News / Edmonton

LGBT for UCP? Group throws its support behind Alberta's new right wing party

Toronto-based LGBTory says United Conservative Party looks inclusive and welcoming

A photo shows shadows of participants dancing in front of a rainbow flag during the LGBT Pride parade in Barcelona on July 8.

PAU BARRENA / AFP

A photo shows shadows of participants dancing in front of a rainbow flag during the LGBT Pride parade in Barcelona on July 8.

It may seem counterintuitive, but one LGBTQ group is throwing its support behind Alberta’s United Conservative Party (UCP).

On Thursday, LGBTory congratulated the newly formed UCP, calling it a party that is welcoming to members of the LGBTQ community.  

“We sort of were taking a wait-and-see attitude to see what emerged from the vote, because we did have some concerns about some LGBT policies that both the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties had going into the merger,” said LGBTory spokesperson Eric Lorenzen.

“But once the merger happened, both (leadership candidate) Brian Jean and (interim leader) Nathan Cooper made unequivocal statements that they were putting that behind them and that the party was going to be open and welcoming to all people, including LGBT people.”

The group had concerns about Cooper’s past as a member of the anti-gay Canada Family Action, but they were reassured after he said in a press conference that his views on those issues have changed.

Cooper also echoed controversial comments by UCP leadership candidate Jason Kenney, however, saying he believes there are some cases when students in gay-straight alliances should be outed to their parents.

“We would urge Cooper to reconsider that policy because we don’t support it,” Lorenzen said.

“But having said that, he has indicated that he is willing to listen to criticism on LGBT issues and he has changed his position on that. So I guess I’d say we’re hopeful that he’ll listen to advice on that file.”

LGBTory also commended Jean and Cooper for committing to attend the Calgary Pride Parade in September.

Other LGBTQ advocates have been less forgiving, however. AltView Foundation Executive Director Bryan Mortensen recently told Metro that Cooper’s appointment shows the UCP is “completely tone deaf" and shows the party doesn't care about LGBTQ people.

Lorenzen said the group’s members support the free market, personal responsibility and individual rights, and are working to support social progressive ideals within Canada’s right-wing parties.

“We don’t deny the fact that there are problematic elements in conservative parties, but we think we’re evolving in the right direction,” he said.

More on Metronews.ca