Where the parties stand on the life issues
The Liberal Party
In 1993, Jean Chrétien said that his government would not revisit the abortion issue. In doing so, he committed the Liberals to the status quo of lawlessness where pre-born children are concerned. The party has recently confirmed that a Liberal government will not entertain measures to re-criminalize abortion. In effect, therefore, the party supports abortion on demand, with no restrictions of any kind.
In the fall of 1996, the Liberal Party voted in favour of legalizing doctor – assisted suicide
At the same time, the party has gone to great lengths to purge its own pro-life wing. In 1992, the party gave Mr. Chrétien absolute power over the candidate nomination process, in order to keep “single-issue” (that is, pro-life) Liberals from running for office. Since then, Mr. Chrétien has used his new power to override the democratic process and appoint pro-abortion feminists on many occasions. As a result, it has become much more difficult for pro-life Canadians to have a voice in the Liberal Party.
In September 1995, under the direction of Liberal Sheila Finestone (Mount Royal), the Canadian delegation to the UN Conference on Women in Beijing led the way in advocating “sexual orientation” (homosexuality) and “Reproductive rights” (abortion). The Canadian delegation, perhaps the most radical and aggressive of all those present at the conference, opposed references to anything which might limit such “rights” – including the laws, beliefs, and even the very sovereignty of individual nations.
In May 1996, on the initiative of Justice Minister Allan Rock (Etobicoke Centre), the Liberals passed bill C-33 which enshrined “sexual orientation” in the Canadian Human Rights Code. The bill was passed, in spite of the strong objections of individuals, churches, and other groups across the country, after only one day of debate in Parliament.
In June 1996, at the request of the Newfoundland government, the Liberals voted to abolish constitutionally- guaranteed religious education rights in Newfoundland, in spite of the strong objections of the Catholic and Pentecostal churches.
This was seen as a great blow to the pro-life movement, since religious school are much more willing to co-operate with the pro-life educational efforts than their secular counterparts.
The Liberals also moved quickly to abolish similar rights in Québec, on the request of the province’s PQ government. (This was not complete at the time of the election call; but the Liberals have vowed to carry it though, if they form the next government.)
It should be noted that a significant minority of Liberal MPs voted against their own government on the “sexual orientation” bill, and on the Newfoundland schools amendment. Many of these MPs also have a strong pro-life record.
At its policy convention in the fall of 1996, the Liberal Party voted in favour of legalizing doctor-assisted suicide. Justice Minister Allan Rock indicated in 1994 that he is open to such a change. Pro-life observers fully expect the Liberals to introduce “right-to-die” legislation of some kind, if given another mandate to govern.
At the time Parliament was dissolved in preparation for the current election campaign, the Liberals were proposing legislation to deal with some of the many ethical problems raised by new reproductive and genetic technologies. Some of what they proposed was actually good; but their plans included government licensing of experiments on human embryos up to 14 days after conception. This measure would be a huge step backward.
The Reform Party
While many Reform MPs are pro-life, the party as a whole has refused to take a stand on abortion and euthanasia. On such issues, the party requires individual MPs to vote according to “consensus” (simply majority opinion) in their ridings – even if to do so would be to go against their consciences, and to act against the fundamental right in a free society, the right to life. The party also advocates deciding such matters by way of a national referenda.
This wrong-headed policy has already had disastrous results. Party leader Preston Manning, for example, who is pro-life in principle, has already committed himself to voting for euthanasia, because of indications that the majority of his constituents support it. Worse still, in an interview in The Ottawa Citizen (April 25, 1997), Mr. Manning said that he would vote for abortion, if 51% of his constituents were in favour of killing unborn babies.
It should be noted that some pro-life Reformers do not support the party’s “consensus” policy, and are committed to voting according to their consciences on all moral issues.
The Reform Party has adopted a promising new family policy. It has pledged to help end discrimination against families with “stay-at-home moms,” by extending the $3,000 to $5,000 child-care deduction to all parents, and by increasing the tax credit for spouses from $5,380 to $7,900. It has also promised to maintain the current, traditional definition of marriage in federal laws and regulations, and to define “family” as “individuals related by blood, marriage or adoption.”
