Interim Conservative Party Leader Rona Ambrose is upset by Conservative leadership candidate Brad Trost’s comments about gay pride parades, Global News reports.
Ambrose called the comments “hurtful” to many Canadians and members of the party.
“I’m the first Conservative Party leader to march in a gay pride parade and I was very proud to do it,” Ambrose told Global News. “My message to all Canadians, specifically on this issue, is that any Canadian who is gay or lesbian is welcome in the Conservative Party.”
Trost sent out an email to his supporters Monday night encouraging them to sign up as party members and aid in the process of choosing the party’s next leader.
The message stated that Trost had never “marched in any ‘gay pride’ parade.” He included quotations around “gay pride” in the email and relayed the same message to Facebook followers on Tuesday morning.
Mike Patton, a staff member for Trost, explained in a Twitter video that “Brad’s not entirely comfortable with the whole gay thing.”
Trost said he is “arguing for the traditional conservative position” on gay marriage, in an interview with Global on Wednesday.
“It’s been fairly well-known that a large number of Conservatives have historically been socially conservative, and marching in a gay pride parade is a way of endorsing things like gay marriage,” Trost said.
Ambrose didn’t mention whether she thinks that Trost’s comments will damage the conservative party brand.
“Mr. Trost is running for the leadership and it will be our members that make that decision, and I’m going to leave it up to them. I have a lot of faith in them,” said Ambrose. “What I say to anyone who is gay and lesbian is, ‘We will defend your rights as a minority, but we are also going to reduce your taxes.’ And that’s what I focus on. I focus on the economic benefits that a Conservative movement could bring to this country.”