Why one Canadian is joining the Tories—in protest - Macleans.ca
 

Why one Canadian is joining the Tories—in protest

A progressive doctor explains why Kellie Leitch’s extreme policy positions have turned apathy into panic


 
Labour Minister Kellie Leitch answers a question during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Thursday, June 4, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Labour Minister Kellie Leitch answers a question during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Thursday, June 4, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

This post, by Harleen Toor, first appeared at Chatelaine.com.

I don’t consider myself a political person. Sure, I always vote. I support Canada’s decision to accept over 36,000 Syrian refugees, am sure climate change is real and that the government has a role in promoting economic prosperity. But have I contributed publicly to political discourse? Nope. Instead, I chat affably about it at dinner parties and during lulls in my clinic while I’m working walk-in shifts as a family physician.

But something changed on Nov. 9. While Donald Trump’s victory may have seemed like something distant and representative of a country’s values that were far removed from Canada, it was something closer to home that really alarmed me. Kellie Leitch, candidate for leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, sent an email to supporters after Trump’s win. In her message, she applauded him and with that endorsement, the bigotry, narrow-mindedness and divisiveness he espouses. And that’s what pushed me to look into joining the Conservative Party.

To be clear, my political views lie quite firmly in the progressive camp. But in that moment I felt I had a job to do.

MORE: Dissent—and support—grows in Kellie Leitch’s riding

This wasn’t first time I had come across Kellie Leitch. As a family physician completing a palliative care fellowship in Toronto, I had colleagues who were taught by Leitch, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. And it wasn’t the first time her politics irked me.

When she declared her pro-life stance, I shuddered to think of the threat to the wellbeing of my patients should their reproductive rights be limited or denied. I feel strongly that physicians have a responsibility to protect their patients, but I did nothing to actively oppose her words. I rolled my eyes when she voted against the right to physician-assisted death, and although it was a vote that directly related to my professional practice, my concern still failed to translate into meaningful action. As the daughter of immigrants, I shook my head and grimaced over her statements on screening newcomers for “anti-Canadian values” in early September. But then I continued on with my day. I couldn’t imagine Leitch would get very far—despite the attention these stunts got and that her campaign manager’s CV includes Rob Ford victories. I thought the noise Leitch was making was more tiresome than worrisome.

MORE: How Kellie Leitch touched off a culture war

That apathy transformed into panic on Nov. 9. If another country could elect someone who will not just halt but reverse advances in health care, women’s and LGBTQ2 rights, then maybe my country could too. Since the U.S. election, Leitch has promised to legalize pepper spray as a way to prevent violence against women, “lock up” activists and protesters and, in the face of a climate crisis, would reverse a national carbon tax if it were introduced.

I want to continue to be a Canadian doctor who has the resources and systemic supports to advocate for all my patients, a Torontonian who is enriched by the diversity of my community and a woman who has the freedom to choose. These are my values, and I don’t want to take a chance with them.

That’s why I’m joining the Conservative Party—to vote unrepentantly against Kellie Leitch as leader of the party in May. To recognize that all citizens have a responsibility to build a country that we invest in and which has invested in us. For $15, I can cast a vote for someone without toxic and divisive values, hopefully preventing permanent damage to our country.

This piece is part of Choices, a series exploring real-life choices women make—big or small, good or bad—and how they impact their lives. Read Chatelaine‘s submission guidelines here


 

Why one Canadian is joining the Tories—in protest

  1. Actually the Libs are hoping Leitch wins……..then the Libs are guaranteed another term.

    • I have done the same thing, for the same reason, supporting Michael Chong

  2. So basically the editor does not believe in democracy..

    • Well Leitch certainly doesn’t.

      • If she becomes P.M. (Just saying) then, you’ll say that there’s no democracy in Canada?

    • How do you figure that? She is actually vigorously embracing democracy, by joining a party and making her views known within that party. And by voting in their leadership race.

      If you’re saying that’s wrong, then you have a pretty odd view of what a democracy actually is.

  3. Anyone who endorses bigotry, an economy that exempts its corporate elites from paying their fair share of taxes, the removal of personal rights and freedoms, and the reversal of much needed environmental initiatives, not only violates all that Canada stands for, but sends a very dark message to anyone who understand some clear differences between right and wrong! Kellie Leitch fits the description like a glove and as such does not deserve any leadership position, let alone the position she currently holds!!

    • Erik. You are unfortunately pandering to the media. The media relies on low-information people to disperse their scare tactics. Use some discernment for goodness sake. There’s just as much bigotry coming from the Liberals as there is from the Conservatives.

      Please recognize the play on words from the media. A perfect example was the Zimmerman case. The media of course called Zimmerman White — and than after much criticism the media finally relented — admitted he was biracial and called him White-Hispanic. However, this is the same media that calls Obama the first Black President. Yet Obama is biracial as well. Have you ever heard the media call Obama White-Black? As in the first White-Black President? No — of course not. Why such obvious bias? The answer is that the media relies on low information people to not use their brains. Again, Erik please use your discernment and call out the media on their obvious bias.