Yeah, its time to comment on this, unfortunately.
I have held back (mostly) from commenting on the "nuanced" decision by Justin Trudeau to tell all future Liberal Party MPs that, no matter what their stance on abortion, they must vote along pro-choice lines in the House of Commons - the exception being current caucus members who are anti-choice, such as Judry Sgro or Kevin Lamoureux, who are grandfathered in or something.
Well, what can you say to all that? Its a complicated, nuanced position that allows JT and the Liberals to say they're totally pro-choice even though, technically, not every member of caucus will be. It also derails literally years of work on the part of grassroots and caucus members to ensure that our big tent stays big, not to mention running counter to JT's own self-image as a breath of fresh air who wants open votes, transparency, reduction in PMO powers, kittens, rainbows, and other fluffy sounding things. It is, one could argue, hypocritical.
But hey, I've been around long enough to know how the game is played. We announce this decision now, win some support, lose some support, all's forgotten by next month and the worst we end up is even. It isn't as if this is a terribly controversial move anyways; green-light committees probably screen for views on social issues to begin with, and most serious anti-choice candidates aren't going to shack up with the LPC, this isn't 1988. What will this really affect, right?
Apparently the answer is "more than you think." While the issue will indeed smolder out eventually, and the media will move on, one can say it could cause irreparable harm to the brand, JT's in particular. We have MPs being recorded ranting about the decision (thanks, John), former MPs bashing the decision (Jimmy K and, hot off the presses, Martha Hall Findlay), and many questioning whether this was the right time or even the right decision. Not for no reason, either; many may not want to admit it, but those on the other side of the abortion argument deserve their say, even within our Party where they'll be vastly outnumbered - they still deserve a voice. (Personally I would prefer to have the debate, and defeat the regularly invalid and illogical anti-choice arguments that get presented, than not have it at all.)
It may just be a little pinprick in the grand scheme of things, but you know the old saying, "death by the thousand cuts." A narrative is starting to build around the little gaffes here and there that JT makes, calling into question his judgment, and whether he's right or wrong doesn't matter. Combine that image with the idea of Liberals walking back the tough talk we've had against the centralized control of Party, Caucus, and Parliament with decisions like these and, well, you can figure it out.
Maybe this is better to get out of the way now. Or maybe there is never a good time to do this. Guess we'll find out soon enough, right?