MP’s pro-life event draws no protest

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - FRONT PAGE - AN­DREA HILL ahill@post­ Twit­­dreaHill

A meet-and-greet be­tween Con­ser­va­tive lead­er­ship can­di­date Brad Trost and pro-life sup­port­ers was not in­ter­rupted by pro­test­ers de­spite con­cerns about such ac­tion hav­ing forced a change of venue.

Trost had booked a room for Satur­day at Saska­toon’s Alice Turner li­brary to host pub­lic meet­ings on a va­ri­ety of top­ics — in­clud­ing re­spect for life — but the li­brary can­celled the book­ing be­cause of con­cerns over safety and se­cu­rity.

The Con­ser­va­tive MP has ac­cused the li­brary of sti­fling free speech and told re­porters Satur­day he doesn’t buy the in­sti­tu­tion’s rea­son­ing.

“I thought it was in­ap­pro­pri­ate,” he said. “If se­cu­rity had been their is­sue, they could have phoned us and asked us to deal with it or they could have phoned and dealt with the Saska­toon city po­lice. The fact that we weren’t asked about the po­ten­tial threat, to me, makes me won­der about the se­ri­ous­ness of their rea­son­ing.”

The Con­ser­va­tive MP moved his meet­ings to a room at the Sand­man Ho­tel. When wel­com­ing the 60-some peo­ple who packed the room, he thanked the li­brary for in­ad­ver­tently pro­vid­ing free ad­ver­tis­ing for the event.

Though pro­test­ers posted on a Face­book event page late in the week telling peo­ple to find ways into the talk and set up across the street, the page ap­peared to have been deleted by Satur­day morn­ing and no pro­test­ers were present in or out­side the gath­er­ing.

Trost told re­porters he had never been wor­ried about pro­test­ers show­ing up; he said Saskatchewan pro­test­ers tend to be quiet and re­spect­ful.

“This is Saska­toon, we don’t have to worry about these is­sues here,” he said.

Over the course of the hour-long ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sion, Trost talked about ways he would ad­vance the pro-life agenda if he be­came prime min­is­ter.

It would be very dif­fi­cult to ban abor­tions — not all Con­ser­va­tive MPs would sup­port a law to that ef­fect and such a bill would be un­likely to pass the Se­nate even if they did — but Trost said, if he be­came prime min­is­ter, he would give the health min­is­ter a man­date to en­cour­age a cul­ture of life, en­sure the gov­ern­ment does not fund Planned Par­ent­hood and make sure leg­is­la­tion is passed to pro­tect un­born vic­tims of vi­o­lence.

Trost also fielded ques­tions on doc­tor-as­sisted dy­ing and sup­port for indigenous chil­dren.

He said tighter reg­u­la­tions are needed around Canada’s right-todie leg­is­la­tion and that he is will­ing to in­voke the notwith­stand­ing clause to block the leg­is­la­tion from cov­er­ing mi­nors and peo­ple with men­tal health is­sues.

On the is­sue of pro­vid­ing sup­port for indigenous youth, Trost said non-gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tions, not the gov­ern­ment, need to take charge of things.

“If you do it all on a gov­ern­ment sys­tem, it doesn’t work,” he said. “We need to have that con­cept where — be it pri­vate-sec­tor groups of aboriginal back­grounds and con­trol, var­i­ous re­li­gious faith groups have worked in there — is that those sort of groups need to be the ones that take the lead and the gov­ern­ment backs off and sup­ports them ... Tons of money in some places has not al­ways pro­duced ad­e­quate re­sults. It’s how you spend and who’s spend­ing it too.”

He said the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, in­stead of in­vest­ing money to help de­vel­op­ing coun­tries fight cli­mate change, should re­al­lo­cate those funds to local en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues and projects, in­clud­ing en­sur­ing there is clean drink­ing wa­ter on First Na­tion reserves.

The Con­ser­va­tive Party of Canada will choose its leader from a 14-can­di­date field in May.

Brad Trost

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