The Globe and Mail, April 20, 2004,
Religious activists set to run for Conservatives
OTTAWA — Three high-profile religious activists have decided to try their handsat partisan politics by throwing their hats into the ring for the Conservative Party.
The moves have led to warnings that the party not push a moral-values agenda as it tries to show a moderate face for the coming election campaign.
“I think Canadians in general like to feel that their politics are secular,” said John Bryden, a Liberal-turned-Conservative MP who lost his party’s nomination to one of the new candidates.
“I think they get very uneasy when religion — any religion — becomes a factor in the nomination process or the election process.”
University of Waterloo political scientist Peter Woolstencroft, a long-time observer of conservative politics, said many candidates come out of social groupings, and it appears that only Christian or fundamentalist groups cause scrutiny.
Nonetheless, he said that many Canadians wonder whether religious groups are going to be responsive to a diverse community.
“The question of religion causes people concern,” he said. “They’re afraid that people are going to use their religious precepts as the basis for how they approach matters of public policy.”
The same week back in 2004, the Liberal Party was doing some push-polling. Again, the Globe and Mail reports,
Liberal Party pollsters were in the field last week asking Ontarians whether they were “more or less likely to vote for the Conservative/Alliance if you knew they had been taken over by evangelical Christians.”
This was clearly a campaign-style poll to test-drive a negative campaign against Mr. Harper.
Fast forward almost 8 years.
Here’s the Globe and Mail today,
Liberals fear pro-lifers trying to take over weakened federal party
Some federal Liberals fear single-issue pro-lifers are trying to hijack their weakened party.
Their fears have been stoked by the apparent re-emergence of a group calling itself Liberals for Life, which is promoting Trifon Haitas’s bid to represent the party in a March 19 by-election in Toronto-Danforth.
The group has issued an “urgent message” to Liberals in the riding, urging them to support Mr. Haitas, a Greek-Canadian journalist who formerly ran for the Green party.
“Trifon Haitas is the only candidate who is committed to stop the slaughter of unborn children in Canada,” the electronic message states.
The message includes a link to an endorsement of Mr. Haitas by Campaign Life Coalition, a national organization opposed to abortion.