© THE GUARDIAN/Nigel Armstrong
Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay greets supporters after his nomination meeting Monday, which had to change location at the last minute to Red's Corner hotel in Poole's Corner after the original meeting at a Roman Catholic church hall was suddenly denied by the parish.
Church group slams door on Cardigan MP to respect the wishes of local parishioners?
The Gospel of John teaches “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone …” The story dealt with a woman who committed adultery and those ready to stone her to death were shamed into slinking away after being exposed as hypocrites.
Recent comments by Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay apparently are unacceptable for the good folk of St. Joachim’s Parish in Vernon River. Mr. MacAulay is pro-life, and has maintained that position throughout his 25-year career in Parliament. But when called out by his new leader, Justin Trudeau, he reversed himself last week, saying he would follow party policy and vote to support legislation arising from a 1988 Charter of Rights and Freedoms ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada.
The chances of any abortion bill ever coming forward this year or any year in the near future are remote. Like every government and Parliament since the court ruling in 1988, the issue is really a non-starter. Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he won’t re-open the debate. Who knows what Mr. Trudeau will do should he ever become prime minister? Mr. MacAulay said he will follow the law of the land over his personal beliefs and conscience — and support a woman’s right to choose.
In hindsight, Mr. MacAulay could have said he remains pro-life, and on the remote chance an abortion bill should ever come up for debate and a vote, he would follow his conscience and either abstain or vote no. That would have saved him a lot of grief at home.
But he didn’t. And that reversal was deemed unacceptable for the group who rents out the hall in Vernon River. Two days before Mr. MacAulay’s nominating meeting on Monday, his riding executive was informed the hall was not available “in respect of parishioners’ wishes.” The story attracted close to 100 comments on The Guardian’s website — the same number as attended his convention. The majority of comments were critical of Mr. MacAulay. Other straw polls conducted by media were more forgiving; with a majority saying they will continue to support the longtime MP in recognition of his body of work over 25 years.
Some web comments alluded to the murky division between church and state. A week earlier, Education Minister Alan McIsaac held his nominating convention in the same facility without incident.
The parish group is in the business of renting the hall. Is it now also screening applications to determine what group or members of that group are deemed morally acceptable? Will the next permit be screened as diligently as the one from MacAulay’s federal association?
Some will applaud the committee for sacrificing money in favour of taking a moral stand. Others will view the committee as resembling the crowd in John’s Gospel.
Support beach sweep
The P.E.I. Aquaculture Alliance and other partners in the first Shoreline Beach Sweep which launches today are to be applauded for their support in cleaning up bays and estuaries across the province. The project took its inspiration from the annual Women’s Institute spring roadside cleanup but shifts the focus on collecting garbage which litters our shorelines. There is nothing more unappealing than walking along a sandy beach on a beautiful summer’s evening and coming across a pile of garbage. Mother Nature washes some of the flotsam and jetsam onto our shorelines but all too often litter from Islanders and visitors are the culprit. Dumpsters are being placed at various wharves and harbours around the Island to assist in the collection of the shoreline litter. Islanders are urged to help out in the cleanup.