The Conservative grassroots gave party officials a clear mandate Saturday to protect children and women from radical gender ideology — but it remains unclear if the party brass will formalize it as policy.
Thousands of members voted to oppose the medical transitioning of minors (Resolution C-7) and to clearly define a woman as a "female person" (Resolution C-15).
However, both measures are non-binding. And Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre said policy decisions passed by delegates do not bind him.
"Leaders are never bound by convention resolutions, but we do take them into consideration," he told reporters.
In place of life-altering procedures, C-7 would encourage "positive mental and physical health support for all Canadians suffering from gender dysphoria and related mental health challenges" instead of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and gender reassignment surgeries.
Whereas C-15 states that "the Conservative Party of Canada believes that women are entitled to the safety, dignity, and privacy of single-sex spaces (e.g., prisons, shelters, locker rooms, washrooms) and the benefits of women-only categories (e.g., sports, awards, grants, scholarships)."
While delegates passed C-7 and C-15 with 69% and 87% support, the PPC contends the Conservative Party brass never takes a "principled position" on contentious social issues.
PPC leader Maxime Bernier, a former Conservative MP and cabinet minister, told Rebel News he had reservations about whether Poilievre would support an 'anti-woke' platform.
While visiting Nanaimo, B.C., on Tuesday, the press asked Poilievre whether he supported a ban on 'gender-affirming care' for minors.
"We've just got a whole book of new policy proposals passed through the convention," he told reporters.
"I'll be studying them carefully and talking with our caucus members on those policies, and when we've had a chance to do our homework, we'll have more to say."
On September 14, a reporter asked Poilievre whether the 'anti-woke' motions meant transgenders are not welcome in Canada by not permitting them to use the bathroom of their choice or access healthcare options as minors.
He replied: "The answer is, of course, everyone is welcome in Canada, and your question is factually wrong."
Poilievre then urged the reporter to read the policies rather than spread "disinformation."
But Bernier doesn't buy the political posturing.
"We don't know if the CPC will adopt either motion as official party policy, and we suspect Poilievre and his team still don't know either," he said.
"As they always do, they will check results of polls and focus groups before the election and decide what kind of convoluted stance is more likely to get them support among some groups of voters while costing them the least support among others."
Among the few delegates to oppose the motions, one expressed concerns of 'transphobia' on C-15, claiming they never felt threatened by biological men.
"I'm never pushed around by men, confused or not. I'm a woman, and I don't need a government to tell me I'm a woman." said the delegate. "Let's keep the Trudeau government on its heels and go after them and attack them, not give them ammunition."
On C-7, an opponent to the motion said it "infringes on decisions of private individuals" and "bodily autonomy."
The Conservative's first transgender candidate, Hannah Hodson, of Victoria, B.C., also voiced her displeasure with the motion, claiming "people [and] children are going to die in this country without access to any gender-affirming care."
While speaking with Rebel, Bernier stressed the importance of distinguishing between the party brass and the base.
"We know that many Conservative members love and envy PPC policies, and they decided to adopt a few resolutions that sound like them," he said.
During the closed-door discussions on September 8, most delegates passionately supported the resolution on supporting gender segregation in single-sex spaces and clearly defining what is a woman.
"I'm a woman, I'm a female person, we need help, we need help. Female-only zones and spaces are disappearing in Canada. It is neither safe nor fair," said one delegate.
Another said, "I've lost count of the times I keep seeing women pushed out of spaces to appease confused biological men. Don't be afraid of supporting this policy."
On C-7, one delegate said: "We don't allow children to drink, or drive, or engage in sexual activity, or join the military, or even vote before adulthood."
Another said, "We need to stop this kind of brainwashing."
In contrast, Bernier said the Conservative brass never said a word about protecting women's spaces in shelters, toilets, sports or prisons until the convention.
"Less than two years ago, [these] trained seals unanimously voted with the Liberals and NDP in favour of C-4, which promoted the transition of kids and criminalized parents and counsellors who want to help them accept their bodies," he said.
The PPC claims Poilievre "is afraid to address [the motions], even though these stances are popular among his base and conservatives."
"It's all about tactics to get elected."