For the record: Justin Trudeau on liberty and the niqab

The text of Justin Trudeau’s controversial speech


Liberal leader Justin Trudeau gives keynote address at Liberal Biennial Convention in Montreal

The following is the prepared text of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s speech to an audience in Toronto this evening—a speech that has made news for its criticism of the Harper government.

Thank you, Ken, for that kind introduction. And thanks for all the work you do for the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada. MISC depends more than anything on generosity of spirit, and you have been beyond kind with your time and talent over the years. Countless McGill students have had their lives and career choices touched by your wisdom, and we’re all better for it.

I also want to thank the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada for hosting this great event.

Wasn’t that a fantastic debate?

You know, I dabbled in the debating union at McGill. I even debated Ted Cruz once at a tournament at Yale.

He hasn’t changed very much.

Anyway, I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t convincingly argue for things I didn’t believe in. I congratulate tonight’s debaters for overcoming that obstacle.

As you all know, I had a unique window on Canada and the world through my childhood. But, like all McGill graduates, I had my ideas shaped, tempered and tested by my time on campus. I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to McGill, to my professors and to my fellow students.

Most of you will know what I mean when I say this. One of the first things you learn at McGill is that every room is teeming with people who are used to being—or, at least, feeling like—the smartest person in the room.

Then, as now, since you are all in the same room, basic math requires you to put that feeling behind you.

And if you’re really smart, you learn to do it quickly. You take advantage of the unique opportunity that comes from being immersed in such a dynamic environment. I remember hours spent at Gerts over pints, arguing with friends from the women’s union about whether a man could be a feminist.

I remember challenging fellow students in seminars about a culture of political correctness that didn’t change mindsets, but just drove them beneath the surface.

McGill, like Canada, is an amazing place. And MISC serves both extraordinarily well.

The Institute was created by McGill and the Bronfman family to help us all understand this great country better. To see our history and heritage with clear eyes, to grapple with the challenges we face today, and to gain the broadest and deepest sense of the many possibilities open to us in the future.

It’s a big, important mission. And I want to address one particularly vital aspect of it. I hope tonight to make a modest contribution to the Institute’s ongoing effort—and I’m quoting from the mission statement here—“to identify and explore the benefits that a pluralistic society offers.”

It’s an important mission for Canada, but it’s a uniquely fitting topic to talk about, here in Toronto. This city is the epicentre of Canadian multiculturalism, a place where people from every imaginable country and culture, who speak every language, live and work and build and thrive together. For much of the world, Toronto represents the most hopeful vision of what their future could look like. Here, we are blessed to call it our present.

More from Maclean’s:
Bill C-51: Breaking down both sides of a most terrifying debate
Meet the professors behind the swift assault on C-51

To me, pluralism means diversity, and diversity is at the very heart of Canada. It is who we are and what we do.

We do it better than anyone else on Earth. So well, in fact, that we often take it for granted.

So let’s remind ourselves: Canada is the only country in the world that is strong, not in spite of our differences, but because of them.

There are a lot of reasons for this, but I believe the root cause of our success is a uniquely Canadian idea of freedom, of liberty.

That’s the idea I want to develop with you tonight.

First, I want to argue that Canadian liberty is all about inclusion. We have had deeply regrettable moments. But the history of this country is one in which we are constantly challenging ourselves and each other to extend our personal definitions of who is a Canadian.

This is a good and important thing. It is good for us, good for our country, and important to the world.

Second, I’ll make the case that Canadian liberty has got one of the world’s most vexatious problems right: the interplay between individual freedom and collective identity. We understand that people are defined both by the things that unite and distinguish us from one another: languages, cultures, faiths—even, importantly, our gender and sexual orientation. However, we also know that all of these contribute to a person’s identity, but don’t define it. These things all find their highest, most concrete expression in the individual human beings who embody them.

This, too, is a good thing. It gives people room to live and breathe. It gives our many cultures fuel to grow and change. It gives Canada over to Canadians, to build as we see fit.

Nous, les Québécois, sommes fiers de notre héritage linguistique et culturel. Avec la Révolution tranquille, nous nous sommes donnés les outils pour affirmer notre identité et notre culture dans le cadre canadien.

Notre réussite est l’incarnation et la manifestation que, dans ce pays, on peut exprimer sa différence sans compromettre l’unité et la cohésion.

Quand mon père a déposé la Loi sur les langues officielles en 1969—que Brian Mulroney a bonifié et rendu encore plus mordante en 1988—il a voulu renforcer cette idée que notre pays a été depuis ses débuts fondé sur la diversité et l’inclusion. Que les francophones de ce pays sont chez eux dans ce pays, peu importe la province dans laquelle ils résident.

Third, I want to make the important point that none of this happened by accident, and it won’t continue without effort. We have built vital institutions around it, but Canadian liberty requires Canadian political leadership to be sustained. Canada is the way it is because Canadians built it to be that way. Generations of us elected leaders from all parties who shared those values and shaped this country. While I am deeply optimistic about this country’s future, I recognize that that future is by no means certain. It depends on the choices we make today.

So it won’t surprise anyone to hear me disagree with the kind of leadership we’re getting from the current Prime Minister and his government.

But before I get into the meat of the argument, let me set the table. Plenty of people will wonder why a political leader would bother giving a speech on a notion such as liberty. After all, our politics are supposed to be retail these days. We’re expected to talk about very specific measures targeted at “key audiences” and “swing voters,” especially in an election year.

But I have an old-fashioned view. I think policies are concrete expressions of values. Priorities are important. Specific commitments are important. But there is no way to predict the events you will need to navigate during your time in office, let alone the measures that will be required to manage those events. People aren’t naive. They know that.

So Canadians ought to know what core values will motivate their leaders’ decisions, whatever events may throw at them.

For me, one of the most important core values is liberty. Specifically, I believe that one of the highest aims of Canadian political leadership is to protect and expand freedom for Canadians.

I say this not just because the Canadian idea of liberty is important to me, which it is. It has motivated several of the significant policy changes I have brought forward as leader of my party. But it’s important to all of us. Our shared commitment to it is the very foundation of the amazing country we have built together.

I also think it’s time Liberals took back liberty. These Conservatives pretend to talk a good game about freedom, but look at what they’ve done with it.

They have fallen a long way from the era of Sir John A. Macdonald to the “why do you hate freedom?” taunts of the recently departed Sun News Network.

Their instincts are now to be suspicious of people who do not share their beliefs, to harden divisions with people whose views differ from their own.

