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Liberal MP slammed for ‘anti-Catholic’ tweet

  • January 22, 2021

OTTAWA -- A “cheap shot” tweet directed at Catholics by a Liberal MP has been slammed as “anti-Catholic” by Conservative Garnett Genuis and the Catholic Civil Rights League.

The tweet by Toronto MP Adam Vaughan is part of a larger war of words between Liberals and Conservatives over so-called far-right social conservative groups in Canadian politics.

In the tweet, Vaughan insinuates that the Conservatives have unsavoury far-right members but are doing nothing about their presence. He goes on to liken this to the Church and its history of protecting abusive priests.

“It’s like the Catholic Church…not all priests are sex offenders, and the Catholic Church officially is appalled… but do they kick them out or hide them, cover up or expel… drum up excuses or hold themselves accountable?” the tweet read.

“The Liberals have gone from the Catholic Party to the Anti-Catholic Party,” Genuis said in his own tweet.

Vaughan’s tweet was slammed in a Jan. 12 press release by the CCRL as being an “anti-Catholic slander.”

“Mr. Vaughan subsequently deleted the tweet and claimed that he was criticizing political opponents, not the Church,” the CCRL statement said.

“Nevertheless, the implications of the tweet, that the Church is engaged in an ongoing cover-up of sex offenders, and that the Church evades the terrible abuse of these scandals, remain troubling cheap shots, and are unacceptable.”

Vaughan said he took the tweet down because it was being taken out of context, but he doesn’t think he has anything to be sorry about. He said the context of what he was saying has been lost in the war of words and that he has been getting death threats since he wrote the tweet. He said he actually thinks the Catholic Church has been doing a good job in addressing past wrongs and he thinks the Conservative Party can learn some lessons from the Catholic Church.

Genuis said the federal Liberal party has become a party that is “comfortable with anti-Catholic views.”

“They will go and attend events and say they respect other’s views, but they do nothing when something like this happens,” Genuis said, adding that if a Liberal MP made the same kind of statement about Muslims or Jews they would be held accountable.

Vaughan is no stranger to Twitter controversy. In August 2019 he had to delete and apologize for a tweet after falsely accusing an Ontario Conservative cabinet minister of blaming education funding cuts on refugee children. And he was forced to delete a tweet this month in which he called political insider and Postmedia columnist Warren Kinsella “alt-right.”

The war of words over Vaughan’s tweet comes as federal Conservative leader Erin O’Toole released a statement on Jan. 17 that said there is “no place for the far right” in the Conservative Party, and on Jan, 19 announced he will kick former leadership rival Derek Sloan out of the party’s federal caucus over a donation made to Sloan by a party member associated with white supremacists.

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