Skip to main content

Calling social conservatives dinosaurs was 'wrong terminology', says Patrick Brown


Federal Conservative leadership candidate Patrick Brown says calling social conservatives "dinosaurs" in a book he wrote about his time in Ontario politics was "the wrong terminology."

"I guess a better way to articulate that would be to say: I don't think the Conservative Party needs to revisit these issues," Brown said in an interview Friday.

The mayor of Brampton, Ont., has attacked longtime MP Pierre Poilievre -- once a colleague in the House of Commons back when Brown was an MP -- over his position on abortion.

Brown said he believes one of the reasons the party lost the 2019 election was a lack of clarity around its position on the procedure.

Throughout the race and even afterward, former leader Andrew Scheer was dogged by questions about his social conservative values, before he resigned in the face of mounting pressure to do so.

When questioned on his own views, Poilievre has said he believes in free choice and that a government led by him would not introduce or pass legislation that restricts access to abortion -- despite the wishes of the MPs and party members who belong to its well-organized social conservative wing.

Poilievre has pointed out on social media that Brown, in his book about his fall from leading Ontario's Progressive Conservative party over sexual misconduct allegations he continues to deny, called social conservatives "dinosaurs."

He added they are becoming irrelevant and their positions are "disingenuously hypocritical."

"Maybe that's the wrong terminology," Brown said Friday when asked about his use of the term "dinosaur" in his book, "Takedown: The Attempted Political Assassination Of Patrick Brown."

"My brand of conservatism is I want to see less government. I want to see less government in your small business and less taxes, less red tape … but I also want to see less government in your personal life."

A leaked draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court that suggests it may overturn Roe v. Wade, a ruling upholding abortion rights countrywide, has breathed new life into the issue within Canada and the Conservative leadership race.

One issue Tory leaders have had to navigate is how to deal with MPs' private member's bills that seek to restrict abortion access. Under former leader Erin O'Toole, 81 of the party's 119 MPs -- more than half -- voted in favour of legislation advanced by Saskatchewan MP Cathay Wagantall to ban so-called sex-selective abortion, which she said targeted baby girls.

The bill was easily defeated by the Liberal government, along with NDP and Bloc Quebecois MPs who panned it as a Trojan horse to erode reproductive rights.

Brown said Friday that while MPs are allowed to bring forward private member's bills on abortion, he wouldn't let those in his cabinet vote in their favour.

"It would not be supported by (my) government. And so any cabinet that I select, any government that I lead would not revisit the abortion debate."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2022.



ANALYSIS What do the policies Poilievre's party passed say about the Conservatives' future?

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre spent the summer speaking about housing affordability, a core focus that attendees at the party's Quebec City convention were quick to praise him for. But by the end of the weekend, delegates opted to instead pass policies on contentious social issues. What does that say about the Conservatives' future?



opinion Don Martin: Poilievre doesn't feel your pain, but he's sure good at communicating it

Probably no other leader, including Justin Trudeau, has landed in a party leadership with less real-world work experience than Pierre Poilievre, says Don Martin in a column for But Poilievre's an able communicator, and this weekend's Conservative convention is a golden opportunity for him to sell himself as PM-in-waiting.


opinion Don Martin: Who will step up to have 'The Talk' with Trudeau?

Ego and vanity are a potent combination in leadership politics, and in his exclusive column for, Don Martin writes this condition is infecting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's mindset as he seems deadly serious about seeking re-election in 2025. Top Stories


LIVE UPDATES Polls now closed for Election Day in Manitoba

Polls are closed and results will be coming in shortly in what will be a historic election for the province. The Progressive Conservatives' Heather Stefanson is looking to become the first woman elected premier, while the NDP's Wab Kinew is looking to become the province's first First Nation premier. Follow along for live updates on candidates, voting information and results.

Stay Connected