From Thursday’s Globe and Mail:
A Leger Marketing poll, conducted last week, shows the Liberals have gained an 11-point lead over the Conservatives.
And when respondents were asked whether the Conservatives would fare better under deputy leader Peter MacKay or New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord, two potential leadership contenders, the poll showed little change in the party’s support.
“The problem isn’t the leader, it is the party and its social policies,” pollster Jean-Marc Léger said in an interview yesterday…
When respondents were asked whether they were “afraid” of Mr. Harper’s positions on “abortion, the death penalty and same-sex marriage,” 39 per cent said yes and 43 per cent said no. The remaining 18 per cent said they did not know or declined to answer.
From Friday’s Globe and Mail:
Christian activists have secured Conservative nominations in clusters of ridings from Vancouver to Halifax — a political penetration that has occurred even as the party tries to distance itself from hard-line social conservatism.
At least three riding associations in Nova Scotia, four in British Columbia, and one in suburban Toronto have nominated candidates with ties to groups like Focus on the Family, a Christian organization that opposes same-sex marriage.
But organizers say many more will be on the ballot during the next federal election, a feat achieved by persuading parishioners, particularly new Canadians, to join the party and vote for recommended candidates…
“The difficulty, from a party perspective, is that it begins to hijack the other agendas that parties have,” said Ross Haynes, who lost the Conservative nomination in the riding of Halifax to one of three “Christian, pro-family people” recommended by a minister at a religious rally this spring in Kentville, N.S. …
But Tristan Emmanuel — the Presbyterian minister whose endorsement at the Kentville rally aided the nominations of Andrew House in Halifax, Rakesh Khosla in Halifax West and Paul Francis in Sackville-Eastern Shore — makes no apologies…
Mr. Emmanuel said Christians have been allowed to believe that “to be a genuine citizen of the nation we need to check our religion at the political door. And I’m saying no, that’s fundamentally flawed. You may participate in the public square as a religious individual and be not ashamed.”
John Reynolds, the retiring Conservative MP who ran the party’s nomination process, said the fact that social conservatives have won his party’s nominations is simply a function of democracy.
“I don’t believe in appointments and neither does our party, so we get some real battles,” Mr. Reynolds said. “People say, ‘Can’t you do something about these guys running?’ and I say ‘Hey, you can do something: go out and sign up some more people.'” …
Darrel Reid, the party’s candidate in Richmond, B.C., is a past president of Focus on the Family. Cindy Silver, who will run for the Tories in North Vancouver, was the executive director of the Christian Legal Fellowship for two years in the 1990s. Marc Dalton in New Westminster-Burnaby has been the pastor of a community church in Burnaby…
Rondo Thomas beat former Conservative MP René Soetens for the nomination in Ajax, on the eastern edge of Toronto. Dr. Thomas is a top official with the Canada Christian College, which is run by Charles McVety, a senior director of the Defend Marriage Coalition.
“The Defend Marriage Coalition engaged in a concerted effort to help pro-marriage candidates become nominated,” Dr. McVety said.
“There is a desire to see pro-marriage nominees as candidates right across the country. We know that we have 141 pro-marriage MPs now and our hope is to achieve a pro-marriage Parliament.”
What do you think, folks? Should religion and politics mix in this way?
- Is it appropriate for churches and para-church organizations to mobilize politically?
- Should the Conservatives find a way to stop it, if it is going to diminish their chances of forming the next government?