The Abortion Politics of the Conservative Party of Canada



September 3, 2008

Slapping Down Pro-Lifers as a Conservative Political Strategy

Editorial by John-Henry Westen

September 2, 2008 ( -Justice Minister Rob Nicholson deserves a Genie Award for his performance last Monday when he was able to, with a straight face, announce that the Conservative Government was going to put forward legislation to increase the penalty for criminals who assault pregnant women.

With an election about to be called any day, everyone knows that the proposed legislation will never see the light of day. It was clumsily designed political strategy cooked up in the backrooms of the PMO where only political hacks dare tread.

The painfully obvious intent of the proposition was to try to quash abortion as an election item in the upcoming brawl.

The Unborn Victims of Crime Act – Bill C484, the supposed target of the Nicholson intervention has been percolating for nearly a year since its introduction by Conservative MP Ken Epp. It has the support of a strong majority of Canadians, and stood a fair chance of passing in the House of Commons as it enjoyed multi-party support.

The bill is not a pro-life bill by any stretch of the imagination; in fact it would more properly be categorized as a ‘pro-choice’ bill. The bill would allow for murder charges to be laid when an assailant attacked and killed a child in the womb via an attack on the mother. The bill specifically excluded abortion and any acts of the mother.

Nevertheless any recognition of rights for unborn children even apart from abortion cannot be stomached by abortion extremists; apparently even those within the hierarchy of the Canadian Medical Association. They, being pro-abortion and not really ‘pro-choice’ despite the claims, balked at legal protection for the ‘choice’ of a mother to carry her pregnancy to term.

At first, Liberal Leader Stephane Dion was not giving the bill much thought – he didn’t even attend the bill’s first reading vote. Instead he was hosting a Women’s Day party for his wife and her friends. Reports suggest he got a tongue lashing from the ungrateful attendees as news of the bill’s first reading passage reached the partygoers. He smartened up.

A pro-abortion alternative private members bill was floated by Liberal MP St. Denis with the encouraging support of Canada’s abortion stalwarts.

Last week, when asked about the bill, Dion saw a chance to make political hay with the issue. He made much of the fact that he supported abortion, and pointed to the equally glaring fact that Harper’s position on the issue has never been all that clear. Harper did not respond to the media when questioned on the matter.

However, fearing abortion being made an election issue again, a strategy was hatched to try to quash the matter.

From the strategists perspective it’s perceived as handy to have the pro-life movement kicking and screaming against Prime Minister Harper for killing C-484. So the operatives do what they know will be the most outrageous slap in the face for anyone with an iota of pro-life sentiment. They take a page from the pro-abortion movement and propose an alternative Government Bill on the issue which would remove from consideration the unborn child.

The talking points on the issue sent to Conservative MPs are virtually identical to Nicholson’s script, with the refrain all about avoiding abortion. “Let me be clear, our government will not reopen the debate on abortion,” is there with the requisite add-on that their legislation definitely “leaves no room for the introduction of fetal rights.”

Apparently the strategists think that being berated by pro-lifers is just what is needed to make the abortion issue go away as an election item. And besides, they think, the socons have no where else to go with their vote. This time, however, the strategists may have abused their core supporters beyond their limits of tolerance.

Abortion will always be an election item. It has never gone away as an election item. It will not go away until justice is restored and the right to life of unborn children is protected in law.

This year alone there has been more written on the abortion issue than during the previous 10 years. Evangelicals, Catholics, Orthodox and Muslimsa are increasingly restless with the games pro-abortion politicians are playing, including investing Morgentaler with the Order of Canada. The Conservatives would be wise to study the polls and statistics other than those of the pro-abortion media. To wit, Ken Epp is not withdrawing his bill, and a growing list of MPs have already vowed continued support.

The chicanery of the Conservative backroom strategists also betrays an unjustified cynicism about the Canadian people increasingly similar to that of the other parties. It also sadly demonstrates that the Conservative leadership is incompetent on defending moral principles in Canadian politics and therefore feels its only viable option is to ruthlessly bury these difficult issues.

And besides, don’t you think with Morgentaler set to be invested with the Order of Canada in the middle of the election, the abortion issue won’t be raised? Oh, and by the way, last week Campaign Life Coalition released a list of over 100 MPs opposed to the nomination of the abortionist to the Order.

P.S. The vast majority of those opposed were . . . Conservatives.

Bill C-484: Unborn Victims of Crime, Life Email Us 

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