It’s fair to say that a recent string of controversial television interviews by fringe candidates for the Conservative Party of Canada’s leadership hasn’t served social conservatives very well. A disproportionate focus on whether homosexuality is a choice or if gay conversion therapy is somehow a subject of moral complexity has come to narrowly define the social conservative persuasion, reinforce left-wing stereotypes, and harm social conservatives’ standing in broader Canadian society. Even those among us who sympathize with social conservatism aren’t keen to defend these crass provocateurs and their ignorant arguments.
This speaks to a bigger problem for the social conservative movement in Canada. It’s come to be narrowly defined by its critics, the left-leaning media, and its own most vehement proponents as principally about same-sex marriage and abortion. One can recognize that these are complex matters involving a collision of competing rights and differing visions of morality and still understand that social conservatism is much bigger than any single policy question.