In my seven years in Parliament, I have heard the conservative Prime Minister accuse two leaders of the NDP of sympathizing with terrorists, the Conservative party accuse notable McGillian Irwin Cotler of anti-Semitism, and the former public safety minister declare: “You’re either with us, or you’re with the child pornographers.”

For that particular effort, the Prime Minister eventually rewarded him with a judicial appointment.

This, my friends, is not your parents’ Conservative party.

Their approach to politics might work in the short term, but it is corrosive over time, especially in a diverse country like Canada. It stokes anxiety and foments fear. Instead of encouraging Canadians to fight for one another’s liberty, it tells us to be suspicious of each other’s choices.

Mr. Harper and I disagree fundamentally about many things. None perhaps more so than this: Leading this country should mean you bring Canadians together. You do not divide them against one another.

Fear is a dangerous thing. Once it is sanctioned by the state, there is no telling where it might lead. It is always a short path to walk from being suspicious of our fellow citizens to taking actions to restrict their liberty.

And that, to borrow a phrase, is not the way we ought to do things around here. Not in Canada.

So, first, in Canada, when we are at our best, liberty means inclusion.

We haven’t always been at our best. We have had many failures, the most pernicious and invidious of which is still very much with us: the second-class citizenship of indigenous peoples.

There are other dark episodes: the Chinese head tax, the internment of Ukrainian, Japanese, and Italian Canadians during the First and Second World Wars, our turning away boats of Jewish or Punjabi refugees, our own history of slavery. No Irish need apply. We don’t speak French here, so “speak white.” The discrimination faced by Greek and Portuguese Canadians in this very city.

For each and every one of these, we look back with regret and shame. And we should.

But we should also learn from them. Mackenzie King ordered those internments because they were popular. In fact, he did it despite evidence from the RCMP and Defence that they were unwarranted. He did it because people were afraid.

When I talk to young people today about these episodes, they can hardly believe they happened. It doesn’t sound possible, not in Canada.

So we should all shudder to hear the same rhetoric that led to a “none is too many” immigration policy toward Jews in the ’30s and ’40s, being used to raise fears against Muslims today.

That’s because the Canada we all cherish stands for the opposite of those dark moments. And for each of those, there are thousands of hopeful, open, moments, where the Canadian journey moves inexorably toward greater inclusion and greater liberty. The Underground Railroad. The Official Languages Act. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Multiculturalism Act. The admittance of Ismaili Muslim refugees. The freedom for Jews and Sikhs, Hindus and Evangelicals to practise their religion.

We all know the famous quote so beloved by Martin Luther King, Jr: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Well, for all our instructive moments of failure, the arc of Canadian history bends toward inclusion, toward liberty.

We don’t get it right every day. We don’t make progress every year. Sometimes we even take a step back. But as we approach Canada’s 150th birthday, we can look back over our history and see which way our country bends.

The point is that each successive generation of Canadians has fought to expand liberty to their fellow citizens who had been denied it. The naysayers claimed at every step that liberty’s expansion would compromise our traditional values. They said it would somehow dilute what it means to be Canadian.

We can see now that they were categorically wrong. That’s because working to gain freedom for our fellow citizens is a bedrock traditional value in this country. It is in large measure what it means to be Canadian.

There is no greater illustration of this point than the history of women’s experience in Canada.

When I was one, my grandmother Grace held me in her arms before she passed away. She was of a generation of Canadian women that had to fight to gain the franchise. Her eldest son—my father—was born in the first year women were eligible to vote in federal elections.

My mother, who, in many ways, represented a new movement of freedom to her contemporaries, still endured public criticism that would be unacceptable today.

And when I think of the possibilities open to my daughter’s generation, it’s hard not to be proud of all we have achieved. Again, though, much remains to be done. Women still face unacceptable sexual violence in Canada, and discrimination, especially when it comes to equal pay for equal work.

But when you take the long view, it is impossible to be anything but awestruck by the progress we have made in creating a society where women are not just included, but vital to our economic and social progress.

The instructive point here is obvious, but often overlooked. One set of policies in postwar Canada generated more liberty for more people than any other. It was the decades-long effort of the women’s movement to gain control over reproductive health and rights.

Indeed, let me be perfectly clear on this point. The Canada we know today is unimaginable without widely available birth control and the legalization of choice.

Every conceivable measure of inclusion and progress has moved in the right direction since women gained legally protected reproductive freedom in Canada, from workforce participation to educational attainment to representation in the corridors of economic and political power.

That’s why I took such a strong stand in favour of a woman’s right to choose when I sought the leadership of my party. It’s why I implemented a strong new policy soon after being elected, a few years back.

You see, I have this notion that the Liberal party ought to be a liberal party. It ought to stand for the policy that created an unprecedented expansion of liberty for half the population of the country.

The criticism that followed my decision from many quarters shows you how badly we need to restate and defend a clear idea of Canadian liberty. Indeed, most of my critics argued that this new policy represented a restriction of freedom—the freedom of Liberal MPs to vote their conscience.

This is an important point, because, when different notions of liberty come into conflict, it helps clarify our thinking.

Their argument went like this: Forcing a Liberal MP to vote against [his or her] conscience on a matter of morality is an unjust restriction of [his or her] liberty. It sounds like a reasonable argument. However, it is easily dismissed, when you realize it is based on a value judgment about whose freedom is more important: that of an MP elected as a Liberal, or that of Canadian women.

Let’s be clear on this. For Liberals, the right of a woman to control her body is more important than the right of a legislator to restrict her freedom with [his or her] vote. MPs who disagree with that have other choices. They can sit as Independents, or as Conservatives.

But for me, Canadian liberty is not about the freedom of powerful people to exercise that freedom according to the dictates of their conscience. It is about Canadians’ rights not to have their freedom unduly restricted, especially by the state.

Indeed, this gets to the heart of the Canadian idea of liberty. In Canada, freedom is not just an aspirational value. It is a lived reality. It is woven into the fabric of our most important institutions, from the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to our uniquely successful approach to immigration, to our cities’ excellent public schools.

In Canada, liberty is a public good. It is not just something that we hope you can achieve on your own, if given the opportunity. It is something we work to provide for one another, and that we have grown to rightly expect from one another.

As my second-favourite prime minister, Wilfrid Laurier, once said: “Canada is free, and freedom is its nationality.”

That is why efforts of one group to restrict the liberty of another are so very dangerous to this country, especially when the agencies of the state are used to do it.

We get a very important thing right in Canada. Not perfect, but right. That thing is the balance between individual freedom and collective identity, which is the second argument about Canadian liberty I want make tonight.

