By Hazel Woodrow
Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Campaign Life Coalition, a reactionary far-right lobbying group, sent 1,100 supporters as delegates to the Conservative Party of Canada annual convention, making up just under a third of the estimated 3,500 total delegates present.
Campaign Life Coalition is a heavy hitter in the world of Canadian far-right social conservative values. Since its founding in 1987, it has been involved in the creation and/or incubation of three media outlets, The Interim, Catholic Insight, and LifeSiteNews; one political party (the Family Coalition Party of Ontario); and numerous other anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ not-for-profit corporations, including REAL Women of Canada, Life Ethics Educational Association, Prolife Movement of Canada, and Women for Women’s Health.
LifeSiteNews is like a Christian version of Breitbart, which claims to reach over 20 million readers with anti-LGBTQ+ screeds and far-right conspiracy theories about the rigged election, “leftist agitators'' in the crowd at the Capitol, and COVID-19 being a bioweapon.
In their “Post-Convention Analysis” of the March 18 to 20 convention, the organization claimed that “CLC recruitment of more than 1,100 Delegates contributed to passing all but one of the policies we recommended in our Voter's Guide, and to defeat all of the policies we asked supporters to vote against.”
They also saw seven of its endorsed candidates elected to the party’s thirteen person National Council.
The majority of the items CLC provided guidance on to their delegates were constitutional amendments, as opposed to policies. Constitutional amendments concern the internal operations and policies of the party. CLC provided guidance on 18 constitutional amendments and instructed its delegates to vote against 13 of those. Ten of the 13 items that CLC instructed its delegates to vote against carried the explicit rationale that the proposed amendment would limit social conservative influence.
Every item that CLC instructed its delegates to vote against was successfully voted down.
One of the policies the CLC managed to save was a provision removing authority from the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal to regulate, receive, investigate or adjudicate complaints related to section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.”
“The CHRC is a kangaroo court stacked with radical leftists and militant LGBT activists,” CLC wrote, “who routinely abuse the human rights complaints process in order to persecute Christians and conservatives.”
Section 13, which addressed digitally-transmitted hate messages, was already repealed in 2011 under Prime Minister Steven Harper. Nonetheless, the coalition celebrated keeping the policy alive with 51% of the vote.
CLC’s influence on electoral politics, however, extends far beyond the CPC annual convention.
The group releases a comprehensive voting guide for every election, down to school board trustees, including links to volunteer with or order lawn signs from endorsed candidates.
Candidates are ranked on a red/green/yellow traffic light-style system, with a “green” rating indicating that “the person supports CLC principles” and is “supportable;” and “red” indicating that the person is not supportable. “Green” candidates are described as “Pro-Life, Pro-Family” and “red” candidates are described as “Pro-Abortion, Pro-LGBT Ideology.”
The rating is determined through a combination of the candidate’s response to CLC’s questionnaire, their voting record, and the work of “Citizen Journalists” attempts to “force the ...candidates to divulge their position.”
In addition to directing its supporters on how to vote in the elections for school board trustees, CLC has been attempting to influence the policy and practices of not only Catholic school boards, but public school boards as well.
For example, in 2019, they launched a petition calling for the repeal of a then-recently passed motion for all elementary schools in the Greater Essex County District School Board to fly the rainbow flag for at least one week in June. The petition was signed by nearly 10,000 people, but the motion was not repealed.
Jeff Gunnarson, president of Campaign Life Coalition, described the motion as “a totalitarian, Marxist, power grab by leftist elites for the hearts and minds of the next generation, with no regard for the trauma and conflict they will cause.”