Sexual Diversity, Religious Moblization, and Moral Traditionalism in the Ontario Party System, 1986-2013
37 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2014
Date Written: 2014
The 1980s began a gradual process of faith realignment in Ontario’s provincial politics. Where once Liberals and Progressive Conservatives were drawing disproportionate support from Catholics and Protestants, the PCs came to serve as a pole of attraction for religious traditionalists across denomination, a position they still occupy. Attracting and retaining this constituency presented a challenge similar to that facing their federal counterpart. The socially conservative leanings of the party’s caucus might have translated into signaling support for this electoral constituency on the abortion issue, but the party’s leadership has resolutely avoided that issue. It was easier, and for a time less electorally risky, to stake out a conservative position on sexual diversity issues. After the 2011 election there seemed fewer opportunities to do so, and more electoral costs. This does not eliminate the challenge facing the PCs in retaining an important core of supporters, and therefore does not eliminate faith as a factor in provincial electoral politics, but religion is playing an even subtler role in the future than it has until very recently.
Keywords: Ontario, party politics, religion, sexual diversity
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