In Canada, we know that people are defined, in large measure, by our relationships to other people: 0ur cultural background, our religious beliefs, our gender, our sexual orientation.

However, we also believe that all of those collective associations receive their highest expression in the form of real, flesh and blood, individual human beings. That is the genius of Canada. We expand cultural freedom by ensuring that individual Canadians who come from diverse communities have the freedom to live and express and grow and change their cultures.

We refuse to see a contradiction between individual liberty and collective identity. In fact, we have created a society where both thrive and mutually reinforce one another.

It was, at its root, a leap of faith, and a very new idea. Over time, we learned to trust that, whatever their culture of origin, the more people engage with the breadth of our country’s diversity, the more Canadian they will become.

In turn, we would change our own cultures. Where there was repression, it would be defeated by the more compelling Canadian opportunity to achieve liberty. Where there was isolation, we would meet it with openness and inclusion.

It may have started as a leap of faith, but it has become a defining characteristic of our country, our great success, and our gift to the world.

We have proven that a country—an astonishingly successful country—can be built on, and defined by, shared values. Not by religion, language, or ethnicity, but shared values.

In characteristically Canadian fashion, we don’t celebrate this success often enough, but the world needs us to, especially now. One of the most difficult and urgent global problems is how to develop societies where people of different cultures can live together and build common ground.

I have deep B.C. roots, but I am a francophone Quebecer, and proud of it. Very proud. But I am most proud that my country not only grants me the freedom to be who I am, but values and honours my culture in a way that has created the conditions it needs to thrive.

We are all richer for it.

Au Québec, je sais que certains mettent en opposition la dualité linguistique et le multiculturalisme, que certains voient dans le multiculturalisme—ou ce que plusieurs appellent l’interculturalisme—une forme de négation de l’identité québécoise francophone.

En tout respect, je ne les vois pas en opposition, mais en complémentarité. C’est en grande partie grâce à notre dualité que nous avons pu devenir une société ou des gens de diverses cultures, origines et religions ont pu venir s’installer ici et se sentir chez eux.

Je dirai aussi ceci: En tant que francophones, plus notre culture et notre langue sera véhiculée, valorisée et promue à travers le monde par le rayonnement de nos romans, de nos films et de nos artistes, plus nous en serons riches, en tant que Canadiens, et fiers de l’idée même du Canada.

This model of Canadian liberty, of inclusive diversity, might indeed have been born of the need for two great cultures who had been historically at odds to make a new country together. However, informed by the peoples who had lived on this land for millennia, we have turned it into a model for how to make an unimaginably more diverse society harmonious.

And the world has noticed.

Mr. Harper has been busy trying to portray Canada as a fossil-fuel superpower. He chooses to ignore that the world has already recognized us as a constitutional superpower. Places as diverse as Israel, South Africa and Australia have consciously emulated our Charter of Rights and Freedoms in an effort to tackle some of the problems that we have dealt with better than any country on Earth.

As the Globe and Mail wrote back in 2012, on the Charter’s 30th birthday: “The Charter doesn’t belong to the Liberals or to Conservatives. It belongs to all Canadians—and, increasingly, to the world.”

Now, for obvious family reasons, I’m tempted to claim that the Charter is responsible for the idea of Canadian liberty I am describing tonight. And let there be no doubt: The Charter certainly expanded freedom for all Canadians.

We are all now free to marry whom we love, women are free to control their reproductive rights and, soon, we will be free to choose to die with dignity.

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms created the opportunity and the vehicle for Canadians to gain these new liberties for themselves. Heaven knows, it would have taken a lot longer to win those freedoms, had the effort been left in the hands of Parliament. More ominously, I shudder to think about what Mr. Harper’s government might have gotten away with, were the Charter not in place.

But I like to think what the Charter really does is hold us accountable to our best vision of ourselves. It requires Canadians to live up to our responsibilities to one another, and to Canada. In an ideal world, it wouldn’t be necessary, but, since we live in this one, we all should be deeply thankful we have it.

Which brings me to the third point I want to make tonight: that the Charter is the ultimate guarantee of Canadian liberty, but it’s not enough. It’s important to remember that the Charter itself was the product of political leadership. It had its opponents, still has its detractors, and we currently have a government that refuses to celebrate it.

It is also important to understand that the Charter might protect us from our government, but it doesn’t always protect us from each other. Canadian liberty might be protected by the Constitution, but it must be promoted by political leadership.

I want to tell you about someone. Her name is Rania El-Alloul, and she just endured something no Canadian ought to be put through.

Rania arrived in court in Quebec last month on a routine property matter. She is a single mom who is working hard to raise her kids. Like millions of women who face similar circumstances, she has a hard time making ends meet. She was petitioning the court for help.

Like a million other Canadians, Rania professes the Muslim faith. She presented herself to the court wearing a hijab, a headscarf very commonly worn by Muslim women, and women of other faiths, I might add. For her, it is an important part of her personal identity, and an expression of her religious liberty.

Imagine her shock when the presiding judge refused to hear her case unless she removed her headscarf. Not without reason, she said that order made her feel as if she were not Canadian.

Rania’s story is part of a troubling trend that Mr. Harper seems keen to accelerate and exploit.

Last year, after more than seven years of accepting the practice, his minister of immigration declared by fiat that women would no longer be able to wear a niqab during citizenship ceremonies. The federal court of appeal overturned the policy.

But a few weeks before Rania suffered her unjust indignity, Mr. Harper made an announcement at a campaign rally in Victoriaville, Que.

What did Mr. Harper say at this rally? Despite broad consensus that he has no reasonable chance of success, he announced that his government would appeal the decision, because he found the wearing of a niqab “offensive” and was convinced that most Canadians did, too.

Within hours of that rally, the Prime Minister’s party was using it as a fundraising pitch, declaring flatly, and I quote, that wearing a niqab is “not the way we do things here.” Within a week, I am sad to say that a distinguished graduate of McGill, Minister Chris Alexander, was declaring in the House of Commons that even Rania’s hijab represented an indefensible perversion of Canadian values.

As I said earlier, my friends, fear is a dangerous thing. Once stoked, whether by a judge from the bench or a Prime Minister with a dog whistle, there is no way to predict where it will end.

These are troubling times.

Across Canada and, especially, in my home province, Canadians are being encouraged by their government to be fearful of one another.

For me, this is both unconscionable and a real threat to Canadian liberty. For me, it is basic truth that prime ministers of liberal democracies ought not to be in the business of telling women what they can and cannot wear on their head during public ceremonies—least of all, this liberal democracy.

