When asked how he would manage the contradiction between his religious beliefs and human rights, he doesn’t seem to know; still. Conservative commentators took offence demanding that media ask other leaders too; and they have.

Only one leader has had an issue.

Justin Trudeau, who is Catholic, is on record stating that he is personally against abortion but unequivocally supports a woman’s right to choose. Trudeau is also a public supporter of equal rights for all Canadians, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Jagmeet Singh, the NDP leader who is also a practicing Sikh, has been clear as well stating that he supports reproductive choice. Singh, too, has made public appearances supporting equal rights for all Canadians, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Elizabeth May, former Green Party leader and practicing Christian, did the same.

Andrew Scheer, however, could manage nothing more than to say he would not reopen the debate. He did say he would not whip votes on the matter, which didn’t put anyone at ease, oddly enough.

For his part, Scheer is still acting as if his Party made some momentous gains to remain the Official Opposition. With 18 of his Party’s 22 newly acquired seats earned west of Ontario, the CPC is looking more like it decided to cozy up with its Reform Party roots of the 1990’s than become a Party for 21st century Canadians.

As Conservative Party of Canada cheerleaders in the west continue to sing out for yester-year policies, other voices are talking about the future; a future that seemed possible directly after the Conservative Party’s loss.

Charles Adler started something over the past few years that even he has only just realized. Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative Premier Brian Pallister became the lone voice of reason on the prairies, and Roman Baber, an Ontario MPP in Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative Party launched a call to “modernize” the CPC right after the federal election.

If the modern conservatives can take the wheel and move the Conservative Party in a new direction, there’s a chance that they could see their way to forming government once again. If Andrew Scheer and Kenney retain control, they will likely continue to divide and isolate western Canada for their own ends. Right now it seems as if we need to rely on B.C. and Manitoba to hold in the crazy.

No pressure.

This post is an opinion; links to supporting evidence provided.

Deirdre is a reporter, pundit, podcaster, and full-wit political observer, raising four independent thinkers in rural Southern Alberta.   

contact: dmaclean@countersign.ca, hello@politicalrnd.ca

Twitter: @Mitchell_AB for all the commentary; @thisweekinAB for posts; @politicalRnD to guess “who tweeted that”?

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