June 19th, 2024

Liberal MP ‘surprised’ social conservative felt ‘ambushed’ by questions on abortion

By The Canadian Press on June 5, 2024.

The Liberal MP who questioned Arnold Viersen, a Conservative backbencher well-known for his opposition to abortion, says he's surprised Viersen said he felt "ambushed" by his queries on his record. Viersen listens to a speaker during a news conference in Ottawa, Thursday, May 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA – The Liberal MP who invited a Conservative backbencher onto his podcast says he’s surprised the Conservative described feeling “ambushed” by queries about his long-standing and well-known opposition to abortion.

Nate Erskine-Smith says he’s less surprised, however, to see Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre distance himself from Alberta MP Arnold Viersen’s comments.

During his appearance on Erskine-Smith’s podcast, Viersen discussed his social-conservative views on issues like abortion and gay marriage, which he said he would vote against if given the opportunity.

At the start of the episode, Erskine-Smith read a letter he says he received from Viersen after the interview, in which the MP said he felt “ambushed” by the questions.

His comments prompted Poilievre to issue a statement through his office, saying Viersen’s comments do not represent his or the party’s views on either abortion or gay marriage, which he says a future Conservative government would not touch.

Poilievre met today with his caucus for the first time since the issue emerged, providing MPs with the chance to address the matter in person, behind closed doors.

Erskine-Smith told reporters today he was surprised by the sentiments in Viersen’s letter, given the amount of advocacy the MP has done for what he calls the “pre-born.”

Viersen’s office has not yet responded to a request for comment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 5,2024.

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