Cloaking an argument about what women can wear in the language of feminism has to be the most innovative perversion of liberty that conservatives have invented in a while. It is, of course, not the first time the most illiberal of ends has been packaged in the language of liberation.

You can dislike the niqab. You can hold it up it is a symbol of oppression. You can try to convince your fellow citizens that it is a choice they ought not to make.

This is a free country. Those are your rights.

But those who would use the state’s power to restrict women’s religious freedom and freedom of expression indulge the very same repressive impulse that they profess to condemn.

It is a cruel joke to claim you are liberating people from oppression by dictating in law what they can and cannot wear.

Whatever happened to a free society’s requirement that we can disagree with a person’s choices, but must defend their right to make them?

But what’s even worse than what they’re saying is what they really mean. We all know what is going on here. It is nothing less than an attempt to play on people’s fears and foster prejudice, directly toward the Muslim faith.

This is not the spirit of Canadian liberty, my friends. It is the spirit of the Komagata Maru. Of the St. Louis. Of “none is too many.”

Canada is where a million Muslims live and thrive in a free and open, secular democracy. The world needs more of that, not less of it.

Keeping these freedoms safe from those who would undermine them through violence is a vital national responsibility. It is both true and obvious that Canadian liberty cannot exist without collective security. As I learned at McGill many years ago, our social contract sometimes requires us to moderate our freedoms in order to ensure we maintain them in the long run. The ongoing question for democracies is how we strike the right balance. We will offer our answers to these questions as part of our national security policy in our election platform.

What we cannot ever do is blur the line between a real security threat and simple prejudice, as this government has done. I believe they have done it deliberately, and I believe what they have done is deeply wrong.

In defending Canada, we cannot allow ourselves to become less Canadian.

Ultimately, my friends, the antidote to repression is liberty.

It is this idea that will defeat terrorism and totalitarianism in the long run. It always has. The lethal enemies of terrorists and dictators are societies that are open, thriving and free—not just on paper, but in the streets.

Those of us lucky enough to benefit from Canadian liberty’s many blessings need to be strong and confident custodians of its character: inclusive freedom, expansive freedom. That is the Canadian idea of liberty: the idea that the liberty of all is enhanced when new freedoms are granted to individuals.

Nelson Mandela, honourary Canadian, who knew something about liberty and about being deprived of it, put it this way: “To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

Canadian liberty compels us to resist the urge to impose our personal beliefs upon our fellow citizens, but it is worth it because of what we get back in return. Because what we get back in return is Canada.


For the record: Justin Trudeau on liberty and the niqab

  1. I’m not sure why this is deemed “controversial”. This speech is exactly why I support Justin Trudeau, and am proud to do so.

  2. Over all, a very good speech. Though in some ways the ideals expressed do not match Trudeau’s actions.

    First, as he brought it up again: His choice not to allow as candidates anyone who is anti-abortion. The right approach would have been to set a policy whereby any Liberal MP who breaks rank and votes for a law that would restrict abortion would be removed from caucus.

    His present policy excludes people because they think differently from him on one issue, but who may have a lot to contribute in many other ways. This, to me, clearly contravenes his own policy to be inclusive and to welcome diversity. At its heart, it is no different from the CPC’s stance on the niqab; it excludes someone on the basis of one “visible” difference. I’m personally pro-choice, but I have a very hard time reconciling Trudeau’s words and actions here.

    Similarly, and currently far more troubling, is Trudeau’s continued support of Bill C-51. He talks here about the importance of liberty, and of not taking backward steps because they are popular – and yet he supports a Bill which, as currently drafted, has the potential to take away liberty.

    One has to assume this support is based on the polling numbers – because it clearly runs counter to the main thrust of his speech.

    He tries here to pussy-foot around this here and justify his actions, but his sophistry doesn’t cut it with me.

    The core ideals expressed are ones I believe in. If Trudeau wants my support, though, his actions need to match these ideals.

    • What you say he “should” do on abortion is what he has done. In any event, saying he should allow for diverse opinions on whether people should have fundamental rights is something I disagree with. You and I have been over this before so I will leave it there.

      What is of the greatest concern to me is the racism that is currently permeating political discussion. Harper’s position on banning the niqab during the citizenship oath is racism, plain and simple. Trudeau is the only one who is calling him out on that. I hope Mulcair does too, but he may be hamstrung by the fact his base in Quebec largely agrees with Harper.

      I don’t know where you stand on that, but if you agree this is fear mongering and racist, I hope you look at Mulcair’s position on this as critically as Trudeau’s on C15.

      • [I’m hesitant to go off on a tangent on this, but here goes]

        Is abortion on demand for any reason at any point in pregnancy a fundamental right? Just about every liberal democracy in Europe (as well as the US) allows abortion on demand for any reason for the first X (usually 12 to 20) weeks of pregnancy, and thereafter with restrictions. In my mind this is perfectly reasonable (for a number of reasons). And, it’s also the position of a significant percentage of Canadians if polls can be believed. However, Trudeau’s policy, as I understand it, would exclude people who think this way, and that just seems incredibly short-cited.

        AFAICT, most people’s position on abortion does not fall into one of the 2 extreme ends of the continuum, and recognizing the legitimacy of at least some of the positions that fall in between the 2 ends would demonstrate that Trudeau is able to see past this particular version of the classic either-or fallacy.

        • Yes. Don’t exactly know exactly you’re asking, but generally the limit on abortion is 20 wks. and women are counselled as such when making their decision. After 20 wks. an abortion would occur if the woman’s life were at risk or if the fetus died or had a severe abnormality where it wouldn’t survive beyond birth. I’ve never heard of a woman requesting an abortion at say 30 or 35 weeks. That would be called a delivery.

          • Unlike Canada, the other liberal democracies have laws that codify the 12 to 20 weeks threshold.

            And, as I understand it, Trudeau’s position leaves no room for those who think the other liberal democracies have it right.

          • Don’t know where you’re getting 12-20 from. Abortions start as soon as a fetus is visible on ultrasound, usually at around 5 and a half weeks. Still don’t know what you’re getting at, but sounds like you may be buying into the right-wing anti-choice rhetoric. Bottom line, it’s a woman’s body and she makes the decision.

          • As stated in my previous post, up to between 12 and 20 weeks is when liberal democracies in Europe (and the US) allow abortion on demand for any reason. After that it comes with restrictions. This is codified in law.