The Reform Party’s voting record on family issues is also notable. Almost all Reform MPs voted against Bill C-33, which enshrined “sexual orientation” (homosexuality) in the Canadian Human Rights Code.
The Progressive Conservative Party
In its attempts to rebuild after its defeat in the last election, the Progressive Conservative Party has steered clear of “social conservatism,” and focused instead on economic matters. In fact, leader Jean Charest seems to have led the party further toward political correctness on social and moral issues. This seems to have affected the party’s other MP, however. Elsie Wayne (St. John, NB) remains firmly pro-life and pro-family.
In 1990, during their last term in office, the PCs proposed Bill C-43, a “compromise” bill on abortion, which eventually failed. Although the bill would have put abortion back in the Criminal Code, then Justice Minister Kim Campbell virtually admitted it was designed to preserve the status quo of abortion on demand – she promised that no abortionist would ever be prosecuted under the law.
The New Democratic Party
The NDP is openly and aggressively anti-life. Despite the fact that there are good pro-life people in its ranks, the party as a whole is closed to the pro-life movement.
The Christian Heritage Party
The Christian Heritage Party is the only federal party committed to ensuring legal protection for all innocent human beings, from conception to natural death. It is absolutely and unalterably opposed to abortion, experimentation on human embryos, euthanasia, and doctor-assisted suicide.
Readers should note that the CHP supports capital punishment in cases of first-degree, premeditated murder.
The CHP has developed a comprehensive platform with detailed policies on many different issues. Of particular interest in its policy on “The Sanctity of Marriage and Family.” The CHP is committed to ensuring that the traditional definitions of marriage and family are maintained; that the government will not condone or promote homosexual activity; and that public policy will promote full-time motherhood and the flourishing of the traditional family.
In addition to maintaining a firm opposition to abortion and euthanasia, and firm support for the family, the CHP is the only federal party whose guiding principles are directly inspired by traditional beliefs and morals.
The CHP is not yet running candidates in every riding.
Vote for life
Once again, with voting day for the federal election (June 2nd) rapidly approaching, voters are calling Campaign Life Coalition offices looking for advice on whom to support.
We are all well aware that there are many issues which may motivate a voter to cast a ballot for or against an individual candidate or party.
There are some well-meaning detractors who state emphatically that it is wrong to vote for (take your pick) Liberals, NDP ers, Reformers, or Conservatives, because none of them has a pro-life plank in their party platforms.
So, let’s set the record straight. There is one federal party which is solidly pro-life—the Christian Heritage Party. Unfortunately for most pro-life voters, people who vote on life issues, there will be no CHP candidates in their riggings. (They’re running only 50 candidates.)
Campaign Life Coalition leaders believe it imperative to return to Parliament those MPs who have shown the courage of their pro-life convictions, and in some cases have taken some flak for refusing to bend to the party whip.
In any democracy, the only way to affect party policies is to get involved and change the objectionable policies. The parties are not evil, although their policies may well be.
Support a moderate?
Some voters say that it is not morally wrong to vote for a candidate who isn’t 100% pro-life. It’s better to support someone who is a moderate in order to defeat a fanatical abortion supporter.
While it may be morally correct, politically it’s a soft position, because applying that principle, no candidate has to be pro-life, only somewhat less offensive than their opponents, in order to win support from those pro-life voters.
There are wishy washy pro-life people out there who, instead of standing shoulder to shoulder with others of shared interest, much like the plucky Manitobans battling flood waters, continue to support the pro-aborts.
It’s almost if they were anointed at birth with the mark of their family’s favourite political party and will go to their graves holding their noses and tolerating whatever anti-life policies are shoved down their throats.
Since the last federal election, CLC has been preparing for the day the writ would be issued for the next campaign.
Advertisments have been placed in over two dozen publications nationally, in order to remind voters that abortion is a crucial election issue.
Across the country, pro-lifers of all political stripes have been working to elect candidates who stand up on life issues.
Activists from Campaign Life Coalition have worked with candidates to win party nominations and have been active in many ways to ensure that abortion and euthanasia with be “front-burner” issues in the current campaign.
Qualifying the candidates
Questionnaires have also been sent to all candidates for the mainline parties. Over a hundred pro-life contacts have scoured the country to obtain information to help voters cast informed ballots on June 2nd.
