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Double standard applied to Andrew Scheer's social conservative views sends wrong message

Andrew Scheer has been scrutinized for his personal beliefs while other federal party leaders have not, and this is simply wrong in a democratic nation, writes Maria Harrison.

Andrew Scheer has been unfairly scrutinized for his personal beliefs: Maria Harrison

 
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Maria Harrison · for CBC News Opinion · Posted: Nov 24, 2019 4:00 AM ET | Last Updated: 7 hours ago
 
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Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, seen here during a news conference in Regina on Oct. 22, has attracted criticism throughout the election campaign and in the weeks since for his social conservative views on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
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This column is an opinion by Maria Harrison, a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto studying public policy. For more information about CBC's Opinion section, please read the FAQ.

Andrew Scheer's social conservative views on abortion and same-sex marriage are being touted as primary reasons for his defeat in the 2019 election. Jagmeet Singh poignantly summarized this assertion when he recently said you cannot have social conservative views and be prime minister.

People who support that idea would do well to consider some of the incorrect inferences associated with Scheer's social conservatism, the double standard being applied, and the implications of chastising a candidate because of their personal views.

 

Scheer never brought up the issue of abortion or same-sex marriage once during the campaign. The only time it was discussed was when his opponents brought it up as a tactic to paint him as a misogynist and bigot.

Peter MacKay commented in the wake of the election about how no voter wanted to talk about issues like abortion and same-sex marriage, "yet that was thrust onto the agenda and hung around Andrew Scheer's neck like a stinking albatross, quite frankly, and he wasn't able to deftly deal with those issues when opportunities arose."

 
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Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, right, missed a 'breakaway on an empty net' in failing to defeat Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former Conservative minister Peter MacKay said at an event in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 30. (Canadian Press photos)

Justin Trudeau and Jagmeet Singh often spoke during the election campaign about their support of women and the right to choose whether or not to get an abortion. They stressed it is a decision between women and their health care providers, and that a man cannot tell a woman what to do with her body.

It has been incorrectly inferred that Scheer believes women do not have the right to choose whether or not to get an abortion, and that men have the right to tell women what to do with their bodies.

Has Scheer ever said this? No.

People have also incorrectly inferred that because Scheer does not personally support abortion, he would take away women's rights.

 

In fact, he clearly stated he would not re-open the debate.

 
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Conservative leader Andrew Scheer listens to questions during a campaign event in Ottawa on Sept. 14. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Nevertheless, some have fairly criticized Scheer for his lack of clarity and strength in responding to probes about his personal views. He did not directly address the concern of whether or not he would discourage backbenchers from bringing forward motions on abortion, for instance.

Undeniably, he could have handled himself better, and even used the attacks by his opponents as opportunities to speak about conservative and democratic values that unite Canadians, such as individual freedom.

Notwithstanding his weak responses, it is questionable why solely Scheer was scrutinized for his personal beliefs.

There is clearly a double standard being applied to Scheer's social conservative views. It is assumed that because he has or had certain personal views on abortion and same-sex marriage, these views would impede his ability to govern the country (why else are we so concerned?).

Yet fundamental to free societies and democracy is the notion that individuals are free to think as they want, so long as their views are not being forced on others.

Fundamental to free societies and democracy is the notion that individuals are free to think as they want, so long as their views are not being forced on others.

It was not assumed that the other election candidates would impose their personal or religious beliefs on the Canadian public, or that those beliefs would have undue influence on their decision-making.

For instance, Jagmeet Singh clearly ascribes to some of the basic rules and tenets of his faith. Why didn't anyone question whether or not he would let those beliefs seep into his governance and ability to be prime minister? Why was it assumed he would not enforce his religious beliefs on Canadians?

That seems to be what we did with Scheer.

 
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Top row, from left: Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier. Bottom row, from left: Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. (CBC)

We need to think about the implications of attacking a political leader because of his or her personal views.

Scheer describes himself as a Christian. Being a Christian (or ascribing to any faith, religious or not), means your outlook on the world is likely slightly different from that of someone with different beliefs. It is like looking at the world through blue coloured glasses, whereas being an atheist, for example, might be like looking at the world through red coloured glasses. Of course, the Christian will see everything with a tinge of blue and the atheist will see everything with a tinge of red.