            If that’s “buying into the right-wing anti-choice rhetoric”, then Norway, Sweden, France, the UK, etc, etc, etc have bought in hook, line, and sinker, leaving only Canada as not being anti-choice.

            Like I said before: either-or fallacy.

          • Yes, and we have the same “restrictions” as I mentioned before, so we’re really exactly the same as the other liberal democracies that you’ve mentioned, and this is why I don’t get your point. The right-wing rhetoric suggests that there are a significant number of women simply demanding an abortion past the 20 wk threshold and this is simply not the case and quite insulting. If women’s groups aren’t concerned about JT’s requirement that all members of the liberal party are pro-choice, then neither should you be.

          • The other liberal democracies have codified this into law – Canada hasn’t. That would be the difference. So it’s *not* the case that Canada is “exactly the same as the other liberal democracies”.

            To reiterate, if codifying this into law makes one a right-wing dupe, then Sweden, Norway, etc are all right-wing dupes. Not bad company to be keeping.

            BTW, I will indeed be concerned about what I want to be concerned about, when I want to. For some odd reason I just don’t listen to people telling me that I shouldn’t be concerned about something. If anything, it has the (admittedly possibly irrational) result of making me more concerned.

            Having said that, the *only* reason I chimed in on this is because Trudeau’s abortion policy came up, and it’s apparently along the lines of “you’re either with us, or you’re against us”. AFAICT in crude terms his policy boils down to you either support the legislative vacuum that currently exists or you’re a right-wing, anti-choice knuckle dragger. If I’ve properly characterized his position it’s incredibly short-cited, if not downright moronic. It’s reminiscent of Vic Teows’ equally moronic view that you either support the CPC’s proposed (and flawed) surveillance law or you’re with the child pornographers.

          • “The other liberal democracies have codified this into law – Canada hasn’t. That would be the difference.”

            Irrelevant. There is no need for a law to prevent something that does not happen.

          • @Kath Siriusly(not)

            How does having a law that codifies the current situation that you yourself describe above (abortion on demand for up to 20 weeks, with restrictions thereafter) in any way whatsoever infringe on a woman’s right to choose?

        • Once, you can get away, maybe. Twice, not so much. Should be “short-sighted”, not “short-cited”. My bad.

          • Whether or not the law is codified, the results are the same. Women have access to safe, legal abortion. BTW, I worked in a BC/abortion clinic for 15 yrs, I know of what I speak. Saying you’re either for women’s rights or you’re not, cannot be compared to a surveillance law. Sorry, not even close. There’s nothing wrong with JT setting the tone that the abortion issue is done and buried; it IS a fundamental human right for women and if you don’t agree with that, then you’re not welcome in the liberal party. I applaud him for doing so. What’s moronic is that every politician isn’t made to swear an oath to support human rights, including women’s. And, yes, if you can’t just put abortion out of your mind and leave the issue and resulting decision to the women with unplanned pregnancies, then you may very well be a right-wing, anti-choice knuckle dragger.

          • [repeat of response that ended up in the wrong position]

            @Kath Siriusly(not)

            How does having a law that codifies the current situation that you yourself describe above (abortion on demand for up to 20 weeks, with restrictions thereafter) in any way whatsoever infringe on a woman’s right to choose?

          • I will help you. We do not “agree or disagree” because your question is silly. It is irrelevant. It is like saying we should make it criminal if we do not breath when we have lungs, or if we do not see when we have eyes. In the same way we do not require legislation to force a father to donate blood to save his dying child.

            Which, of course, is what you are doing in order to avoid dealing with the actual issue, which is that YOU want to put restrictions on abortion, because YOU obviously believe they are necessary. And your repeated refusal to address that by demanding that I address your irrelevant questions simply demonstrates I am correct about that.

            Finally, I actually did answer your question. You just do not like it.

        • A woman’s right to control her own body is a Charter right.

          • 7. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.

            This is, I presume, the Charter right to which you refer. Pro-choicers argue is applies from conception, not birth. …and the right not to be deprived thereof…

            Law, and its interpretation, is not immutable. Not trying to reopen the whole debate here; just pointing out there is legitimately more than one side, and as another commenter points out above JT sounds a lot like Toews on this issue.

          • If you are aware of recent jurisprudence on the interpretation of s. 7, then you will be aware that it is pretty much settled law that people have control over their own bodies. That is why legal experts say this falls within s. 7, and, presumably, why Trudeau has drawn his line in the sand.

          • “A woman’s right to control her own body is a Charter right.”

            2 points (one short, one longer):

            1) If current practice w.r.t. abortion is Charter compliant, then a law codifying current practice would also be Charter compliant. Agree or disagree?

            2) Charter rights are not absolute. Therefore the right to control one’s own body is not absolute. There are numerous examples in law which demonstrate that a woman (or man) does not have absolute control over their own body.
            – The law does not allow a woman (or man) to consume whatever recreational drug they may desire.
            – The law does not allow a woman (or man) to sell a kidney.
            – The law does not allow a woman to rent out her womb.
            – The law does not, for all intents and purposes, allow a woman (or man) to exchange sex for money.
            – The law does not allow a woman (or man) to pay to have timely medical treatment.
            – The law does permit the government to institute a draft and send a man’s body overseas to fight in a war. Presumably, this would also apply to a woman in this day and age.
            – The law does allow the government to incarcerate a woman (or man).

            If the right to control one’s own body were truly, 100% absolute, then none of the above would be allowed. Now some of the above may not survive a Charter challenge, but certainly some would (e.g. disallowing arbitrary recreational drugs, incarceration of convicted criminals).

          • @Gayle1

            Trudeau’s line in the sand apparently excludes people who believe current practice is acceptable in result, but would like to see it codified. I can’t help but find his position illogical (to put it politely).

          • 1. Irrelevant. No need for a law when it does not happen. You are flogging a dead horse.

            2. There is no law against paying for sex. There is nothing preventing women from carrying a surrogate child (though they cannot charge for it). The law allows kidney donation and other organ donation (the issue is not whether they have a right to donate kidneys, but rather whether they should profit from it – totally different thing when it comes to s. 7). People pay for medical treatment all the time – though not for all medical treatment.

            You know what else the law does not allow? It does not allow us to force a father to donate organs, or even blood, to his child to save his life. If you want to use analogies, maybe try one that is relevant.

            In any event, no one said it was “absolute”. I did say, however, that the Charter protects women who want to make fundamental choices about their own body. In the same way it protects men from being forced to donate blood, or organs, to save lives.

            Imagine what a better country this would be if we could force people to donate blood…

          • @Gayle1

            You seem to be saying that a law based on current practice would make no practical difference. Is that correct? If so, I’d say again that it is thus illogical for Trudeau to exclude people who support such a law. I can’t see the rationale for his position, and if you can, kindly explain.

          • Because a woman’s right to choose is a core liberal value. JT is spelling that out. Those who do not agree are not welcome. What don’t you understand?

          • What Kath said.

            Why do you want a law that you do not need?

          • @Gayle1

            Before I respond to your question, can you respond to my request for rationalization of Trudeau’s position? Repeated below:

            You seem to be saying that a law based on current practice would make no practical difference. Is that correct? If so, I’d say again that it is thus illogical for Trudeau to exclude people who support such a law. I can’t see the rationale for his position, and if you can, kindly explain.

          • [one more try at getting this response in the right position]

            @Kath Siriusly(not)

            How does having a law that codifies the current situation that you yourself describe above (abortion on demand for up to 20 weeks, with restrictions thereafter) in any way whatsoever infringe on a woman’s right to choose?

          • @Jim R

            I think the question you should be asking is, why the issues pertaining to a legal medical procedure, one of which you will never need, continue to irk you. Have a nice cup of tea, take a chill pill, and leave the worrying to the women involved.

          • @Kath Siriusly(not)

            They don’t irk me. In fact when it comes to deciding who to vote for, they rank sufficiently far down the priority list to be just noise. Chill enough for you?

            However, your deflection in answering a very straightforward question is bewildering.

          • “Before I respond to your question, can you respond to my request for rationalization of Trudeau’s position? ”

            I did answer. I agreed with Kath when she said:

            “Because a woman’s right to choose is a core liberal value. JT is spelling that out. Those who do not agree are not welcome. What don’t you understand?”

          • @Gayle1

            That might be a response, but it’s not a response to what I was asking.

            So let’s try it a different way.

            1) Codifying current practice into law makes no practical difference. Agree or disagree?
            2) Trudeau’s position is that anyone who doesn’t agree with the status quo is not welcome? Agree or disagree?
            3) If one accepts #1 and #2, then Trudeau’s position is illogical because it excludes people solely because they would support an abortion law that would make no practical difference. Agree or disagree?

            Now why exactly is Trudeau not being illogical (and needlessly limiting) in his position?

            And since you brought up Kath Siriusly(not)’s response, I’ll ask you the same thing I asked her:

            How does having a law that codifies the current situation (abortion on demand for up to 20 weeks, with restrictions thereafter) in any way whatsoever infringe on a woman’s right to choose?

          • Sorry for the repeat, but I posted my original answer in the wrong place.

            In response to Jim:

            I will help you. We do not “agree or disagree” because your question is silly. It is irrelevant. It is like saying we should make it criminal if we do not breath when we have lungs, or if we do not see when we have eyes. In the same way we do not require legislation to force a father to donate blood to save his dying child.

            Which, of course, is what you are doing in order to avoid dealing with the actual issue, which is that YOU want to put restrictions on abortion, because YOU obviously believe they are necessary. And your repeated refusal to address that by demanding that I address your irrelevant questions simply demonstrates I am correct about that.

            I do not answer your irrelevant questions because doing so would give them credence, and I refuse to do that.

          • @Gayle1

            I honestly have no clue what you’re saying from the 4th sentence on:
            “I will help you. We do not “agree or disagree” because your question is silly. It is irrelevant. It is like saying we should make it criminal if we do not breath when we have lungs, or if we do not see when we have eyes. In the same way we do not require legislation to force a father to donate blood to save his dying child.”

            What I presented to you was extraordinarily straightforward and hardly irrelevant. You have refused to respond. One can make of that what one wants.

            However, you don’t stop there and instead attempt to put words in my mouth.

            So, even though you have explicitly refused to respond to me, I will nonetheless respond to you.

            I think a law that codifies something approximating the current practice is beneficial to have because:
            1) It aligns Canada’s position with that of the other liberal democracies (Sweden, Norway, the UK, etc). Is Canada right and every single other liberal democracy wrong? Possibly, but highly unlikely given that Canada is the only outlier.
            2) It brings absolute clarity and rigour to the issue which is currently lacking as far as I can see. E.g., is abortion on demand currently guaranteed to every woman in every province for the first, say, 20 weeks? If so, where does it say that? Make a law that says so, and it is.
            3) It ties up the loose end that was left by Parliament when it was unable to come up with a consensus on a new law after the Supreme Court struck down the old law and explicitly invited Parliament to come up with a new law.

            That’s why I think it would be beneficial to have a law that approximates the current situation.

            Now, you tell me that “YOU want to put restrictions on abortion, because YOU obviously believe they are necessary”. And I respond that the only way that that is not a mischaracterization (intentional or not) of my position is if you believe that codifying existing practice, or something very similar to it, into law (i.e. abortion on demand for the first X weeks, with restrictions thereafter) is putting a new restriction on abortion. So again I ask (likely in vain), how is a law that codifies current practice putting a restriction on abortion, or taking away a woman’s right to choose?

          • There is only one reason to codify current practice (and by “practice” I am referring to the fact that doctors have their own regulations and ethical practice around this issue) and that is because you believe that there are women who will have late term abortions without legislating against it. And that simply does not happen.

            The fact you see the need to legislate on this is profoundly condescending and insulting to women. It suggests they cannot be trusted not to change their minds, say, 6 months into their pregnancy, and decide having a baby is too inconvenient so they may as well have an abortion. The fact that this does not happen is reason enough not to legislate against it happening.

            The people who should be making these decisions are the pregnant woman and her doctor.

            Justin Trudeau knows this. He trusts and respects women. You could learn from him.

            (Oh, and your suggestion that we should have a law because Sweden does only matters if you think it is somehow important that we do what Sweden does. Do you think all the other liberal democracies in the world get together and make fun of Canada because we don’t?)

      • What you say he “should” do on abortion is what he has done.

        Not unless he has recently softened his policy. My understanding is that anyone who expresses a pro-life view is banned from running from the party. Regardless of their views on any other issue. Which is throwing out the baby with the bath water, given how unlikely it is in this country that we’ll see an abortion law make its way to a vote within the foreseeable future. So a candidate’s view on abortion is pretty much a moot point – except, possibly, as a way to score points with the pro-choice camp, as Trudeau is clearly trying to do. In my case, it backfired.

        I agree with you on the religious bigotry issue (not racism as Muslims come in all colours). I have to confess that I’m somewhat baffled as to why someone whose religious views are so at odds with the surrounding society would choose to live here in the first place, but unless they try to impose their views on me then so be it.

