Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer slammed the governing Liberal Party of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Thursday, accusing them of dredging up divisive social issues to distract Canadians from a litany of Liberal scandals ahead of the upcoming federal election on Oct. 21.
At a news conference in Toronto, Scheer insisted that a Conservative government will not reopen debate on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage even though individual Tory MPs will be allowed to openly discuss such issues.
Scheer, a devout Catholic, has been facing a mounting controversy over his commitment to LGBT and women’s rights after the Liberals circulated a 14-year-old video of him explaining to the House of Commons why he was opposed to same-sex marriage.
Scheer did not outright disavow his remarks from 2005 and refused to elaborate on whether his personal views on the gay marriage issue have changed, saying it has been settled by Parliament.
“My personal views are that LGBT Canadians have the same inherent self-worth and dignity as every other Canadian and I will always uphold the law and always ensure that they have equal access to the institution of marriage as it exists under the law,” Scheer said.
The Liberals are bring up these questions to “distract from their record of failure, corruption and scandal, trying to dredge up issues from long ago in attempt to divide Canadians and distract from their own scandal,” he added.
“As prime minister of Canada I will govern for all Canadians,” Scheer said. “And while every individual Canadian has a right to personal convictions on any number of issues, I will always ensure that I’m governing for all Canadians.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadians need to know where their leaders stand on such issues.
“It’s not enough to reluctantly support the law because it’s the law, especially when it comes to the rights of women and LGBTQ communities,” he told reporters in Surrey, British Columbia.
“People need to know that their prime minister will defend them, will be there for them. That’s what Canadians expect.”
With files from CBC News and The Canadian Press