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This article was published 19/6/2015 (2197 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
OTTAWA – A former Liberal candidate and party organizer from Winnipeg has torn up his Liberal membership card because the party voted in favour of the anti-terrorism legislation.
Victor Andres, who ran for the Liberals in 2011 in Kildonan-St. Paul, and unsuccessfully sought the nomination again for this upcoming election, issued a letter today saying he could no longer remain a Liberal because bill C-51 because he "simply cannot abide the support for C-51."
"Siding with Mr. Harper in support of C-51, even with promises of changes (if elected), was the equivalent of being blindsided and hit by a speeding car while enjoying lunch on an outdoor patio," he wrote. "I just did not see it coming at all. Needless to say I was crushed."
The Liberals voted in favour of the anti-terror bill, which received royal assent this week. Leader Justin Trudeau qualified his support saying he intends to amend the bill if elected to introduce more oversight. Trudeau told the Ottawa Citizen earlier this week he doesn’t regret that position, even though some think it has contributed to the Liberals falling polling numbers and growing support for the NDP, which voted against the bill.
"We took a position based on what is in the best interests of Canadians," said Trudeau. "And ultimately this is a line of work in which you have to know that if you’re making decisions and taking positions that are reasonable and that flow from your values and your fundamental principles, then people will make informed choices."
The bill has been controversial since it was introduced last year. It makes a number of sweeping changes, including making ít a new criminal code offence to promote terrorism, giving new powers to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to actually disrupt terror plots and terrorist activities, not just collect information about them.
Andres said the bill "represents an onerous and unnecessary attack on our individual rights and liberties, an opinion which is shared by hundreds of legal scholars, past prime ministers and civil liberty associations throughout our country."
Andres accused Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau of helping Harper to fulfill his goal to change Canada significantly.
Andres has been active on social media pushing against C-51 and was active with www.stopc51.ca.
Dougald Lamont, who worked with Andres on Robert-Falcon Ouellette’s mayoral campaign last year, said he disagrees with the position and doesn’t think what Andres is doing is a sign of deep unrest among Manitoba Liberals.
"There have been people upset by this, but Victor especially so," said Lamont. "It was really important to him."
Andres, however, is not the first to walk away from the Liberals over C-51. Earlier this month, a Nova Scotia candidate withdrew from the election because of C-51.
Andres is a longtime Manitoba Liberal. He finished a distant third in the 2011 election, behind winner Conservative Joy Smith and NDP Rachel Devine.
Text of Andres’s letter
As a past volunteer and / or supporter of my previous political endeavors, I feel obliged to share with you the reason for my recent, and very difficult decision to leave the Liberal Party of Canada.
Words cannot express my gratitude to you for your past efforts as a volunteer or supporter either on my campaign as the candidate for Kildonan St. Paul in 2011, or on my nomination campaign in 2014. I was truly inspired by your enthusiasm, your financial generosity, your hard work and by the authenticity in your desire for change. I have had the privilege of meeting many wonderful human beings and have made many friends within the party. I will miss seeing you, and everyone else at the usual political functions, as I will no longer be attending.
Some have questioned my political acumen in openly criticizing the Liberal Party of Canada’s stance on the so called Anti Terrorism Bill,C51, suggesting I am scuttling my chances of upward mobility within the party apparatus, and perhaps thwarting any hopes of a future in politics. I have told them as I say to you, that political acumen and calculations never entered into my decision making on this issue. In fact, personal interests have been set aside, as have any political aspirations. I, along with many Canadians, simply cannot abide the support for C51. I am no longer able to support Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada since his decision to vote with Prime Minister Harper in support of this nefarious piece of legislation.
I recognize that no one political party can ever satisfy all of its members with everything it does, nor is it necessary for all members to agree with everything their party does, but for me personally, this one was a deal breaker. This bill represents an onerous and unnecessary attack on our individual rights and liberties, an opinion which is shared by hundreds of legal scholars, past Prime Ministers and civil liberty associations throughout our country.
In 2006, Stephen Harper proclaimed, "You won’t recognize Canada when I’m through with it." I never thought in my worst fears, that Justin Trudeau and the LPC would ever be complicit in assisting Mr. Harper in that regard. Siding with Mr. Harper in support of C51, even with promises of changes (if elected), was the equivalent of being blindsided and hit by a speeding car while enjoying lunch at an outdoor patio. I just did not see it coming at all. Needless to say, I was crushed.
As an active past member, who genuinely enjoyed helping as an organizer, as a recruiter, fundraiser and canvasser, to name a few campaign related activities, I now find myself unable to square my own personal values with Justin Trudeau’s stance on C51, and as such am unable to ethically justify any expenditure of time, energy or resources to assist the Liberal Party of Canada as it prepares for the election this coming October, 2015. It follows then for all these reasons, regrettably, and with a heavy heart, that remaining a member is simply impossible for me.
Thank you again for all of your past support, and your present understanding of my decision. I wish you and your family the best of health and happiness