“In case you haven’t noticed, Brad’s not entirely comfortable with the whole gay thing. And if you haven’t noticed, you have not been paying attention,” campaign spokesman Mike Patton said in a “campaign update” video put out on social media Tuesday.
The campaign had sent a fundraising email Monday evening that promised Trost would never participate in gay pride events, and as a political leader would never subsidize such events.
“For sure, Brad is not a big fan of the gay lifestyle. But what you do in private is your business. What you literally do in the middle of the street needs to conform to some basic community standards,” Patton said. He called some behaviour in pride parades over-sexualized and “so inappropriate for public viewing.”
Following the release of the email and video, Trost said in an interview with BuzzFeed Canada that he defines “the gay lifestyle” as “gay people having gay sex,” and said it is not something he feels is “moral.”
Despite immediate online backlash, Patton told the National Post the campaign would not be apologizing.
“The campaign has reviewed the video, the email, and the article today and while we can see why some would disagree with Mr. Trost’s feelings about homosexuality, it has been consistent, and we see no reason anyone should take offense,” Patton wrote in an email. “Therefore, we expect no apology forthcoming from Mr. Trost.”
“I know people like Brad Trost exist in Canada. I think they should probably crawl back under the rock from whence they came. We’re beyond this point,” said Ian Capstick, a former NDP staffer, pundit and gay-rights advocate.
He said Trost seems to be “stuck in the ’50s” and has no business trying to define a community that has fought hard for fair treatment and legal rights.
“It’s this type of sort of regressive opinion that’s putting back the Conservative Party decades. Mr. Trost isn’t just hurting his own campaign today. He’s hurting the Conservative Party of Canada. He’s hurting the countless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit, bisexual and queer people within his own party,” Capstick said. “That’s disgusting. That is hatred.”
Capstick wondered why more “backlash” wasn’t coming from Conservative ranks Tuesday after Trost’s comments, and said Trost should apologize. “I want to hear every single person who’s ever called themselves a progressive conservative stand up and tell Brad Trost to get out of this race.”