Two days after Patrick Brown was elected leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party, an article on Canada’s biggest pro-life news site declared: “Brown’s landslide win…bodes well for life-and-family voters.”
The LifeSiteNews piece highlighted how Canada’s biggest pro-life lobby group, the Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), played a key role in Brown’s victory. CLC Toronto’s vice-chair Jeff Gunnarson was “very pleased with the efforts of staff, volunteers and supporters who rolled up their sleeves and went to work on this leadership campaign…” He estimated that approximately 20 percent of Brown’s vote total came from CLC supporters and he sent out his “heartfelt congratulations to Patrick and to all of our people for a job well done!”
Why was the CLC eager to support Brown? Because, by their measure, Brown had a 100 percent pro-life voting record during his three terms as a Member of Parliament. He had something that very few other political candidates possess: a history of voting the right way.
But there was just one problem. In September, at the kickoff for his leadership campaign, Brown pulled a page out of the Stephen Harper playbook. He promised he “would not change the status quo” on abortion rights and would “oppose any efforts to do so.”
Lest there be any confusion on this point, the status quo for abortion in Canada is that unborn children can be killed at any time, and for any reason, and the government will pay for it.
Brown might have a pro-life record, but he’s promised that if it is up to him Ontario will have a pro-choice future.
That’s not all.
It gets worse. Brown’s opponents and the media (did I just stutter?) will use his pro-life record to paint him as a radical social conservative. If he doesn’t want this label to stick he’s going to have to run from his record. He’ll have to be consistently callous, spurning anything that might do even a hint of good for the unborn.
We can see this already happening. On the day of his victory he was asked about his parliamentary votes by both CBC News and Global News, and asked about them again two days later in an interview with the Toronto Sun. He repeated his pro-choice pledge again and again and again: “We are not going to revisit [the abortion] issue. It will not be part of my platform.”
Despite the impression that LifeSiteNews gave its readers, and Campaign Life Coalition gave their supporters, the unborn will not benefit from Brown’s leadership.
A better sort
It’s mystifying as to how the CLC and LifeSiteNews could be so wrong about Patrick Brown. One takeaway is that even the best new sources, and even the most reliable organizations, can get things horribly wrong.
The bigger lesson is that we should never let desperation drive us to delusion. Principled politicians are rare, but it does the unborn no good to rally around a Patrick Brown sort. No champion at all is better than one who believes his political ambitions are more important than unborn children’s lives.
The fact is, while rare, principled politicians do exist. There really are men and women out there eager and able to explain to the muddled masses why the unborn are as precious as the rest of us. They understand that God would rather they speak for the oppressed even if it means they lose, than win by staying silent.
Our job is to search for these special sorts. When we find them we need to support them with our money and our time. Ideally we’d all have one in our riding, but they aren’t yet as numerous as that. We may need to drive a couple ridings over to volunteer for one of these faithful few. Or if there’s no one nearby, we can still send money. And if in the whole width and breadth of this country no one can be found worth supporting, then the need is clear. If we can’t find one, we need to become one. Better to stammer out the truth ourselves than to throw our support behind false hopes like Patrick Brown.