People view the world differently based on their philosophical and religious beliefs, but that is OK, as long as each person does not try to impose their beliefs on others.

Yet Scheer's views were incorrectly inferred to suggest he is authoritarian. He was unfairly scrutinized for his personal beliefs when other candidates were not.

If we chastise Scheer for his personal beliefs, which he says he has no intention of inflicting on others, what message are we sending? That we all must think the same lest we be labelled bigots, misogynists, or out of touch with reality?

In a democratic society, it's simply wrong to be indirectly sending out a message to future political candidates that their personal views must be aligned with a particular dogma if they want to be given a serious shot in Parliament. It behooves us all to think critically about our decision to shun those with social-conservative views.

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1 hour ago, Marshall said:

Double standard applied to Andrew Scheer's social conservative views sends wrong message

Ah yes...the benefits of what $600 million brings when you bribe the media ....the fix  was in well before the election started...

Edited by Jaydee

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7 hours ago, Marshall said:

Andrew Scheer has been scrutinized for his personal beliefs while other federal party leaders have not, and this is simply wrong in a democratic nation, writes Maria Harrison.

I have to disagree.... this was pretty easy. He reverted to talking points rather than addressing the issue in a straight forward manner and sounded weak in the process of doing so. It may well have been a matter of bad advice but he plotted the course and entered the waypoints himself. Poorly done IMO and you could see it developing in advance. 

Everyone has their opinions and biases, the trick to democracy is acknowledging that it's an exercise in compromise (with integrity) that allows us all to live together with a modicum of harmony and tolerance. A concept clearly lost on many liberals and democrats. In a transparent effort to appease them with talking points, he did himself no favours. 

 

Edited by Wolfhunter

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First Marijuana, then Methadone clinics , now he wants to give Opioids out. Where does it all stop?? At what point do we hold people accountable for their own choices ?

 

Trudeau appears open to safe opioid (opioids are now safe???) supply proposal in Vancouver, mayor says

 

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/trudeau-vancouver-safe-opioid-supply-1.5368587


Your Grandchildren’s future under the Left.     >>>>>>>>>>

 

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Edited by Jaydee

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Every era has its great thinkers. As Canadians we should feel privileged to watch Jordan Petersons legacy unfold.

“ Actually, you don’t have the right to be offended “

“  In today’s world, we are increasingly pressured to censor and restrict what we say in order to avoid causing offence by voicing opinions that might be construed as “hate speech” or “intolerant.”  However, hearing opinions that differ from the mainstream, whether they’re offensive or not, is necessary in order to spark debate and open discussion, especially on issues considered contentious.  

Contentious issues are meant to be debated in order for one to arrive at as truthful a conclusion as possible. Dr. Jordan Peterson summed this up when he said, “in order to be able to think, you have to risk being offensive.

In other words, being able to risk offence allows one of two outcomes; either one speaks an offensive, incorrect opinion and thus is given the opportunity to be corrected, or one speaks an offensive remark that delivers an uncomfortable truth.

The reason Dr. Peterson links the ability to think with the ability to speak is because speech is merely thought vocalized. Thought brought out into the open is thought that is able to face scrutiny.  However, this can only happen if people don’t shut down debate and discussion by claiming something is offensive or abusive. Those who easily take offence overlook the fact that an opinion or belief that is vigorously debated is a thought that can go onto to serve the public good by either being publicly and validly discarded or publicly and validly incorporated into the collective knowledge.

Also overlooked by those who want to live under the rule that says one cannot cause offence is the impossibility of implementing such an authoritarian ambition on a large scale. While avoiding offence might be achievable when face-to-face with just one person, this is nearly impossible for those who give lectures or speeches on a contentious issue to hundreds of people at a time.  

