Conservative Leadership Candidate Erin O’Toole has clarified that he is unequivocally opposed to conversion therapy, despite recent reports by CBC News that he was concerned about Liberal legislation on the topic.
“Let me be unequivocal, conversion therapies have no place in Canada and should be abolished,” tweeted Erin O’Toole in French late Monday evening.
“Final point. LGBTQ people have their place in the big conservative family and I am committed to fighting this unacceptable and hurtful practice. I will not compromise on this.”
Conversion therapy is the heavily criticized practice, dubbed pseudoscience by opponents, to change an individual’s sexual orientation by psychological or spiritual intervention.
Erin O’Toole’s comments came after a story by Radio-Canada where a leaked video reportedly revealed he was concerned about legislation being proposed by the Trudeau government to ban conversion therapy, and wanted to have a closer look at the issue.
In the video, O’Toole reportedly requests that supporters of social conservative leadership candidates Derek Sloan and Leslyn Lewis rank him as their second choice on the leadership ballot.
Both Sloan and Lewis have stated their firm opposition to conversion therapy legislation in the past.
Most recently, Sloan faced some subtle criticism from interim Conservative leader Andrew Scheer for accusing Trudeau of “legalizing child abuse by advancing conversion therapy” earlier this month.
Similarly, Lewis previously took aim at attempts to legislate on conversion therapy as attacking parent’s autonomy to raise their children.
“They’re concerned that their parental autonomy is being limited because the government is basically somewhat stepped in as surrogate to tell them what they can and cannot do,” Lewis told CBC News in March.
Meanwhile, leadership front-runner Peter MacKay has previously criticized Sloan’s comments on conversion therapy and also supports banning the practice.
“Forcing a child into ‘conversion therapy’ is child abuse and it absolutely must be banned. Derek’s remarks are reprehensible.” tweeted MacKay earlier this month.
The next Conservative leader will be chosen on August 21, 2020.