This week the Hill Times published an interview with me regarding my new book Religion and Canadian Party Politics, which I co-wrote with David Rayside and Jerald Sabin. We talked about our major arguments in the book, the first of which is that despite mass secularization, religion still shapes political outcomes in Canada. Second, we also contend that Canada has gone through three major stages of interaction between religion and politics:
- the original conflict between Protestants and Catholics;
- the later conflict between progressive social reformers and religious conservatives over issues like abortion and same-sex marriage;
- and the emerging axis of contention between those who support the recognition and accommodation for religious minorities and those who wish to limit their rights, for instance on matters of religious dress.
In addition to the book, we also talked about the new research that David, Jerald, and I conducted into how these conflicts played out in the 2016-2017 Conservative Party of Canada leadership campaign. By studying the communications from the leadership contestants, we found that even those candidates who did not demonstrate a personal faith still sought to frame their policy ideals in a way that might resonate with social conservatives. For instance, Maxime Bernier criticized Canadian support for abortion in developing countries as part of his call to end all foreign aid except for emergency humanitarian assistance.
I’m enormously thankful to Laura Ryckewaert for taking the time to speak with me, and to the Hill Times for devoting so much space to our talk.