Alberta Politics
Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan MP Garnett Genuis (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Say what? Conservative Alberta MP’s riding association buys pro-life transit ads in Vancouver

Posted on November 02, 2020, 1:54 am
7 mins

Regardless of exactly how Garnett Genuis’s Vancouver bus advertisement asking how there can be too many children was paid for, the Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan MP well known for his vocal opposition to reproductive rights and the Conservative Party of Canada should both have some explaining to do.

Mr. Genuis boasted about the appearance of the ad in a tweet yesterday, which was the first most people around his riding just east of Edmonton had heard about it.

One of Mr. Genuis’s riding association’s advertisements on a Vancouver bus (Photo: Twitter).

The ad, featuring a photo of three adorable toddlers and an infant, quotes Mother Theresa asking, “How can there be too many children? That is like saying there are too many flowers.”

Critics immediately jumped on the ads arguing their intent was to attack the right of Canadian women to reproductive freedom.

For his part, the 33-year-old MP offered a different explanation, claiming to be countering a “false population control narrative” and standing up for families.

According to the Mr. Genuis, well known for his opposition to reproductive rights, the advertisement was just countering a message that he says appeared on earlier bus advertisements seen in Vancouver. He has also argued that calls to restrict family size are often motivated by racism.

But as one blunt response to that claim put it: “‘Countering the false population control narrative’? Do you think you’re being clever? Everyone knows these are pro-life ads with the intended effect to reduce women’s reproductive rights.”

What really raised eyebrows in Mr. Genuis’s riding and beyond was the statement, clearly visible on the ad, that it was “sponsored by contributors to the Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan Conservative Riding Association.”

This had B.C. residents wondering, “Why is the Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan (Alberta) Conservative Riding Association sponsoring ads on buses in Vancouver, B.C.?” Good question. Maybe its members think the West Coast metropolis is too liberal.

Conservative Party of Canada Leader Erin O’Toole in 2014 (Photo: Manning Centre).

Now, the funding explanation in the ad is somewhat ambiguous, probably intentionally. Does it mean the ads were paid for directly with tax-deductible political donations? Or merely that they were paid for by people who also happened to be contributors to Mr. Genuis’s election campaign?

Certainly, these natural questions gave Mr. Genuis an opportunity to provide a link to his bloviations on the topic in the Post Millennial, the far-right website that appears to exist largely to attack Justin Trudeau, the Liberal government in Ottawa, and ride social conservative hobbyhorses. This has earned it the love of politicians like Andrew Scheer, the former Conservative Party of Canada leader who touted it to supporters after losing last year’s federal election.

In another tweet, Mr. Genuis said “our response was fully crowd-funded.” If so, though, why was the constituency association even mentioned?

This suggests, at least, that Mr. Genuis, whose name is not spelled genius, was trying to be clever.

Remember, about this time last year he was in hot water for raising the abortion issue, along with Alberta separatism, in a flyer poll mailed to his constituents at a time when the Conservatives then led by Mr. Scheer kept insisting the issue was — nudge, nudge, wink, wink — settled.

Perhaps the funding questions about the ad could have been asked back on Oct. 8, when Mr. Genuis clearly signalled his intentions in the House of Commons. “My riding association is fighting back,” he told inattentive MPs and Press Gallery members that day. “We are taking out ads on buses in Vancouver…”

Alas, no one thought to ask, “Say what? How are you paying for these ads? Are any House of Commons funds or resources being used to raise the money? How was the pitch delivered to CPC donors in the riding? Is buying ads in Vancouver appropriate behaviour for an Alberta MP?” And so on.

Oh well, the days are long gone when Alberta news operations kept their own reporters in nation’s capital to keep an eye on the province’s MPs. Why bother? They’re mostly all on the same team anyway.

Likewise, since the Conservative Party of Canada has a new leader who says he’s trying to increase the size of the party’s ever more restrictive tent, this is bound to raise the issue again of where it actually stands on reproductive rights.

Erin O’Toole has billed himself as a pro-choice MP — although his voting record is somewhat mixed on the issue. He’s also said he wants to ensure the Conservative Party reflects the interests of more Canadians than just the social conservatives and market fundamentalists who have increasingly dominated it in recent years.

Mr. Genuis’s gambit into West Coast advertising raises the question of just how serious Mr. O’Toole is about this.

Is he going to make excuses for MPs like Mr. Genuis, singularly focussed on social conservative issues and inclined to get up to embarrassing nonsense like this dog-whistling Vancouver bus ad?

