A maverick Tory MP in the Canadian Federal Parliament has said he is bullish about attempts by fundamentalist Christians to unseat him.

Garth Turner has defied his party in support of gay marriage.

His Christian opponents held meetings last night to explore their options – including challenging him at an upcoming nomination meeting for the riding of Halton.

‘Riding’ is the Canadian term for a parliamentary constituency. Turner was in an upbeat mood, telling Canada.com : “Am I supposed to change my mind and all of a sudden hate homosexual people because I’m facing a challenge in my riding?

“I’m still the member of Parliament, and I’m still going to do what I said I’m going to do.

“They’re not going to threaten me, they’re not going to intimidate me, they’re not going to scare me and my tail is not between my legs.”

Canada is perceived as one of the most liberal countries in the world, but even in that oasis of tolerance Christian activists have drawn battle lines over the marriage issue.

Turner has previously likened anti-gay Christians to the Taliban, and warned about the influence of faith-based politics on Canada’s democratic traditions.