Roundup: On Scheer’s tolerance

It’s been a day since the Globe and Mail interview with Andrew Scheer came out, and yet I haven’t been able to shake some of what he says in the piece, particularly about how his is supposedly the more “tolerant” party. In it, Scheer lists a couple of areas where he lists the virtues of his party’s tolerance – for anti-abortionist views, and his curious view about how to deal with the LGBT question with a party that welcomes social conservatives. On the former, Scheer used the opportunity to re-litigate the issue of trying to appoint Rachael Harder to the chair of the Status of Women committee (never mind that the committees are supposed to pick their own chairs, and that it made no sense to put the critic in the chair position, since the chair is ostensibly supposed to be neutral, which your critic should not be). Why is this example salient? Because it was an example of Scheer acting like a Dollarama knock-off brand provocateur, trying to deliberately set off the leftist opponents to demonstrate how intolerant lefties are in the style that the alt-right has become so fond of doing. Just because your party’s values include social conservatism doesn’t make you more tolerant, particularly given how they denounce other small-l liberal values as “virtue signalling” and so on. Having different values is why different political parties exist.

The part that stuck in my craw a little more was Scheer insisting that just because he doesn’t want to march in a Pride parade, it doesn’t mean that he’s not supportive, pointing to his motion to condemn Russia for the persecution of LGBT people in Chechnya, and the fact that he supported the apology to those persecuted LGBT Canadians. What gets me is that he’s patting himself on the back for the bare minimum – that people don’t deserve to die or be persecuted. But what this does is miss the difference between equality on paper, and substantive equality, and this is something that the Conservative government seemed to struggle with as well. We don’t want other countries to kill gays, but we won’t do anything to meaningfully advance their equality, so they can stay second-class citizens. Or as I sometimes darkly muse, why kill the gays outright when your systematic marginalizing of them drives them to depression, addiction, and suicide instead? And to make it clear, Scheer’s language of “tolerance” is just that – being seen to tolerate something that much of his party’s base finds distasteful, and tolerance is a far cry from respect. So you’ll forgive me if I find Scheer’s assurances that he is “supportive” to ring entirely hollow, because that’s not the language or actions of support.

Meanwhile, the Globe and Mail’s editorial board did call out Scheer for his contradictions in that interview, questioning whether he really is the right person for the job.

Good reads:

  • While people ask questions about Joshua Boyle’s meeting with the PM last month, Maclean’s digs deeper into Boyle’s kidnapping and captivity.
  • In surprise to nobody, young political staffers are the most vulnerable to sexual harassment on Parliament Hill.
  • Jane Philpott has concerns about Manitoba’s plans to reform their child welfare system, as it may incentivize agencies to remove children from First Nations homes.
  • Here’s a look at some of the lessons learned by the Canadian Forces over the past year, from mock fighter combat to attempted hacks of their smartphones.
  • Two major public service unions are each scrambling to sign up RMCP civilian personnel, and assuring them their current arrangements won’t change.
  • Indigenous people in Canada have had free access to PrEP for three years, but only some 23 people have made use of it in that time.
  • A proposed high-speed rail link between Vancouver, Seattle and Portland seems to be a prime candidate for the new Infrastructure Bank.
  • There are questions as to why nobody in the party or Conservative Senate leadership has objected to Senator Beyak posting racist letters on her website.
  • In light of the Joshua Boyle meeting, Chris Selley again wonders about Justin Trudeau’s seriousness (or at least, that of his staff).
  • My column looks at how the UK’s backbenchers are empowering themselves, and how that may or may not translate to Canada.

Odds and ends:

Saskatchewan remains the only province that hasn’t yet unveiled their plans for recreational marijuana sales.

2 thoughts on “Roundup: On Scheer’s tolerance

  1. I really look forward to reading you. Thoughtful and intelligent. Keep up the good work. I don’t see so many examples of good journalism these days.

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