        (I do think there are some very limited circumstances where the niqab should be removed – to prove identity, where that’s essential, and perhaps to testify in court [I’m of two minds on the latter; facial expression can be a very important indicator in trying to determine if someone is being truthful, and also there is a societal suspicion against one who hides one’s face that therefore may be detrimental to the niqab wearer when testifying in a jury trial – but conversely the discomfort at removing it may mean a wearer may avoid our courts and thus be denied justice in order to abide by her beliefs. Not sure how to reconcile these concerns.].)

        The hijab nonsense in the CQ was pure, unadulterated bigotry, though; the judge should be required to recuse herself from all cases involving Muslims.

        Yes, I would like to hear Mulcair’s take on this issue. But Trudeau’s nay-saying about the politics of fear while simultaneously supporting C-51 is a case of not walking the talk. The dissonance is worrying, as it seems almost Harper-like.

          • Do you have a link to Liberal policy on this? JT was very explicit for days prior to this “clarification” and I’ve seen stories since this one which still indicate anyone expressing pro-life views are absolutely barred from candidacy. Only exceptions I know are for incumbents who have been “grandfathered”.

      • Oh, and I forgot – you mention rights, and Trudeau goes on about the Charter above, so let me remind you about Section 2:

        2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

        (a) freedom of conscience and religion;

        (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression…

        Many people who oppose abortion do so on religious grounds. So you and JT are happy to actually infringe on another’s Charter rights (it’s not truly a breach, but it is definitely a violation in spirit) and bar that person from running for the LPC, in order to prevent a theoretical action that person might take in an outlier hypothetical future.

        You see the hole in that logic? Big enough to drive a semi through…

        • It is not a breach of a Charter right to prevent an elected MP from voting to violate someone’s Charter rights. In the balance between religious freedom and the right to bodily integrity, the latter will always win.

          • Notice I specifically said “infringe” and “violation in spirit”. Glad you acknowledge the LPC’s valuation of the Charter right of religious freedom is dependent on whether or not votes may attach (Muslim dress versus religious views on abortion).

            You can’t both be inclusive and exclusive simultaneously. But apparently some in the LPC think they can fool people into believing it’s possible.

            I’ll need to see LPC policy that clearly shows JT has backed off from his stance – not just Wherry’s story linked to above – before I’ll believe that pro-lifers are now allowed to run under their banner.

          • “Glad you acknowledge the LPC’s valuation of the Charter right of religious freedom is dependent on whether or not votes may attach (Muslim dress versus religious views on abortion).”

            I don’t know what you are talking about here. I am not talking about the liberals, I am talking about the law. And the law will always enforce rights to bodily integrity over rights to religious beliefs, as we have seen time and time again. My support for what Trudeau is saying is based on the fact he is in alignment with the law.

          • I am not talking about the liberals, I am talking about the law.

            Well Gayle, I am talking about the Liberals, and in particular, JT’s willingness to ignore the principles expressed in s. 2 of the Charter, on the one hand (“If you want to run, don’t talk abortion if your views differ from mine – I don’t care about your religious views or your right to express them”) and, on the other hand, to hold up the very same section as a shining beacon to strike down the dark forces of the CPC and their stance on wearing the niqab.

            It’s a cynical, hypocritical attempt at vote-grabbing.

            Re JT’s “in alignment with the law” – with abortion law, yes. With the spirit and intent (as opposed to the letter) of s. 2 of the Charter: Only when he feels like it.

          • Well clearly your comment that I replied to was incorrect, so perhaps you can retract it?

            I am really not interested in whether or not you think taking a position that favours the balance of bodily integrity over freedom of religion is contradictory. Of course there are contradictions, but here Trudeau is balancing this in favour of bodily integrity, which is consistent with the law. I would also expect him to deny anyone from running as a LPC MP who wants to vote for legislation forcing women to wear a niqab at all times when out of the house.

            I see this bothers you, so you will have to sort this out for yourself. I am not going to defend myself or the LPC position on this to you anymore. Coincidentally, I believe the LPC position is consistent with that of the NDP, so if this is a big issue for you I think you may have to go back to voting conservative. At a minimum, since you are all for consistency, I would expect you to hold the NDP to the same standard you purport to hold the LPC.

            I have linked to an article that confirms what I have been saying about their position on candidates views on abortion. You claim to not accept this, but also have not sourced any information subsequent to this that would suggest this is incorrect. I realize it is convenient for your arguments to disregard this information, but I do not. Further, I do not care. I would be perfectly happy if anti choice candidates were barred from running, in the same way, as I state above, that I would be perfectly happy to see candidates who want to force all women to wear a niqab from running.

          • Sorry – I don’t follow. In what respect was it wrong? Seems more likely to me the flaw is in your understanding, as I have been consistent in what I’ve been saying.

          • You suggested I “acknowledge” your interpretation as being correct, and I do not.

      • ? Racism ? and here we thought we were talking about religion, and religious symbols.
        Anti_ semitism, or hating Jews. The Liberal Party owns that, I am glad that Cotler finally got his act together. PET , JTś father, was a blatant anti semite.

  3. I still say Trudeau is the only one of these 3 parties who will defend our charter, while the dippers and the cons either want to challenge it, or rip it apart. Tom wants to abolish the senate, also wants to challenge the clarity act, and Harper, if re-elected will try to re-open the charter in order to have our judges tossed from the SCC and have them elected, instead of the status quo right now in Canada. That’s why we have one of the best court systems in the world, because of its independence from politics. Liberals are a policy party that believes in peoples right to choose how they want to live, not by the ten commandments, and my favorite, the right to die with dignity.

  4. For the record, all those NDP and Green Party supporters who just loathe Mr. Harper and want him tossed from 24 Sussex Drive and kicked to the curb, I suggest you not vote for your respective parties, or you just might find yourselves with another 5 years of Harper. I know both the dippers and the greens are not happy with Trudeau from reading most of the comments I read, but in order to make your wish come true in October, your going to have to put your differences behind you and vote liberal, or settle for another 5 years of Harper.

    • Some of us liberals aren’t too thrilled with JT lately either. Right now, I’m more likely to vote NDP federally for the first time, after years of mostly voting LPC (with a couple of votes having gone to the PCs along the way).

      • Fair enough.
        But think long and hard about another term with Harper

    • If I want to elect someone who runs this country exactly how I want it run, I’m going to have to vote for myself! However, since I’m not running I am going to have to find compromises somewhere. For me, voting for Mulcair is to much a compromise. Maybe if they had elected someone else, but I just see him as a left wing Harper. So it’s Trudeau for me. This speech just makes me more confident in that choice.

