The top three preferred candidates in the Conservative leadership as ranked by pro-life group Right Now are former M.P. Pierre Lemieux, left, M.P. Andrew Sheer, centre, and M.P. Brad Trost. Photos courtesy of U.S. Embassy Canada, Oarcos Oliverira and Thomas Cumberbatch

Pro-life group Right Now ranks Conservative hopefuls

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  • February 28, 2017

OTTAWA – A new pro-life group believes Conservative leadership candidates must have more than proper pro-life credentials. Candidates must also have the ability to form a government.

“We have to elect someone who is both pro-life and able to win in a federal election,” said Scott Hayward, co-founder and president of Right Now.

Right Now has released a ranked ballot similar to the one Conservative Party members will have when they vote in May for a new leader to replace Stephen Harper.

With 14 candidates in the race, Right Now is urging voters to rank 10 of the 14 candidates.

Right Now’s top three endorsements went to socially conservative candidates. First is former MP Pierre Lemieux, followed by former Speaker of the House MP Andrew Scheer and MP Brad Trost. All three have perfect pro-life voting records in the House of Commons.

“We interviewed as many candidates as we possibly could have,” said Hayward. “We went through their voting records in the House of Commons on abortion and euthanasia bills and motions, as well as we took into account their winnability.”

Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), which has been assessing the pro-life credentials of politicians for years, does not support Scheer. Following his leadership launch he said he would not introduce government bills on abortion if he becomes prime minister.

“For the time being at least, CLC is restricting its leadership race support to only Brad Trost and Pierre Lemieux,” says the CLC page ranking MPs according to their House of Commons voting records. “Although we have great admiration for Andrew’s perfect voting record, his recent comments require us to pause and re-evaluate.”

CLC’s Ottawa lobbyist Johanne Brownrigg said that Maxime Bernier “has continued to climb in my estimation” in that, like Scheer, he would not prevent a pro-life MP from bringing forth an abortion bill or motion. She said Bernier has the support of some “solid pro-life MPs.”

“What has not changed for me is that Kevin O’Leary would be a disaster for socons but also for the conservative movement,” she.

Alissa Golob, Right Now’s co-founder and executive director, believes it is important to support candidates who may not have perfect pro-life records but would respect conscience rights and free votes.

“You obviously want to have someone who is more open and sympathetic to the pro-life cause than someone like Kevin O’Leary who says the party would be 100 per cent in favour of reproductive rights moving forward,” she said.

She also stressed the importance of voting strategically.

“Do we always want to be backing candidates who don’t have a chance of winning . . . Or do we also want to support candidates who have a chance at winning, who will allow votes to be brought forward and be passed in the future?” she asked.

Right Now ranks the remaining candidates as follows: 4) MP Erin O’Toole; 5) MP Stephen Blaney; 6) MP Maxime Bernier; 7) MP Deepak Obrhai 8) MP Kellie Leitch; 9) MP Michael Chong; and 10) former MP Chris Alexander. The ranked ballot and the interview transcripts can be viewed at www.itstartsrightnow.ca.w

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