How can you possibly cover the topic without offending at least one person?  The answer is, you can’t. The only way to avoid causing offence to thin-skinned audience members would be to not hold the lecture at all. That, however, would be a capitulation to erratic emotional frailties, which, in turn, would directly contribute to the end of our ability to speak freely. It is indisputable that debate and open discussion are critical because they allow both sides to hear another point of view and thus come to a balanced and well-informed conclusion; if conflict of opinion still remains after opposing views have been aired, then there is much wisdom, and civility, in both sides, simply taking the age-old stance to agree to disagree.

For my generation, perhaps the best argument for the protection of freedom of speech and expression is that it is freedom of speech that prevents socially conservative people from banding together to have the state forbid us from attending, say, a Rihanna concert or from watching Game of Thrones on the basis they feel offended by the promotion of sexual immorality or religious sacrilege. Success in this would be a direct attack on freedom of expression, in this case, artistic expression. The fact is, once an identity group takes offence over what they see as a contentious issue and then demand the state to prohibit what they deem offensive, it opens a door for all manner of moral issues to be decided upon by an entity that is as unaccountable as it is capricious. History too often has shown that those who seize control of language and the right to use it freely—especially under the guise of wielding moral justice or goodness—are those who soon use this control as leverage to take away other rights. As Philosopher Sir Roger Scruton wrote, when “the state is seen as the guardian of public morality” we give up enormous freedom because we give the state the power to, “forbid the misuse of our freedom.”

Anybody who has doubts about the danger we face over the loss of our freedom of speech only has to consider the recent attempt to silence Lindsay Shepherd, a former teacher assistant in Communication Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University.  In her class, she played a video clip that featured Dr. Jordan Peterson debating with another University of Toronto professor the inherent dangers Bill C-16 presented for freedom of speech because of its legislated use of ideologically charged language, in this case, gender-neutral pronouns. Although Lindsay Shepherd had taken a neutral stance in the matter and she had presented both sides of the argument, she was dragged before a committee and accused of creating a “toxic climate” at the University for showing the clip, this despite the fact the video clip had been aired on public television and so was already in the public domain.  

According to her interrogators, she had “violat[ed] the school’s Gendered and Sexual Violence policy“ and created “an unsafe learning environment for students.” Worse, she was falsely told that she had “broken the law” over a subject that, to use the predictable words of ideologues, “there is no debate.” In fact, all Shepherd had done was cause offence to a small number of people because, as part of her lesson on, ironically, “how language affects our lives,” she had dared to air a short clip of a debate that featured a contentious issue. That she was told she’d broken the law, was then subjected to little more than a kangaroo court and that this all happened on a university campus gives a clear indication that our freedom of speech is very much under threat.  In the end, in this case at least, the ideologues lost, and Shepherd received an apology from Wilfrid Laurier University for the way she was treated. However, given that this incident was able to happen in the first place, it would be foolish to think that such attacks won’t continue their quest to limit our freedom both to speak and to hear differing opinions.

Dr. Peterson says that, “no one believes a world constructed through deception is preferable” and of course he’s right. But not causing offence requires a certain amount of deception because by suppressing our own beliefs and opinions, we risk parroting, under duress, the state-sanctioned beliefs and opinions of others that we believe to be lies. Those who disagree should keep in mind that there is only one way to entirely erase thoughts considered disagreeable or offensive from the minds of those who think them: “erase” the individual who holds such thoughts. This is extremely dangerous.

We should heed the wise words of Justice Julian Knowles, a British High Court judge who is currently presiding over a “hate speech” challenge in London’s High Court of Justice. In a statement addressed to the court, he said, “none of us have a right to be offended by something that they hear … freedom-of-expression laws are not there to protect statements such as “kittens are cute”… [they are there] to expose people to things that they do not want to hear.”  The message, then, is to toughen up. (No offence.)

 

https://www.thepostmillennial.com/actually-you-dont-have-the-right-to-be-offended/

Edited by Jaydee

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Toronto wanted sanctuary city status and that comes at a cost. So, don't act surprised, you want to ignore federal immigration law and go it alone (that's what a sanctuary city does), then raise taxes and pay your bills.

