The Current

Voters have the right to know politicians' personal beliefs

Earlier this week, an Ontario politician announced that he doesn't believe in human evolution. It made a lot of people uncomfortable, some even outraged. Today we're asking if some beliefs are different from others and what voters have a right to know about the people who represent us.

Is it fair to question a politician's personal belief?

Chatham-Kent-Essex MPP Rick Nicholls, left, seen here in 2011 with Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak, said Wednesday his disbelief in evolution is 'a personal stance.' (Geoff Robins/Canadian Press)
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"For myself I don't believe in evolution and that doesn't mean I speak for everyone in my caucus. That's a personal belief, a personal stance." -- Ontario MPP Rick Nicholls

Ontario MPP Rick Nicholls raised a lot of eyebrows with that statement earlier this week. It came after an exchange in the provincial legislature in which he shouted out that it might not be a bad idea to allow schools in Ontario to opt out of teaching evolution.

Today, we're asking if an opinion about evolution should be treated differently from other personal beliefs and what voters are entitled to know about the values of the people who represent them.

Dan Riskinis an evolutionary biologist and the author of "Mother Nature is Trying to Kill You." He was in Toronto.

Stephen Scharper is a Professor of Environmental Studies and Anthropology at the University of Toronto. He also writes a column on religion, culture and the environment for the Toronto Star.

Elizabeth Mayis the Leader of the Green Party of Canada, and the MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands. She was in Vancouver.

We did request an interview with MPP Rick Nicholls but we were told he would not be available.
 

Do you think politicians should disclose their personal beliefs?

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This segment was produced by The Current's Sarah Grant and Howard Goldenthal.