Questionnaires are one effective way to ensure that objective standards are used throughout the country.
Frequently, candidates refuse to state their positions, or campaign workers try to shield them from close scrutiny, so they can run on “style” or “charisma,” instead of facing the issues.
Candidates who support evils like abortion, euthanasia, assisted murder or infanticide do not deserve to be voted as a dog catcher.
Many ridings cover huge geographical areas, making the job of meeting and qualifying the candidates an almost impossible task for our activists (most of whom have full-time jobs outside the home.)
Further, it is appalling to learn of the candidates’ ignorance of the issues—not just the life issues, but all issues.
Abortion is the killing of a child in its mother’s womb. It is the most violent act designed by men against Almighty God, against society at large, against women, and against children in the womb in particular.
Candidates who support evils like abortion, euthanasia, assisted murder or infanticide do not deserve our votes.
As Windsor Ontario’s Earl “the Pearl” Amyotte says emphatically, “Those candidates do not deserve to be voted in a dog catcher, let alone to any important public office.”
We get the government we deserve! For too long good people have allowed these evils to permeate all of society. Now is the time to start to reverse the trend. Change what’s in your heart-be properly disposed to Almighty God-and then deal with what’s at your feet.
Evaluation Terms Explained
- pro-life – the candidate has answered consistently pro-life without any qualifications or has a consistent, clear pro-life record.
- pro-abortion – the evidence is strong that the candidate supports legal access to abortion.
- refused to respond – candidate definitely received questionnaire, was contacted a few times in person or by phone.
- refused to respond, considered pro-abortion – there is sufficient evidence indicating that the candidate supports legal access to abortion.
- refused to answer questionnaire – gave some response but did address most or all of the questions.
- failed to respond – questionnaire was sent to the candidate but we are not certain if he saw it or that follow up was adequate.
- supports Reform policy – Many Reform candidates qualified their answers with an indication that, regardless of the personal opinion, they will only vote according to the Reform Party’s policy. Many went so far as to only quote the party policy and refused to provide any information about their personal views.
The Reform policy requires its MPS to first state clearly and publicly their personal views and beliefs on issues on personal conscience; to conduct either a local or national referendum on certain moral issues; and to vote according to the wishes of the majority. This qualification cannot be considered a genuinely pro-life response since there is no firm commitment to act in defence of life during voting in the House of Commons.
Where there is no reference to the policy in our comments section, the candidate has not qualified his response and in many cases is committed to ignore the party policy on these serious matters concerning the life and death of innocents.
- gave pro-life answers but supports Reform policy-used if candidate gave pro-life answers but qualified them with the Reform policy.
- not pro-life-gave some pro-life answers but other answers or other information make it clear that candidate is not pro-life, even if he considers himself to be.
- the N.D.P. supports abortion on demand-the NDP has an official abortion on demand policy which most of its candidates follow. This phrase is used mostly for those that we were unable to contact.
- submitted Liberal Party response-see the article The Liberal Party’s response to the CLC 1997 federal election questionnaire.
- No information available-no information.
It should be noted that our comments about a given candidate in the “Candidate summary” column may differ from the candidate’s self-description. Our classification is ultimately based on the candidate’s record, and where he stands politically—not on his “private views or “personal opinions.”
It is widely recognized that doctor-assisted suicide is just around the corner in Canada. In spite of the fact that the Supreme Court ruled against it in the 1994 Rodriguez case and a 1995 Senate committee recommended against legalizing the practice, there is now a great deal of momentum behind the “right to die” movement.
Prominent political leaders such as Liberal Senator Sharon Carstairs and MP Svend Robinson (NDP, Burnaby-Douglas) have been pushing the doctor-assisted suicide for years, and two pro-euthanasia private members’ bills have recently been introduced, one in the House of Commons, and one in the Senate. Moreover, at its policy convention last fall, the federal Liberal Party voted in favour of legalizing doctor-assisted suicide; and in 1994, Justice Minister Allan Rock (Etobicoke Centre) indicated he is open to such a change.
