Oosterhoff grilled on comments about parenting bill ahead of swearing-in
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, November 30, 2016 9:06AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 30, 2016 1:51PM EST
Just moments before he was set to be sworn in as the youngest member of provincial parliament, Sam Oosterhoff was grilled by reporters about his position on a new law that grants more rights to same-sex parents in Ontario.
Oosterhoff, the newly elected 19-year-old Progressive Conservative MPP for Niagara-West Glanbrook, repeatedly dodged questions about comments he made to The Toronto Star, calling the All Families are Equal Act “horrible legislation.”
“I made my sentiments clear yesterday,” he told reporters at Queen’s Park Wednesday.
“This is a historic moment… being elected as the youngest member of provincial parliament is a great honour.”
When pressed on his position about the new law, which ensures that couples who use sperm donors or a surrogate no longer have to legally adopt their own children, Oosterhoff admitted he had some “concerns.”
“I would have preferred if it hadn’t removed mother and father from large sections of law. That was something we made a very reasonable amendment during the committee stage and unfortunately they voted that down,” he said.
“That concerns me.”
In an interview with The Star earlier this week, Oosterhoff said if he had been able to vote on the legislation, which was passed unanimously on Tuesday, he would “definitely not have supported” it.
But the 19-year-old refused to repeat the comments when speaking to media at Queen’s Park before his swearing-in ceremony Wednesday.
Oosterhoff’s position is in direct opposition to his party’s leader Patrick Brown, who voted in favour of the act on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Brown denied suggestions Oosterhoff’s swearing-in ceremony was delayed in order to prevent him from speaking out against the bill.
“He wanted to have his family here (for his swearing-in ceremony). He had a loved one in his family that was having a baby this week. He wanted to have all his family here and they are here today. They are celebrating what is history,” Brown said.
He said he feels confident Oosterhoff is comfortable with Brown's vision for the party.
“I’ve told Sam where I stand on these issues. He knows I support same-sex marriage, that I support the updated sex-ed curriculum, that I’m not going to be revisiting any social issues. He told me he is happy to support our team understanding where I stand," Brown added.
“Sam says he supports the direction I’m taking the party and I’m going to take him at his word.”