A Green Party election candidate says the Progressive Conservatives should not have let Christian conservative activist Faytene Grasseschi be a candidate in this year's provincial election.
Laura Myers, the Green candidate in Hampton-Fundy-St. Martins, says the PC Party should have rejected Grasseschi's bid to run in the riding because of her past writings about issues including same-sex marriage.
Laura Myers, the Green candidate in Hampton-Fundy-St. Martins, says the PC party should have rejected Grasseschi's bid to run in the riding because of her past writings about issues including same-sex marriage. (Submitted by Laura Myers)
"I don't think she should have been someone who was allowed to run," Myers said.
In Marked, a book published in 2009, Grasseschi wrote that the legalization of same-sex marriage "gave sodomistic strongholds greater leverage and greater access over the mindsets of the citizens of Canada."
She suggested the 2005 change could lead to people marrying animals, including "man and dog, woman and fish," and said she would continue fighting to reverse it.
"The dialogue regarding the legal definition of marriage is not a dead one. There are no dead issues as long as they live in the hearts of people and those people are willing to act — prayerfully act is even better," she wrote.
Grasseschi would not do an interview Monday but said in an email statement that the quotation from the book is from "decades ago" and "has been misconstrued to misrepresent the value, dignity, and worth that I believe every single human has."
"I respect our laws, and even more so I respect every person for who they are," Grasseschi wrote.
"If elected MLA for Hampton-Fundy-St. Martins, I will respectfully represent all my constituents.
The longtime social conservative activist and broadcaster was nominated as the PC candidate for Hampton-Fundy-St. Martins in December.
Earlier in the year, she recruited supporters to back Premier Blaine Higgs on his changes to Policy 713, which now requires the consent of parents of LGBTQ children under the age of 16 if they want to use a different name or pronoun in school.
UNB political scientist Donald Wright brought the book's passages to light in an opinion article published by the New Brunswick Media Co-op. (Submitted by Donald Wright)
University of New Brunswick political scientist Donald Wright said he questioned how the PC Party approved Grasseschi through its candidate vetting process.
Potential candidates must fill out a questionnaire in which they must disclose whether they've been accused of, or engaged in, "activities that promote, or could be seen to promote" discrimination or hatred, including based on sexual orientation.
Grasseschi's past writings "were red flags, and I was surprised that the Conservative Party didn't pick up on those red flags, or if they did, they didn't care about those red flags," Wright said in an interview.
Wright brought the book's passages to light in an opinion article published by the New Brunswick Media Co-op.
Grasseschi didn't respond in her email to a question about how she answered the question on the form.
Grasseschi doesn't 'remember a lot of it'
At her December nomination, she was vague when a reporter asked if she stood by the contents of the book.
"I don't even know that I even remember a lot of it, so I can't, with integrity, answer that question because I would honestly have to refresh myself," she said.
"I'll tell you what I believe right now: I believe in service, I believe in loving your neighbour as yourself, I believe in investing yourselves for the sake of the cause and for the sake of others, and that's why I'm involved."
In the book, Grasseschi apologizes to other nations for Canada's legalization of same-sex marriage and advocates bringing the country under "godly authority."
"We are to make disciples of every people, group and culture, yes … and teach nations to obey all that the Lord has commanded," she wrote.
In another passage, Grasseschi wrote, "I am now at the point where I think it is time to stop emphasizing our human rights and to start emphasizing our human responsibilities."
Premier Blaine Higgs said he expects Grasseschi to do what's right for New Brunswick 'irrespective' of her personal beliefs. (Jacques Poitras/CBC)
Premier Blaine Higgs told CBC News in December he believed Grasseschi would "separate" her religious views from her role as an MLA if she is elected.
"What I would expect would be integrity, honesty, a conviction to do what's right for the province, irrespective of of what her personal beliefs might be," he said.
Myers says that's hard to imagine, given Grasseschi suggests in the book that policy changes on abortion, divorce and homosexuality have affected the value of the Canadian dollar and the stock market.
"If you're going in, running for government, and you think these things are affecting the economy, how can you separate religion from politics?" Myers said.
PC party executive director Doug Williams did not respond to a request for a comment on the vetting process and Grasseschi's questionnaire.