TORONTO - Wherever you look, there’s Liberals in charge of almost everything.
At Parliament Hill, at Queen’s Park, in essence at City Hall, and in the corporate and social media. Even conservatives running for federal and provincial leadership positions these days seem to be Liberal-light.
And then there’s Brad Trost.
The likable and engaging 42-year-old federal Conservative from Saskatchewan wears anonymity like a badge of honour.
“I was a Conservative backbencher from Saskatchewan in Stephen Harper’s government who kept my nose in my own riding,” he said. “As a government we did a good job.”
But he was not prepared to alter his values for a cabinet post and become a household name — which he is now poised to become.
“I am who I am,” he said in an interview Wednesday.
Who is he?
Trained as a geophysicist, he’s the guy who stood up to Harper and cabinet on such issues as abortion and same-sex marriage.
And he wants to be the guy to stand up to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on legalizing marijuana, assisted suicide, and his soft-on-terror approach.
“I am against those things,” he said. “Sometimes politicians have to learn to stop saying ‘yes’ and instead say ‘no.’”
As an evangelical Christian with a wife and 16-month-old daughter, Trost’s beliefs didn’t always sell well inside a caucus looking to appear more moderate and favourable to the disapproving, politically-correct opposition and media.
“I have always voted with my conscience for 12 years as a member of Parliament,” he said.
So what does a social conservative opposition backbencher do?
Take a shot at one day being on the front bench as prime minister by running for the Conservative leadership.
“I am travelling the country to build a campaign,” he told me at Canada Christian College, where he was a guest of Dr. Charles McVety.
Trost plans to “officially” announce in September. But with major former cabinet ministers in the race like Kellie Leitch, Maxime Bernier and Tony Clement, plus potential entrants like Lisa Raitt, Kevin O’Leary and Peter MacKay, why is Trost planning to run?
“Because I am a real Conservative from the conservative wing of the party who is 100% conservative,” he said.
Not everybody in the race can say that.
This guy promises no insincere pandering to the left. For example, since pro-Israel Trost believes marriage is “special” and “between a man and woman,” he “won’t” ever be going to a Pride parade.
“Just like Justin Trudeau won’t be attending a March of Life parade that he doesn’t believe in,” Trost said.
A real conservative thinker in Canada in 2016? Can the CBC and the Toronto Star handle it? How about the Conservative party?
“People will soon see there are lots of people who think this way,” he told me.
Just to test his conservative credentials, I fired some “for or against” questions at the MP for Saskatoon-University.
Here’s what he said:
And on Trudeau?
“Doing selfies is not leadership.”
On taxation and deficit financing?
“I think God put conservatives on earth to stop taxes everywhere, forever.”
Legalization of marijuana?
“I don’t smoke and I don’t think you should either and we need to say no.”
I asked Trost if he has any idea the backlash he could face in Liberal Toronto.
“I do,” he said. “The few times I have gotten publicity in Toronto, they have phoned up my office to call me names ... Usually ‘bigot’ is somewhat the way they start off, and then there is a long string of words that I don’t ever want to teach my daughter.”
Trost won’t be budging.
“It doesn’t bother me being called names,” he said.
Being “liked” is not his goal.
“Getting rid of those Liberals” is.
So who is going to do it? He tells me it’s a real conservative named Brad Trost, that’s who.