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Canada's Conservative Grassroots Reject Gender Ideology
But will leadership listen?
Canadian political silence on gender ideology has been broken for good. It started late last spring with New Brunswick Primer Blaine Higgs raising the issue of schools socially transitioning children. More recently, the issue took center stage at the Conservative Party of Canada convention that took place in Quebec City from September 7 to 9.
At the convention, Conservative delegates passed not just one, but two resolutions directly related to gender ideology and its effects on women and children.
Motion C – 7, which was passed with 69% of votes in favor, reads:
A Conservative government will protect children by prohibiting life altering medicinal or surgical interventions on minors under 18 to treat gender confusion or dysphoria, and encourage positive mental and physical health support for all Canadians suffering from gender dysphoria and related mental health challenges.
Motion C – 15, which passed with 87% of votes in favor, reads:
The Conservative Party of Canada believes that women are entitled to the safety, dignity, and privacy of single-sex spaces (e.g., prisons, shelters, locker rooms, washrooms) and the benefits of women-only categories (e.g., sports, awards, grants, scholarships).
For clarity, the term “woman” used throughout this CPC Policy Declaration means “female person.”
Motion C – 15 was proposed by tireless women’s rights advocate Dr. Linda Blade. Blade is the former president of Athletics Alberta, a professional elite coach, and a Canadian track champion. Along with journalist Barbara Kay, she is also the author of the book Unsporting: How Trans Activism and Science Denial are Destroying Sport.
When interviewed by Elie Cantin-Nantel of True North, Dr. Blade said, “We needed at least one party in Canada to stand up for women and girls in parliament. It’s what all of us thought: that there is a majority out here who are silent, who do support us, but were too afraid to say.”
“There’s going to be many, many, many more people now voting conservative because they trust us and our position is common sense.”
The adoption of these two resolutions and the ratio of votes in favor of them sends a strong message that grassroots conservative supporters in Canada reject gender ideology.
It is, however, perhaps a little surprising that the resolution to protect children from medical harm received fewer favorable votes of the two.
On X, Dr. Blade noted that, “The one gentleman from NL who spoke at the “no” mic during the child transitioning policy was mostly worried about what effect adopting protection of kids would have on the polls.”
“When an organization convenes to discuss core principles it is NOT the time to worry about which way the political wind is blowing,” she added.
Canada’s conservatives are currently surging in the polls as Justin Trudeau’s liberals and the New Democratic Party falter. It is highly likely—in fact, almost certain—that some party members worry taking up such a contentious social issue could hurt them.
But, as Dr. Blade notes, the support is clearly there and likely to win the party more voters, even if it risks losing some.
Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see whether party leadership feels the same way.
Ahead of the convention, party leader Pierre Poilievre made it a point to highlight that leaders are not bound by convention resolutions.
This could spell disappointment, as Poilievre and other elected party members have an atrocious record when it comes to voting on gender ideology-related legislation.
Poilievre himself abstained from voting on the notorious Bill C-16, which added gender identity and gender expression to the Canadian Human Rights Code and created a world of trouble for women’s right to single-sex spaces and sports.
In 2021, Poilievre and the rest of his fellow conservative members of parliament voted unanimously in favor of Bill C-4. The bill, which claims to ban “conversion therapy,” actually makes it legally risky to do anything but affirm someone’s “gender identity,” even if that someone is a child.
Motion C – 7 could easily be seen as at odds with this bill. If any conservative MPs choose to be brave and stand up for children, they may have to answer for their previous vote.
Poilievre has come out a little more strongly for parents’ rights lately and, unsurprisingly, Canada’s completely captured mainstream media has tried to smear him for it.
“Poilievre’s words need to be examined for more than the content they purport to uphold,” proclaimed the Toronto Star. “Under the guise of his cavalier call for the protection of parental rights, Poilievre is picking up and running with pages from the playbook of the Republican Party… The cry of “parental rights” and its often explicit rejection of gender diversity, has so effectively rallied the far right, that it has systematically eliminated or imperiled safe access to health care and education for trans youth and adults in more than a dozen states.”
If Poilievre dares to take any stronger of a stance, he can expect a media firestorm and endless accusations of far-right bigotry—not to mention the histrionic and manipulative accusations that policies like those proposed at the convention will cause children to commit suicide.
But this is not an excuse. The grassroots conservative base has spoken loudly, and to reject it could be politically dangerous as well. For Poilievre to appear disconnected from his base when the left is galvanizing against him regardless of how “2SLGTBQIA+” friendly he wants to look would be, in my humble opinion, a terrible mistake.
Gender ideology is a loser in the long run, and it is so new to the mainstream Canadian conversation that taking a strong stance against it now would still make one look like a smart early adopter of the winning side. Conservative leadership would be foolish to miss this opportunity.
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