Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose says she is “upset” with Conservative leadership candidate Brad Trost’s comments about not marching in any gay pride parades.
“I’m the first Conservative Party leader to march in a gay pride parade and I was very proud to do it,” Ambrose said in an interview with Global News. “My message to all Canadians, specifically on this issue, is that any Canadian who is gay or lesbian is welcome in the Conservative Party.
“It upset me to see these comments because I know it is hurtful to many — even some of our staff — who happen to be gay. And members of our party.”
In an email sent out Monday night to supporters and a Facebook message published Tuesday morning, Trost encouraged people to sign up in the dying hours before yesterday’s deadline to register as a party member and help choose the next leader.
“I have not marched in any ‘gay pride’ parade,” Trost wrote, adding quotations around “gay pride” in the message.
Trost staffer Mike Patton tweeted out a video explaining Trost’s position on pride parades in more detail saying, “In case you haven’t noticed, Brad’s not entirely comfortable with the whole gay thing.”
Ambrose wouldn’t say whether or not Trost’s comments could hurt the Conservative brand, but said that ultimately, party members will have the final say.
“Mr. Trost is running for the leadership and it will be our members that make that decision, and I’m going to leave it up to them. I have a lot of faith in them.”
“What I say to anyone who is gay and lesbian is, ‘We will defend your rights as a minority, but we are also going to reduce your taxes.’ And that’s what I focus on. I focus on the economic benefits that a Conservative movement could bring to this country.”
In an interview Wednesday, Trost said he was “arguing for the traditional conservative position” on gay marriage.
“It’s been fairly well-known that a large number of Conservatives have historically been socially conservative, and marching in a gay pride parade is a way of endorsing things like gay marriage,” Trost said.