Andrew Scheer‘s deputy is apologizing for comments she made in defence of the Conservative leader’s stance on not attending LGBTQ2 pride parades.
In an interview with CBC’s The House that aired Saturday, Leona Alleslev said she has marched in pride parades herself but doesn’t take issue with Scheer not doing so.
“I think that that’s obviously his choice and we live in a country where that’s his choice,” she said. “Have we asked anybody if they marched in a St. Patrick’s Day parade?”
“That’s a little different,” host Chris Hall countered.
Just after 1 p.m., she issued an apology via Twitter saying she didn’t mean to make “erroneous and hurtful comparisons.”
“I have always stood unequivocally in support of LGBTQ rights and will continue to do so in my role as deputy speaker and as a parliamentarian.”
While other federal and provincial politicians have marched in pride parades in various Canadian cities, Scheer says he has no plans to do so.
“I won’t march in parades, but I will ensure that our party is as inclusive and open and that we fight for equality rights of all Canadians,” he told Global News last month. “And that we hold the government to account for not doing more, for example, to help people who are persecuted for their sexual orientation coming to Canada.”
Alleslev was elected as a Liberal in 2015 but crossed the floor to the Conservative party in 2018. She was re-elected in her riding of Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, located in the Toronto suburbs.
Scheer named her named deputy Tory leader on Thursday.
Her comments come amid turmoil within the party over Scheer’s leadership and the Tories’ failure to defeat the Liberals in the Oct. 21 election.
Some of the criticism has centred around Scheer’s socially conservative views on LGBTQ2 rights and abortion.
On Friday, Scheer dismissed those calling for him to step down as elites and “talking heads” who know he’ll never relent in his opposition to the carbon tax.
“They think that what Canada needs is a second Liberal Party,” he said in a speech to the Alberta United Conservative Party annual general meeting.
“And you may have heard that some of these folks want me gone because they know I will never stand for that.”
—With files from The Canadian Press