Before 1969, abortion was illegal in Canada. Between 1969 and 1988, abortion was regulated by the Criminal Code, but in a way that amounted to abortion-on-demand. Since the Supreme Court decision in the Morgentaler case in 1988, abortion has been virtually unregulated. This means that in Canada today, children in the womb may be killed at any time, for any reason, and by any means.
In the last year, several tragic stories have heightened awareness among ordinary Canadians of the injustice of this situation. In September, a judge in Manitoba ruled that a pregnant woman addicted to sniffing glue could not be held in a rehabilitation centre against her will, in spite of the grave risk posed by her addiction to the child in her womb. In December, a judge in Ontario ruled that Brenda Drummond could not be charged with attempted murder for shooting her son Johnathan in the while he was still in her womb, just two days before his birth..
The reason in both cases was that, according to Canadian law, children in the womb are not human beings, and therefore have no rights.
Ordinary Canadians from sea to sea are expressing outage at this injustice, and even the normally pro-abortion media seem concerned. Many are calling for some kind of legal protection for children in the womb.
Pro-life observers across the country are united in the belief that the current election campaign is a good opportunity to build on the increased awareness of the plight of the unborn which has come about as result of these tragedies.
Calls for a “compromise” on abortion in “hard cases”
In the renewed debate on regulating abortion in Canada, some people have suggested that access to abortion should not be restricted in “hard cases,” such as pregnancy used by rape or incest, or when a pregnancy appears to threaten a woman’s life.
In responding to such proposals, Canadian pro-life leaders have consistently returned to the basic principle of the pro-life movement: the direct taking of innocent human life is wrong, regardless of the circumstances.
Apart from that, on the rape-incest question, it is important to remember the fallowing: pregnancy as a result of rape or incest is extremely rate; a child conceived in this way is still a human being; a child conceived in this way is innocent of his or her father’s crime; and a woman who has been traumatized by rape or incest needs love and support, not the further trauma which an abortion would cause.
In discussing situations in which a pregnancy appears to threaten a woman’s life, it is important to remember that, according to traditional medical ethics and sound pro-life principles, an intervention designed to prevent the death of a mother which indirectly causes the death of the child in her womb is not an abortion, and is therefore permissible. (Such intervention might be proposed in cases of ectopic pregnancy or cervical cancer, for example.) In addition, Pro-life medical experts say that, because of advances in modern medicine, there are now no situations in which abortion could be seen as necessary to preserve a mother’s life.
Abortion drug RU486
RU486, or Mifepristone, is a chemical which causes the lining of the womb to fall away, thereby killing the developing child. It is used in the first 8 weeks of pregnancy. It is distinct from the “morning-after pill,” which, although it functions in the same way and is therefore a form of chemical abortion, is used only within 72 hours after “unprotected sex.”
The company which manufactures RU486 is Roussel-Uclaf (France). Its parent company is Hoechst (Germany); and its Canadian subsidiary is Roussel-Canada.
RU486 has already been used to kill hundreds of thousands of children in Europe; and in 1996 and in 1996 the US Food and Drug Administration approved its use in the United States. Last fall, BC Health Minister Joy McPhail (NDP) called on the Canadian Government to invite the company which makes the pill to apply for approval to market the drug in Canada.
This is in spite if the fact that the “safety’ of the pill is still questionable. In a landmark case a hospital in France who was recently required to pay a substantial settlement to a family of a woman who died after taking RU486.
A Spokesman for Health Canada said the government did not intend to invite an application for approval in this country; however, the Liberals have since indicated they would not oppose any such application, and that RU486 would be judged according to normal Health Canada standards.
It is essential that pro-lifers continue applying pressure on all sides against the introduction of RU486 to Canada. It is widely recognized that such pressure has slowed he spread of the drug considerably. One introduced, it will make it much more difficult to keep statistics on abortion, and to monitor its effects on women’s health. It will also make it much more difficult for pro-lifers to reach women in need of support in crisis pregnancies.
Experimentation on Human embryos
The many new reproductive and genetic technologies (NRGTs) now available in Canada have raised a host of very serious ethical issues. Countries around the world have begun regulating such technologies in an effort to use them responsibility.
