Andrew Scheer owes Canadians “the truth” on his stance

S-D-SG NDP candidate Kelsey Catherine Schmitz is pictured here at the Victoria Street Café in Chesterville, just days before officially sewing up her party’s nomination on Aug. 25. The Café is a key meeting place for the local NDP campaign in the coming federal election. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

The Editor:

I support the rights of women and those of the LGBTQ2+ community.

See how easy that is to say? Simple words that mean I believe in basic human rights. 

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. 

What everyone wants to know is why?

Why won’t he stand up and clearly voice his support for the LGBTQ2+ community and the rights of women? 

I can only guess his motives and nothing I can come up with is positive.

In my campaign, I have already enjoyed open dialogue with many people of my riding. The most frequent concerns I hear are the fear of cuts like those happening at the provincial level, access to affordable housing, and the deep need for universal access to health care from head to toe. However many also want to know where I stand on women’s rights and LGBTQ2+ issues.

As the NDP candidate for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, 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. 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 like conversion therapy.

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.

Canada’s NDP believes in women’s and LGBTQ2+ rights; we believe in the beauty of diversity, and fighting for everyday people, so they feel safe, healthy, and welcomed. Strong policy on these issues means acknowledging that we can do more and should do more to help our vulnerable population, like eliminating the blood donation ban for gay men, and ensuring all Canadian women have access to reproductive health care.

Supporting women’s rights also means giving families the support they need, including access to low-cost childcare and ensuring safe housing is an affordable, achievable right. Canada’s NDP is the party of Tommy Douglas and universal healthcare for Canadians. Together we stand up for a diverse Canada that cares about its people, justice, hope and love. 

I always loved the quote You have to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything. To me it’s a reminder of who I am and to live in a way that shows that to the world. I believe in basic human rights for all. I believe in never being a bystander. The best thing you can do to help others is to step up, and speak out. We need to do better, to ensure that all people feel safe to be themselves in the diverse and beautiful country that we call home.

So, I challenge Scheer to take a page from my meagre book and tell the people of Canada the truth. 

All the country is asking for is honesty. Is that really so hard?

Kelsey Catherine Schmitz
NDP Candidate for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry

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