 What did you think was going to happen? Actually, $75M is less than I though it would be... I say ya got off lightly.

https://torontosun.com/news/local-news/levy-refugees-will-cost-toronto-taxpayers-75m-this-year

Edited by Wolfhunter

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1 hour ago, Wolfhunter said:

Toronto wanted sanctuary city status and that comes at a cost. So, don't act surprised, you want to ignore federal immigration law a go it alone (that's what a sanctuary city does), then raise taxes and pay your bills.

 What did you think was going to happen? Actually, $75M is less than I though it would be... I say ya got off lightly.

https://torontosun.com/news/local-news/levy-refugees-will-cost-toronto-taxpayers-75m-this-year

You get what you vote for. Looks good on Toronto...IOW Karma !

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2 hours ago, Jaydee said:

You get what you vote for. Looks good on Toronto...IOW Karma !

Yeah we got stuck with an idiot conservative.

 

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5 hours ago, boestar said:

Yeah we got stuck with an idiot conservative.

 

I don't live in Ontario and am therefore not really entitled to an opinion but here it is anyway - I'm not a big DF fan but after the gross mis-management of the province by the Liberals can anyone really believe that he's worse than they were?  As someone (Jaydee perhaps?) has already posted when a Conservative government finally gets elected and shows a bit of fiscal restraint and un-does some of the previous Liberal government's largess they get labeled as the bad guys - hardly seems fair.  Doug Ford has a bit of a bull-in-the-china-shop style but if I had to choose between that and the whip-out-the-chequebook Wynn style I know which one I'd choose.

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Folks, here is what being a sanctuary city in Canada means:

The city becomes a safe space where the municipality will not pass off incriminating documentation provided to them by individuals to the federal government to assist in enforcing immigration law. It also prohibits local police and city employees from questioning individuals about their immigration status so that they feel more comfortable approaching police, using health and social services and enrolling their children in school.

If you choose to ignore federal law and instruct your police force to do the same, then people wishing to avoid the consequences of the law will flock to your city.

Paying for this isn't a partisan issue (even though the designation was brought to you by duly elected Liberals) ...... tell me why people seeking to avoid deportation wouldn't go there? Tell me why you thought this wouldn't break the bank? What did you think was going to happen? Why are you now unwilling to pay for what you said you wanted? 

I'm a law and order guy, in my opinion, suspending the laws of the land is much the same as breaking them yourself. Please explain to me why you think I should help pay for this.... and lets take it a step further; lets say you're a passionate gun control supporter, what would you think of the idea of cities becoming "gun sanctuary cities" (as they have in the US) so that the federal laws you voted for are systemically ignored by subordinate jurisdictions? Are YOU willing to help pay for the fallout there or would you be singing a completely different tune? I don't think you can have it both ways and you shouldn't think your "clever ideas" won't be used for things you are fundamentally opposed to.

We have laws for a reason, those laws are usually based on reasonable compromise, it's reasonable compromise that allows people with different views and beliefs to live in (relative) harmony. The whole relative privation argument used in a partisan context is the domain of ostriches. If you don't have feathers, I don't see how you could be surprised by any of this. When cities, counties and provinces can opt out of federal law and make their own rules on federal jurisdiction issues like immigration, just imagine the other potential consequences. Really, think about it for a moment, even I could entertain you at length with possible scenarios.

Edited by Wolfhunter

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3 hours ago, seeker said:

I don't live in Ontario and am therefore not really entitled to an opinion but here it is anyway - I'm not a big DF fan but after the gross mis-management of the province by the Liberals can anyone really believe that he's worse than they were?  As someone (Jaydee perhaps?) has already posted when a Conservative government finally gets elected and shows a bit of fiscal restraint and un-does some of the previous Liberal government's largess they get labeled as the bad guys - hardly seems fair.  Doug Ford has a bit of a bull-in-the-china-shop style but if I had to choose between that and the whip-out-the-chequebook Wynn style I know which one I'd choose.