  5. Trudeau is an idiot who is pandering for the idiot vote and the muslim vote.

    Why are we even letting people who wear a niqab immigrate here? Oh right, to purchase liberal votes and provide cheap labour for corporations.

    • As per Jason Kenny – Conservative govt has admitted over 300,000 Muslim immigrants since 2006

      So who is pandering for Muslim Vote

    • If he’s pandering to the idiot vote then I guess he’s got yours all sewn up! For the past nine years, it’s the CPC who have been letting them in… and I doubt Harper is trying to purchase votes for the Liberals.

    • As an ape, you’re definitely average. And as a con-troll bot, your comment is square on the party racist line. Where did your family emigrate from? Do you think you’re now superior? Well, ape man – it most assuredly does not.

    • “Why are we even letting people who wear a niqab immigrate here?”

      Quite right. We should force them to remain in countries where they are oppressed and have no freedoms at all.

  6. I believe that, once again, there is a misunderstanding here. The niqab is a full face covering, and the hijab is just a head scarf (and a burka is a full body covering). I think that the foreign word ‘hijab’ should be removed from our speech and replaced by the quite acceptable English word ‘scarf’. Mr. Trudeau didn’t comment about the wearing of a ‘niqab’ (or burka) when identification and security is important, e.g., in courts of law and citizenship. That is the serious question. But the Quebec Muslim woman that he mentioned only wore an acceptable ‘head scarf’… at least, that is acceptable to me.

  7. I wonder if Mr. Trudeau use of the word ‘inclusive’ has the same meaning as assimilation’?

  8. As a lifelong liberal, I had been hoping for a long time that Justin would enter the political arena and, reading his speech, I am very happy he did. But there is one issue which troubles me and it is his stance on the niqab. I am not anti-muslim, I am anti-religious, because I am atheist. That being said, I do believe in religious freedom. I am quite happy living amongst people of all different colours and cultures. But the niqab is something quite different. The niqab is not just muslim, it represents sharia, and sharia is in opposition to every single Canadian value we hold dear. To deny this is disingenuous or naïve. So I do have a problem with a woman who refuses to show her face during a citizenship oath because, to me, it is a slap in the face of our liberal values. That does not make me racist or fearful of muslims.

  9. Trudeau allows for freedom of religion when it comes to the niqab but when it comes to abortion, you have to be pro abortion or you cannot join the the liberal party…strange what religious beliefs he will go along with

    • Not even in the same realm. My Charter rights are not impacted by someone else wearing a niqab when she swears a citizenship oath. They are, however, impacted when YOU decide that I have to carry a baby to term.

    • Also, he never says that anti choice sentiments are not welcome in the liberal party. He said they would have to vote for a woman’s right to choose no matter what their personal opinion is on the subject.

      But hey, making stuff up makes your argument easier I suppose.

      • …he never says that anti choice sentiments are not welcome in the liberal party.

        Yes he did – at least not as candidates. You claim he has now backed off from this (I still want to see that stated in official LPC policy somewhere; I’m not convinced the policy has changed) but he most definitely did say, initially at least, that anyone expressing pro-life views would not be eligible to be a candidate.

        In fact, I’m pretty sure you and I argued at the time about how this was bad policy [my viewpoint; you were in favour] because it may eliminate people who, on all other issues, may be in agreement with the LPC platform and who would otherwise make good candidates.

        • I do think it is excellent policy, and I frankly hope I am wrong that he has backed off from this (though the latest information shows that he has).

    • That’s because when it comes to abortion rights you are essentially telling others who might not necessarily share your beliefs on the issue what they can and cannot do with their bodies. It’s not the case with the niqab or with any other garment.

      It would be a valid comparison if there was a movement in Canada that was trying to make all women in Canada to wear a niquab, but last time I checked there isn’t one (no serious ones at least).

      So if you want an abortion, get one, if you don’t want one, don’t get one, and if you want no one to get an abortion don’t vote Liberal, it’s as simple as that. If you want to wear a niqab you can wear one, if you don’t want to wear one, don’t. Welcome to liberty!

      • Charter, s. 2:
        2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

        (a) freedom of conscience and religion;

        (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression…

        The issue isn’t abortion per se; it’s about Trudeau’s suppression of a person’s religion [s. 2(a)] and their expression of their thoughts and beliefs [s. 2(b)] within his party. First he declares himself the champion of the Charter; then he says if you don’t agree with me on the abortion issue, forget running under my banner [I’m paraphrasing].

        There’s no way in hell any party is going to put forth an anti-abortion bill – so a candidate’s view on this issue is a moot one. Thus, the only real reason for barring someone based on their view of abortion is to score political points.

        In doing so, he is saying “If you want to be part of my team, hope you don’t mind ignoring s. 2 of the Charter, ’cause you have to check your religion and freedom of expression at the door.”

        Which is pretty much the polar opposite of his statements regarding Muslim garments.

        Hence the references a number of us are making to his being hypocritical: freedom of religion is good when it scores him political points, and bad when it doesn’t. Captain Charter is playing fast and loose with s. 2.

        Gayle, above, claims Trudeau has softened his stance and is now allowing candidates who profess pro-life views (as long as they promise to vote along party lines in the highly improbable case that a vote ever comes along). I’d be very interested in seeing official LPC policy on that, if anyone can produce it.

        • “There’s no way in hell any party is going to put forth an anti-abortion bill – so a candidate’s view on this issue is a moot one.”

          Well, since a few conservative MP’s have supported private bills that at least indirectly deal with this, I suspect that a liberal minority government may have to face an opposition bill on this point – perhaps one that is attempting to demonstrate divisions within the liberal party?

          • Political parties of all stripes have been dodging their responsibility to legislate on the issue for thirty years now. It. Ain’t. Gonna. Happen.

            Though I’d prefer it if Trudeau actually did have a plan to pass a law on abortion rights rather than simply ducking and hiding like all his predecessors.

            Though I have to say – I’m really surprised how this one topic has dominated this discussion board. I really thought the bulk of the discussion would be about how he talks about liberty while planning to vote with the CPC on Bill C-51. With one foot on each side, it’s gonna hurt when he slips and that fence slams into his crotch.

            [If he can make dick jokes, I can make dick jokes about his position.]

          • Well you can always vote for Thomas Mulcair. He is completely consistent on everything.

            Oh wait…

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