Star Trudeau candidate calls her leader’s lack of action indefensible

Marci Ien made the comments in debate on topic of the ban on sexually active gay men donating blood

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A star Liberal candidate has said that the lack of action by her own party and leader is unacceptable and indefensible.

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Former TV star-turned-Liberal MP and now candidate Marci Ien was taking part in a virtual debate with fellow candidates in the Toronto Centre riding where she is seeking re-election when she made the comments.

During the debate, NDP candidate Brian Chang raised the fact that the Trudeau Liberals have promised time and again to end the ban on sexually active gay men donating blood without ever acting on it. Trudeau made the promise in 2015 and 2019, though it is absent from the current Liberal platform.

Chang said that it’s a question of basic human rights being ignored by the Liberals.

“I can’t give blood because I have sex with my boyfriend, I can’t donate organs,” Chang said. “The fact that we can’t get the Liberal government onboard for these things to accelerate them and push for them is really problematic.”

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“I’m not even going to begin to defend this because I think you’re right,” Ien said in response.

Conservative candidate Ryan Lester then chimed in to call Trudeau’s inaction “indefensible.”

“Ya, it is,” Ien said, “and I just got here.”

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Ien won a byelection in 2020 to represent Toronto Centre after former MP and finance minister Bill Morneau resigned amid the WE Charity scandal and his own conflict of interest in that affair. The Liberals have held the riding since 1993 and have tended to win by wide margins.

The issue of the blood ban is particularly pertinent in the riding, which is home to Toronto’s gay village and the largest LGBTQ community in Canada.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole has surprised many with his frequent calls on Trudeau to end the blood ban while Eric Duncan, a gay Conservative MP from Eastern Ontario, has led frequent attacks on Trudeau’s health minister, Patty Hajdu.

blilley@postmedia.com

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