Politician who thinks being LGBT is a ‘choice’ banned from running for Tory leadership

Potential Tory leadership candidate Richard Décarie thinks being LGBT is a choice

A politician who said he believes that being LGBT+ is a “choice” has been banned from running for leader of the Canadian Conservative party.

Until this year Richard Décarie, who served as deputy chief of staff to Stephen Harper when he was leader of the opposition in the 2000s, was a little-known Tory politician.

But in January he made headlines for anti-LGBT+ comments, around the same time that he announced he was planning a bid for leadership of the Conservative party. 

In an interview with CTV’s Power Play, Décarie said he would “defund abortion” and that the “real people” he meets agree that same-sex marriage should not be allowed.

When the interviewer pointed out that LGBT+ people are “real people too”, he said: “I think LGBTQ is a liberal term. I don’t talk about people that way.”

Then, asked if he thought being LGBT+ was a choice, Décarie responded: “I think it’s a choice and how people are behaving is one thing.

“I think government has a responsibility to encourage the traditional values that we have had for the past years.

“That’s the kind of so-con [socially conservative] issues that I would bring as a leader.”

According to Global News, Décarie submitted his application for leadership of the Conservative party correctly and was interviewed by the party, as per the rules.

But the Canadian Conservative party has now rejected his bid to join the leadership race.

Political figures both within and outside of his party had called for him to be banned from the race following his anti-LGBT+ comments, but no official reason has been given for the rejection.

Former Tory minister Peter MacKay, who also announced his leadership campaign, wrote on Twitter: “Being gay is not a choice and nobody should be running for office on a platform to roll back hard-won rights.”

Décarie wrote on Twitter: “No reasons were provided to me by the committee.

“It seems my candidacy was viewed as a threat to the establishment of the CPC… Thus far I was the only candidate who took a strong position in support of traditional marriage and who proposed to defund abortion federally as health care.”


Décarie’s comment that being LGBT+ is a choice is not the first time he has made anti-LGBT+ remarks.

In 2017, he wrote on Twitter that LGBT-inclusive education had a “hidden global agenda… that degenerates young minds”, and said that trans children “do not exist”.

Canadian Conservative party members will elect a new leader on June 27, 2020.