Duncan responds to NDP letter on LGBTQ2S+ rights

Image of Shawna O'Neill
By Shawna O'Neill
Duncan responds to NDP letter on LGBTQ2S+ rights
Eric Duncan at a campaign rally on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 (Nick Seebruch/ Seaway News).

CORNWALL & SDSG, Ontario – NDP candidate for Cornwall and SDSG Kelsey Schmitz released an open letter on Wednesday, Aug. 28 in response to CPC candidate Eric Duncan’s comments to national media concerning Andrew Scheer’s stance on LGBTQ2S+ rights in Canada.

In her letter, Schmitz questioned why Scheer won’t ‘clearly voice his support for the LGBTQ2S+ community and the rights of women.’

“Andrew Scheer has been tiptoeing around the topic, unable or unwilling to commit to a stance on these important issues and even now relies on others to defend him when he has a national platform he can access easily,” said Schmitz.

“We’re ready to go for the election and I wouldn’t be running if I had any inkling, whatsoever, that I wasn’t welcomed or my sexual orientation wasn’t welcome in the Conservative Party,” said Duncan recently to national media. Duncan has been openly gay for two years now.

“People have different ways of expressing their support for the community,” he said, adding that he has never attended a Pride parade.

Duncan maintained in his comments to national media that actions speak louder than words and Scheer contributed to the 2017 public apology in the House of Commons pertaining to how the federal government had treated the community in the past.

“As the NDP candidate for SDSG, the same riding Conservative candidate Eric Duncan is running in, I strongly believe that leadership means you need to be present and listen to those you are representing,” said Schmitz. “If you aren’t showing up at pivotal community events, such as Pride and diversity focused programming, you aren’t hearing from those you should be fighting for. If you aren’t speaking up for them, you aren’t standing against controversial issues…”

“When we do not speak out and help create a safe, open society for diverse people, we leave people behind.  People shouldn’t have to hide who they are for years, as Ottawa’s Mayor Jim Watson felt he had to, because those in leadership only focus on their personal values instead of listening to those they represent,” added Schmitz.

Schmitz discussed how Canada’s NDP party believes in women’s and LGBTQ2+ rights, and encourages diversity, health and safety. She is proud that her party takes a strong stance on policy issues, and believes that more can be done for the population, such as ensuring all Canadian women have access to reproductive health care and eliminating the blood donation ban for gay men. Schmitz challenged Scheer to open and honest on the topic in his platform.

“My leader has addressed this issue. I refer you to his comments. I also will refer you to my previous national media comments from earlier this week, which remain the same,” said Duncan to Seaway News.

Schmitz’s letter can be found here.

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