Scheer: Liberals showing 'intolerance' for female MP by boycotting committee vote
Meredith MacLeod, CTVNews.ca
Published Friday, September 29, 2017 1:24PM EDT
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says Justin Trudeau and Liberal MPs are showing “intolerance” for a “strong, competent, dynamic young woman” his party nominated to chair a status of women committee.
Liberal committee members walked out Tuesday during a vote to install MP Rachael Harder as chair, saying she isn’t fit because she holds anti-abortion views.
“The Liberals are trying to politicize this. I actually find it disgusting that the Liberals would treat a young, female Member of Parliament in this way, and it just shows the intolerance of the Liberal party,” Scheer said on CTV’s Your Morning Friday.
He said the committee chair role is a procedural one and there is no intent from his caucus to reopen the abortion debate.
“To say that she can be reduced to one particular personal point of view and that makes her unfit to chair a committee, that’s ridiculous. I find it a very intolerant and divisive move by the Liberals to do this.”
Scheer says his party is focused on broader issues to reach more voters and denied knowing that Harder would be a controversial choice to chair the committee.
The Lethbridge, Alta. MP is critic for the status of women and been a member of the status of women committee since January 2016.
The committee is one of a handful chaired by opposition MPs.
The meeting to elect a chair has been moved to Tuesday. It’s unclear whether the standoff will be resolved by then. Trudeau said the Liberal members acted on their own but he supported their decision to boycott the vote.
Scheer’s caucus has been dogged by controversies since taking over as leader four months ago.
Outgoing Conservative MP Gerry Ritz ignited a firestorm last week with a tweet in which he called Environment Minister Catherine McKenna “climate Barbie.”
It was widely condemned as sexist from voices across the political spectrum.
Scheer, who apologized directly to McKenna, said gender-based stereotypes have no place in parliamentary debate and that he’s instructed his caucus that he will hold them to higher standards.
“We have to stay away from the personal attacks. I think it turns off a lot of Canadians. You mention women, of course, we get a lot of feedback on that particularly. But, I think all Canadians don’t like to see that kind of personal name calling, so that’s my commitment to Parliament, to Canadians, that the Conservative caucus will do everything we can to elevate that tone and to keep it on the issues and away from the personal attacks.”
Scheer has also been dealing with backlash against Conservative Sen. Lynn Beyak after she told First Nations people to trade in their status cards and practise their culture on "their own dime."