 

03D6D8DC-2B51-45E7-AA04-59AF817A8B26.jpeg

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4 hours ago, seeker said:

I don't live in Ontario and am therefore not really entitled to an opinion but here it is anyway - I'm not a big DF fan but after the gross mis-management of the province by the Liberals can anyone really believe that he's worse than they were?  As someone (Jaydee perhaps?) has already posted when a Conservative government finally gets elected and shows a bit of fiscal restraint and un-does some of the previous Liberal government's largess they get labeled as the bad guys - hardly seems fair.  Doug Ford has a bit of a bull-in-the-china-shop style but if I had to choose between that and the whip-out-the-chequebook Wynn style I know which one I'd choose.

How soon they forget.....

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On 11/30/2019 at 3:05 AM, seeker said:

I don't live in Ontario and am therefore not really entitled to an opinion but here it is anyway - I'm not a big DF fan but after the gross mis-management of the province by the Liberals can anyone really believe that he's worse than they were?  As someone (Jaydee perhaps?) has already posted when a Conservative government finally gets elected and shows a bit of fiscal restraint and un-does some of the previous Liberal government's largess they get labeled as the bad guys - hardly seems fair.  Doug Ford has a bit of a bull-in-the-china-shop style but if I had to choose between that and the whip-out-the-chequebook Wynn style I know which one I'd choose.

You only have to look at the numbers.  It's worse.  He has done MORE of what the Conservatives chastised the Liberals for.  Same crap different banner.

 

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Doug Ford Cancelled a Wind farm that was 2 weeks from going operational.  Cost to Taxpayers was in the hundreds of millions.

Someone needs to explain to me how cancelling a project that is in the final testing stage before going online makes any Economic sense at all.

We, as Ontarians have spent more tax money on projects that were never completed or in some cases started.  The Liberals did their share over 15 years but Dougie has passed them already in a few short years.

We can never prosper if we keep electing self serving criminals to office and yet we keep doing it.

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4 hours ago, boestar said:

Doug Ford Cancelled a Wind farm that was 2 weeks from going operational.  Cost to Taxpayers was in the hundreds of millions.

Someone needs to explain to me how cancelling a project that is in the final testing stage before going online makes any Economic sense at all.

We, as Ontarians have spent more tax money on projects that were never completed or in some cases started.  The Liberals did their share over 15 years but Dougie has passed them already in a few short years.

 

Likely because it was burdened with unrealistic rates for the energy to be produced - it would cost more to run than to cancel and tear it down.  The Liberals get tagged with this error.

According to the auditor the Liberals over-payed 9.2 billion (Billion!) for green energy projects plus you gotta add a few billion for the cancelled gas-plants.  Dougie has a long way to go before he comes anywhere close to the incompetence and malfeasence of the Liberals.

https://lfpress.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-were-still-paying-for-liberal-hydro-blunders/wcm/c83a6cc2-0598-48ff-9792-ad19fdf7bc6a

Yes, I agree, wasting a hundred million having to cancel some faulty Liberal project sucks but this is a Liberal legacy, not a Conservative mistake.

Edited by seeker
typo
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I just cpmpounds the waste in the name of making the liberals look worse than they actually were.  Now we are on the hook for dismantling it all.

He is just as bad as she was.  You cannot argue that

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I'm glad I got to see San Francisco before the steep decline; I don't think it will be coming off the "no go list" for a long time to come.

It now appears that others have added it to their list too:

https://www.foxnews.com/tech/san-franciscos-poor-street-conditions-a-factor-in-citys-loss-of-64m-oracle-tech-conference-reports

Edited by Wolfhunter

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Drove through San Francisco two years ago. Will never ever go back. I avoid California completely now.

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6 hours ago, Wolfhunter said:

I'm glad I got to see San Francisco before the steep decline; I don't think it will be coming off the "no go list" for a long time to come.

It now appears that others have added it to their list too:

https://www.foxnews.com/tech/san-franciscos-poor-street-conditions-a-factor-in-citys-loss-of-64m-oracle-tech-conference-reports

Perfect example of "The law of unintended consequences"

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3 hours ago, mo32a said:

Drove through San Francisco two years ago. Will never ever go back. I avoid California completely now.

Vancouver is on my list and Victoria has been on it for years.

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