Calabogie – Calabogie – A long-time Conservative, who spent several years as a volunteer on the local Tory riding association and is proud to be a card-carrying member of the federal Conservative Party of Canada, said the time has come for MP Cheryl Gallant to resign due to her inappropriate statements in a video, among them being that Liberals want to normalize sexual activity with children.
“That statement is inexcusable,” Bill Beacham told the Leader. “She painted all Liberals with the same brush and although she said her statement was taken out of context, the damage was done. It gives me no pleasure in calling for Cheryl Gallant to resign.”
Although no longer directly involved in the local association due to health reasons, he is immensely proud of the various roles he performed as a volunteer and said local Conservatives should be proud they helped Mrs. Gallant win seven consecutive elections. Whether it was serving as financial officer for the riding association or emptying garbage cans after a political event or delivering turkeys to raise funds, he said he holds no malice towards her nor does he have an axe to grind.
“I have nothing against her and I have worked alongside her over the years, but I think I speak for many when I say her time has passed and instead of leading by example, she is promoting conspiracy theories. She has been elected or re-elected seven times and has represented Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke for over 20 years in Parliament. She is currently the longest serving woman in the Conservative caucus."
Mr. Beacham said Mrs. Gallant enjoys tremendous support in the riding and one would hope that after 20 years as a politician she would have earned the title of “elder statesman”.
“Unfortunately Mrs. Gallant continues to make hyper political statements that contributes to the current polarization and divisiveness in Canada,” he said. “It is not helpful, in my opinion, to the Conservative Party of Canada.”
Mr. Beacham admits he struggled when coming to his decision to publicly call on her to resign, while at the same time calling on Conservative leader Erin O’Toole to address the matter. He understands Mr. O’Toole likely has bigger “fish to fry”, but he said at the very least he should allow a nomination process well before any future election. In his opinion an open and fair nomination meeting should take place to not only present a new candidate for an upcoming election, but it will allow fresh ideas to be introduced among the local membership.
“I am disappointed with Mrs. Gallant’s recent controversy and at the same time I am also disappointed by the inaction of Mr. O’Toole,” he said. “I have written letters to both of them and I have yet to receive any reply. I even called Mrs. Gallant’s office out of respect for her and asked her to contact me so that she can explain her actions to see if there is any rationale behind her series of allegations against the Liberals and her continued promotion of baseless conspiracy theories. I have yet to hear back from her and it is for that reason I decided to publicly call for her resignation.”
Perhaps what disappoints him most is the forum where she made the statements. The video, which was posted by Liberal MP Jennifer O’Connell on her YouTube page, was made earlier this year when she was interacting in a virtual meeting with members of the Queen’s University Conservative Club based in Kingston.
While talking to the students she made several other outrageous claims including that Liberals are "radicals" who want all illicit drugs to be legal. She also promoted a conspiracy theory that "cultural Marxists" have taken over every university administration and are silencing free speech on campuses. She also claimed the ‘elites’ call the university takeover as part of a great reset or build back better or green new deal. She said the names change but the goal remains the same and that means more power for the powerful and less freedom for everyone else.
Up until the last month, Mrs. Gallant has remained relatively quiet and has rarely spoken in a public forum since the 2019 federal election. Over the years, she has made several outlandish statements that have drawn national media attention and caused embarrassment for her fellow caucus members and the various leaders of her party. On more than one occasion she has been forced by the Leader’s Office to issue public apologies, sometimes on the floor of the House of Commons.
When asked why she has suddenly resumed her habit of getting national attention for controversial statements, Mr. Beacham could only guess at the reason.
“In my opinion, I think she actually believes these wild conspiracy theories,” he said. “That in itself should be a good sign that it is time for her to step aside. Even if she issued an apology today for her actions, it is too late for that.
“She is not some rookie making a first-time mistake. She knows better. Instead of using her experience to help promote the values of the Conservative Party, especially to impressionable university students, she is only adding to the divisiveness of today’s politics. I find no joy in calling for the current MP to resign.”
Bruce McIntyre, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader