Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was quick to fire back in response to Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer’s attempt to put a pin in a controversial speech, from 14 years ago, that shows the head Conservative speaking against same-sex marriage.
Scheer told reporters that while ihe has no plans to reopen debates on abortion or same-sex marriage, Conservative MPs are allowed to hold their own beliefs and did not explicitly rule out allowing private members’ bills that may touch on these kinds of social issues.
Instead, he suggested they would not be welcome.
“A Conservative government will not reopen this issue, and I as prime minister will oppose measures that reopen this issue,” he said.
Trudeau called for Scheer be far firmer with his MPs during an event in Surrey on Thursday. He pointed out that in the Liberal party, MPs are required to be unequivocally in favour of what Trudeau framed as “women’s rights.”
“Canada includes everyone and leaders need to defend everyone, particularly people who’ve been marginalized. It’s not enough to reluctantly support the law because it’s a law, especially when it comes to the rights of women and LGBTQ2 communities,” Trudeau said at an event in Surrey, B.C.
“People need to know that their prime minister will defend them, will be there for them, that’s what Canadians expect.”
Scheer said Trudeau’s desire to distance himself from his record was also behind the prime minister’s refusal so far to agree to take part in two scheduled federal election debates, and called on him to accept.
Trudeau said he is looking forward to the debates during the election, but declined to commit to either the Munk foreign-policy debate or one being hosted by Maclean’s magazine. He has confirmed he will be in two other debates sanctioned by the new federal debate commission and produced by a large consortium of media organizations.
– With files from Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press