Stand with Justin: Support a woman’s right to choose

Justin Trudeau: “Canadians of all views are welcome within the Liberal Party of Canada, but when it comes to actively supporting women’s rights, our party is committed to speaking with one voice.”

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It has come as a surprise to some, yet it should not: Under my leadership, Liberal MPs are welcome and encouraged to hold fast to their personal beliefs. But on matters set out in our electoral platform, and on any issue that has found protection under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms all Liberal MPs must vote as one.

I set out this position early during the 2013 LPC Leadership race.

Two weeks ago, I repeated my position, saying I would expect incoming MPs to vote in favour of a woman’s right to choose, which has historically found protection under Section 7 of the Charter.

I know this has troubled some Canadians, and come as welcome words to others. To those it has troubled: I understand. I empathize. And I care deeply that you are working hard to reconcile your beliefs with this Party policy.

Please allow me a moment of personal reflection.

I had an extraordinary example in a father who had deeply, deeply held personal views that were informed by the fact that he went to church every Sunday, read the Bible regularly to us, and raised us very religiously, as Catholics. But at the same time my father had no problem legalizing divorce, decriminalizing homosexuality and moving in ways that recognized the basic rights of the people. He too held fast to his beliefs. But he also understood that as leaders, as political figures, and as representatives of a larger community, our utmost responsibility is to stand up for people’s rights.

I share my father’s view of leadership in this regard, which is why to both those who have been troubled, and those who believe firmly and unequivocally in a woman’s right to choose, I say this:

Canadians of all views are welcome within the Liberal Party of Canada. But under my leadership, incoming Liberal MPs will always vote in favour of a woman’s fundamental rights. When it comes to actively supporting women’s rights, our party must speak with one voice.

This is why, at this time, I am asking Canadians like you to take a moment to reflect on this message and add your name to stand with me. If you are not ready to add your name, I would ask simply that you reflect on this message, and know, truly, that I value your support.

I believe firmly in your right to hold your views, and that under my leadership there will always be a place for you in the Liberal Party of Canada.

Thank you.


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