Sometimes political parties misinterpret an issue and end up making the wrong stand. Unfortunately for them, bad policy is usually bad politics, too. This is especially so when such waywardness offends the party’s support base.
Enter the Progressive Conservative Party of Newfoundland and Labrador. They checked all these unenviable boxes by opposing the million-person march for children that favoured parents and countered transgender ideology in schools.
“The PC Party of Newfoundland and Labrador stands firmly with the 2SLGBTQIA+ community,” announced a Sept. 20 Facebook post the morning of the march.
“Party and caucus members have proudly attended each No Space for Hate rally and will continue to do so.
“Our party agrees wholeheartedly with today’s counter-protest: there is no space for hate in Newfoundland and Labrador.”
No Space for Hate is a nationwide initiative backed by unions, including the Ontario Federation of Labour. The OFL even co-ordinated counter-protests to the march. In a Zoom call later leaked to the public, the OFL named itself “co-conspirators” and their opponents, “fascists.”
In reality, marchers believed that schools should not facilitate putting children on transgender paths behind parents’ backs. To call such people fascists is to smear them with a false label, something that alleged anti-racist, anti-bigoted advocates could recognize if they cared to self-reflect.
Even so, the PCs decided to ally with the woke left and the disparagement of its opponents. The rudderless party has been without a leader since March 31, 2021 when Ches Crosbie stepped down. As it turns out, Crosbie went to the march and saw for himself how his party had erred.
“It just struck me that the intolerance was in people up the hill, who were counter-protesting. And they were quite militant, even hateful,” Crosbie told this article’s author.
“The parents, I have to tell you, were a bit worked up too. But, by and large, they were far more open to discussion and dialogue.”
Counter-protesters were “chanting and yelling” and “weren’t ready to be rational” as they stood on the literal high ground, Crosbie noted.
“Their rhetoric was anti-hate rhetoric, which is complete inversionism in my mind. And the press buys into this, that the people who are intolerant are the parents and the people with virtue on their side are the counter-protesters, the alphabet soup folks who are following a program of sexualization of children well before they’re ready for it.”
Crosbie expressed surprise at the backlash New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs received for backing parents. Higgs made changes to ensure parents would be informed before schools changed the working pronouns and names of their children.
“There’s a big political brouhaha. Like, I would have thought that was just elementary and unremarkable. But it just tells you how far gone we are now,” Higgs said.
“To me, it’s really not debatable. I think society is under attack, traditional society.”
Crosbie said he knows people who made a gender transition in adulthood. Still, he believes the dramatic proliferation of such choices by youth owes itself to a “propaganda program” and that such decisions should wait for adulthood.
“Look, we protect children from making decisions about all kinds of things or being placed in a position where they could make decisions harmful for themselves in all manner of ways, right? We should be doing it in this way, too. That just seems to be obvious to me.”
Crosbie started a law firm in 1991 that led class action lawsuits. He advocated for breast cancer patients affected by delayed and erroneous test results, victims of vehicle accidents involving moose, video lottery terminal users, and former Labrador residential school residents.
Experiences as a lawyer and party leader have taught Crosbie the importance of leading a cause. He just thinks the provincial PCs backed the wrong one.
“Most politicians, most of the time, are trying to lead a parade. So, because the alphabet soup is so loud and pushy, and mainstream press just seems to have bought into the idea that this represents tolerance and virtue–people in politics tend to buy into the same narrative, unfortunately,” he explained.
“And what it’s going to take is people in politics to push back at that narrative, and disengage from it, and call it out for what it is.”
At the recent Conservative Party convention, two-thirds of delegates embraced a policy to ban gender transitions for minors and another to affirm bodily autonomy for adults regarding vaccines. Crosbie attended the event in Quebec city and was not persuaded by arguments to shy away from these stances.
“They were based on, ‘Oh, we’ll just give ammunition to our opponents and to the woke media to attack us. We’re doing well now doing what we’re doing–don’t give them a target,’” Crosbie explained.
“It was argued this is a dangerous thing to be voting in favor of. But, if you don’t vote in favor of it, then what the hell do you stand for?”
Lee Harding is a Research Fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.