If so, that sounds like an excellent way for the Conservatives to alienate voters in Canada’s largest cities.

9 Comments to: Say what? Conservative Alberta MP’s riding association buys pro-life transit ads in Vancouver

  1. J. Oberlin

    November 2nd, 2020

    So Albertans are pissed at the UCP cuts yet they will still elect Federal Conservatives!? Yes, they are all one grand party! Are you aware that #shpk #fortsask CPC MP Garnett Genuis wholeheartedly supports the UCP agenda of cuts to health and public education. He has always sought to federally impose his religious morality on our secular society, for example reproductive healthcare choices – he seems to think women are not smart enough to make decisions regarding their own bodies and actively recruits antichoice politicians on municipal, provincial and federal levels. He forces his own regressive, outdated ideology into his work such as forming the Alberta chapter of Parents for Choice in Education. Last week Genuis argued against Conversion Therapy in the HoC but cowardly didn’t register his vote. Research will inform you that both Genuis and Kenney are religious zealots, Dominionist Christians, and paleolibertarians (research the IDU and their chairman, Stephen Harper). Just like Trump has done in the US, Kenney is in the process of installing a theocratic kleptocracy that will take over the rest of Canada if CPC gets elected. This is what happens when Christo Fascists are elected.

  2. Dave in Sask

    November 2nd, 2020

    Ads of any kind by a riding association or MP should at the very least start in his own riding or at least a paper serving his/her riding. Then if the riding wants it to get more coverage then go in other media in the province the MP is from, finally if more coverage is sought, go national.

    To do it the way it was done is chicken hearted as though not wanting to make local support peed off by thinking about the subject.

  3. Abs

    November 2nd, 2020

    The C-mafia strikes again.

  4. Political Ranger

    November 2nd, 2020

    There are 2 – 3 times as many humans on the globe as can be supported by anything resembling nature.
    These guys (conservatives) are all ignorant frauds.

  5. Just Me

    November 2nd, 2020

    It’s clear that Genuis ain’t no genius.

    I have wondered why B.C. hates Alberta; now, I know that it’s all Alberta’s fault. No surprise.

    I came across a recent develop where the Angry Midget was trying to explain why Alberta cannot accept (the UCP refuses to use) the federal Covid tracking app. While Kenney went into some highly-convoluted justification for this latest crazy, he managed to get no where explaining away the nonsense of the UCP’s decision. In the end, it all came across to the listener as more of the irrationale why Kenney wants a Alberta-only pension plan and provincial police force — he hates Ottawa and doesn’t want PMJT to get anymore credit for doing the right thing for Albertans.

    The level of the Angry Midget’s crazy is becoming so weird, maybe he should just slip himself back into quarantine, until he can make up his mind to go back to Ottawa, where he’s truly happy.

  6. Joan

    November 2nd, 2020

    Well of course there can be too many flowers. If you plant too many flowers, they will not have enough sun or soil or water. They will grow up weak and stunted. So his real message is that we wants our children to be weak and stunted.

  7. Jim

    November 3rd, 2020

    I think this poor man, apparently an MP, has been watching a little too much American media. There is a lot of that going around these days, you can tell when no one understands outside the small echo chamber what the hell they are saying. We don’t seem to have anyone advocating things like what Virginia Governor Northam has been quoted saying. Hopefully that kind of thing doesn’t cross the border with the flood of refugees after tomorrows election.
    I would be interested to know what the limits are for spending tax deductible contributions are if any. Maybe when Allen is done tracking down those foreigners Kenney is always taking about he can take up the task….

  8. Dave

    November 3rd, 2020

    This is indeed strange, Mr. Genuis seems a bit out of his natural habitat with transit ads in Vancouver, leading me to wonder what prompted it and if he is a stable Genuis or not. Vancouver is not even a common stop over on the flight from Edmonton to Ottawa.

    I suspect Mr. O’Toole will do nothing about this. I wonder if this is a push back from social conservatives, a testing of the limits under the new leader or perhaps a bit of both. Well, they probably were not going to win a lot of seats in metro Vancouver anyways, although this surely doesn’t help.

    It also does cause one to wonder if the Socons are still in charge despite Mr. O’Toole’s more friendly modern face currently at the front of the Conservative store. Even if he is genuinely trying to lead his party in a different direction, it already seems there is some reluctance to follow.


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