Possible Tory leadership candidate swiftly condemned for claiming being LGBT is a ‘choice’
A potential candidate for leadership of the Canadian Conservative party has said he believes that being LGBT+ is a “choice”.
Richard Décarie is a little-known Tory politician who served as deputy chief of staff to Stephen Harper when he was leader of the opposition in the 2000s.
He is now planning a bid for leadership of the Conservative party, but his anti-LGBT+ comments during a live interview on Wednesday, January 22, have caused backlash from politicians both outside and within his own party.
In an interview with CTV’s Power Play, Décarie said he would “defund abortion” and that the “real people” he meets agree that same-sex marriage should not be allowed.
When the interviewer pointed out that LGBT+ people are “real people too”, he said: “I think LGBTQ is a liberal term. I don’t talk about people that way.”
Then, asked if he thought being gay was a choice, Décarie responded: “I think it’s a choice and how people are behaving is one thing.
“I think government has a responsibility to encourage the traditional values that we have had for the past years.
“That’s the kind of so-con [socially conservative] issues that I would bring as a leader.”
The potential Tory leadership candidate was swiftly condemned for his comments.
Eric Duncan, the first and only LGBT+ MP in the Canada’s Conservative party, wrote on Twitter: “Hi Mr Décarie, I don’t know you at all. But I’m a proud new Conservative MP from rural Eastern Ontario. We should probably chat about my life ‘choices’.”
Hi Mr. Décarie, I don’t know you at all. But I’m a proud new Conservative MP from rural Eastern Ontario. We should probably chat about my life “choices”. https://t.co/j2c4jCa8hr
— Eric Duncan (@EricDuncanSDSG) January 22, 2020
Two people Décarie could be going up against in a Conservative leadership contest also spoke out.
Aspiring party leader and Ontario MP Marilyn Gladu said the comments were “unacceptable” and added that she “will stand up for the rights and freedoms of every Canadian”.
Former Tory minister Peter MacKay, who has announced his leadership campaign, also wrote on Twitter: “Being gay is not a choice and nobody should be running for office on a platform to roll back hard-won rights.”
Being gay is not a choice and nobody should be running for office on a platform to roll back hard-won rights. https://t.co/EtUm7StRoI
— Peter MacKay (@PeterMacKay) January 23, 2020
Progressive Conservative Ontario minister Lisa MacLeod wrote: “Supporting LGBTQ+ rights is supporting human rights. Love is love and is not a choice.
“Being an unintelligible dog whistler clearly is his choice.”
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Supporting LGBTQ+ rights is supporting human rights.
Love is love and is not a choice.
Being an unintelligible dog whistler clearly is his choice. https://t.co/nyBbTQ4wdG
— Lisa MacLeod (@MacLeodLisa) January 23, 2020
Unfortunately, this is not the first time that Décarie has made anti-LGBT+ remarks.