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Sunday, April 14, 2024
Letter to the editor: A liberal defence of Tory Sam Oosterhoff


Dear editor:

Sam Oosterhoff, the MPP from Niagara West, made himself all sorts of political enemies last week.

The sharks are circling around this young Tory lad. First he called the police on an ostensibly angry mob of septuagenarian bibliophiles storming the Bastille of his Beamsville constituency office. Then, to make matters worse for himself, he spoke at a pro-life rally, and he said he wants to make abortion “unthinkable” in this province.

If the Southern Ontario Library Service has a sense of humour it should interlibrary loan this boy a copy of a book on how to be politically correct in 2019.

I write with the intention of defending Oosterhoff at the political philosophy level. I write as a classical liberal, but I will defend a Tory. Regrettably, most people who call themselves “liberal” today have forgotten what liberalism actually stands for.

Oosterhoff has done the “unthinkable” in politics; he has committed a thought crime, especially against a group like feminists, a sacred cow group. You can’t criticize these people.

Poor Oosterhoff is going to be relegated to the classes of neo-Nazis, bigots, homophobes, misogynists, Islamophobes, xenophobes, white supremacists and all the other neologisms invented by the phobia-fighters of the left.

So let me give Oosterhoff some philosophical defences. Defending dissenters is an important aspect of Canada’s system of parliamentary government.

For example, Wayne Gates, the MPP whose riding includes Niagara-on-the-Lake, attacked Oosterhoff on Facebook with a weak post. The opening post was something like this: abortion has already been debated; the debate is now long over; it is time to move on.

But Gates’ view is contrary to how the Westminster system of government works.

“Even more important is that in the Westminster process decisions are not final,” writes McMaster political scientist Janet Ajzenstat in her book, The Canadian Founding: John Locke and Parliament. She goes on to say that this process of decision-making best conforms to the “equality principle” and that “it is difficult to imagine one that is more inclusive.”

Equality! Inclusivity! My goodness, the Westminster system of government sounds like the leftist ideal. (It really isn’t).

So even if one completely supports abortion rights, Oosterhoff still has a right as an MPP to continue this debate as long as he wants to.

We should never pass a “permanent law” to end a controversial debate because it is, quite frankly, tyrannical. For example, just before the southern states seceded from the Union, some Americans proposed an “unamendable” amendment to the Constitution. If it had passed, the United States would still be a slaveholding nation in 2019.

Second, if Oosterhoff is going to be crucified by all those opprobrious terms I mentioned earlier (Nazi, misogynist, etc.), then, I think he should fight back in the time-honoured tradition of fighting fire with fire.

Take, for example, International Women’s Day celebrated on March 8. I bet that most people think this is a great idea — we should celebrate strong women, inclusiveness, diversity, equality and all of that mellifluous stuff. But why should we celebrate a Soviet holiday? Why do we pay homage to Lenin? (If you think I am making this up, please see: https://daily.jstor.org/the-socialist-origins-of-international-womens-day)

So in conclusion, Sam Oosterhoff, if your opponents start throwing swastikas at you in order to defame your name and to silence you, then you can throw a few hammers and sickles right back at them.

Neil Tokar


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