Steckle a tireless defender of life
By Linda Burns
After 11 years of public life, MP Paul Steckle (L-Huron Bruce, Ont.)
has not lost his enthusiasm for serving his constituents. It's the "love
of the people" that drew him to politics initially and the same love
that keeps him coming back.
"There are so many causes that need our attention, individuals requiring
help to work through their problems and encouragement in making the
right decisions. Making a difference is what I set out to do."
"Priority: the People" was his motto when he first ran for federal
office in 1993 and it remains his mantra today as he gears up for the
has been consistently courageous in upholding life and family values
in Parliament and voting for what he believes to be right, even when
it has meant occasionally standing alone in his party. Far from being
discouraged, he says he receives respect and collaboration from colleagues
on both sides of the House.
They may not agree with his commitment to uphold what he calls "God's
divine plan," but there is no doubt as to where he stands. His choice
to protect the sanctity of life, the traditional definition of marriage,
ethical alternatives to embryonic stem cell research, as well as his
active participation in preserving and promoting Canadian agricultural
interests and farm families, has set him apart from the pack.
In fact, he remains optimistic about Prime Minister Paul Martin's promise
that politicians will be able to vote freely on all matters, with the
exception of fiscal issues.
As co-chair of the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus, he encourages participation
in the March for Life and provides a platform for education of members
of Parliament from all political parties on issues safeguarding the
sanctity of life. Well-versed on the many advantages of adult and post-natal
stem cells, Steckle would entertain a proposal for a national umbilical
cord blood bank when Parliament reconvenes in the fall.
He is adamant that Canadians need to speak out for the rights of the
unborn, the elderly, the disabled and all marginalized citizens. He
is outraged that as many as three-and-a-half million lives have been
lost to abortion in the last 35 years, three times the population of
the province of Saskatchewan. However, he is encouraged to see the numbers
of people marching on Parliament Hill every May.
He is also stellar on family issues. He applauded the 60 people who
gathered outside his Goderich office to protest Bill C-250 and defend
the institution of marriage. He has also stated publicly that he would
recommend invoking the notwithstanding clause to maintain the traditional
definition of marriage.
Several developments in recent months did not sit well with Steckle,
but he does not take them sitting down. An ill-conceived poll commissioned
by the Liberals took an adversarial position toward conservative Christians.
Steckle rose in caucus and insisted that it be stopped. "Either offer
proof that it was not the work of the Liberal party or stop it now!"
he urged his party leaders.
Far from being a single-issue politician, Steckle has served for many
years as chair of the standing committee on agriculture. This has been
a crucial position of late, given the BSE effects on our cattle industry.
No longer a matter of health science, BSE has become an issue of political
science and American politics, at that.
What the committee had not counted on was the corporate greed that
would direct their determinations. Price gouging was the accusation
levelled at processing plants and retailers in the midst of the "mad
cow crisis." Cattle were selling for a fraction of their value, yet
savings were not passed along to consumers. Steckle's committee demanded
financial statements from these businesses and received compliance,
for the most part.
Two packing plants refused to submit in a timely fashion and are currently
in contempt of the House. This is a serious offence for a corporation,
and one that has not been witnessed in British law since 1666.
A firm supporter of the pro-life, pro-family movement in Canada, and
a longstanding, staunch believer in Christian values, Paul Steckle faces
the weeks ahead, braced for what he calls a move toward American politicking,
but steadfast in his defence of God's divine plan.