Canada’s Liberal government introduced legislation on NRGTs prior to the current election campaign. The bill, C-47, actually contained some good things; but the regulations proposed to accompany it would have provided for the licensing of experimentation on human embryos up to 14 days after conception.
This would be a huge step backward. Although it is known that such experimentation has been going on in Canada for several years, it has not had formal government approval. Licensing of such experiments would make pro-life resistance much more difficult.
A note on the legality of pre-election questionnaires
On May 7th, Jack Siegel, Director of Legal Affairs for the Ontario Liberal campaign, circulated a memo to all Liberal campaign officials warning Liberal candidates not to sign any “written pledges” during the campaign. He cited Section 327 of the Canada Elections Act, which says that it is illegal to sign to sign anything which “requires the candidate to follow any course of action that will prevent him from exercising freedom of action in Parliament.”
CLC Canada’s legal counsel advises that this does not apply to questionnaires such as the one used in preparing this voters’ guide. Supporters should note, however, that some candidates—even outside the Liberal Party—have refused to answer the CLC questionnaire because of the Liberal campaign memo.
Even though it seems clear that there is no good reason for this, it should not stop voters from seeking to know the candidates’ positions. There is nothing to prevent candidates from writing down their positions in their own words; and there is certainly nothing to prevent individual voters from questioning the candidates directly.
Tax funding of abortion
There is unanimous agreement among pro-lifers in Canada on the need to end public funding of abortion through provincial health-insurance plans.
From the experience of provincial pro-life groups, it is now clear that this issue must be dealt with at the provincial and federal levels at the same times. The reason is that, although the provinces are responsible for deciding which “services” will be funded by tax dollars, provincial leaders consistently avoid the issue by claiming that the federal Canada Health Act requires public funding of abortion.
In addition, some provincial legislators have said that the Liberal federal government has threatened behind the scenes to cut off healthcare transfer payments to any province which might dare to defund baby-killing. It appears the Liberals are unwilling to honour the right of the provinces to determine which “services” are medically necessary. (As we all know, of course, abortion is NEVER medically necessary. See “Calls for a ‘compromise’ above.)
Pro-lifers across the country are ready to address the abortion funding issue at both federal and provincial levels. The need to elect pro-lifers in the current campaign is therefore very great.
What to expect from another Liberal government
Continued full protection and funding for abortion.
Legalization of doctor-assisted suicide, and gradual introduction of other forms of euthanasia.
Increased promotion of the gay agenda, including re-definitions of “marriage” and “family,” and increased repression of those who speak out about the physical and moral dangers of the homosexual “lifestyle.”
Passage of anti-spanking legislation and other measures designed to increase State control over the family.
Continued surrender of Canadian sovereignty in implementing and anti-life, anti-family agenda of the United nations, over and above our own laws and traditions. This process is gradually making our legislators irrelevant, and placing decision-making powers in the hands of unelected bureaucrats and judges, and unaccountable transnational bodies.
More “Big Brother” type legislation to suppress the free-speech rights of politically-incorrect individuals and groups.
The Liberal Party’s response to CLC Canada’s 1997 Federal Election Questionnaire
In the “Evaluation terms explained” article the phrase “Submitted Liberal Party response” indicates that the candidate responded to our questionnaire by sending in a copy of the Prime Minister’s response. The highlights of the Prime Minister’s response may be summarized as follows:
He will not introduce Criminal Code amendments to ban or limit abortion.
He will not oppose an application for approval to market the abortion drug RU486 in Canada.
He says that the Canada Health Act requires provinces to fund “Medically necessary services,” and that provincial authorities have deemed abortion to me “medically necessary.” He says that Canadians should focus on “prevention of unwanted pregnancies.”
He says that because Canadians have diverse views on doctor-assisted suicide. Parliament should give full consideration to whether the current prohibition should be maintained. He indicates he is willing to support palliative care (pain control, and care of the dying).
As far as we’re concerned, this means Mr. Chretien is pro-abortion, pro-RU486, in favour of fully tax-funded abortion, and open to doctor-assisted suicide (or even planning to introduce legislation to legalize it for the full consideration of Parliament). Don’t forget, Mr. Chretien’s record is solidly anti-life: he voted for the 1969 legalization of abortion, and opposed including preborn children in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as Justice Minister in 1981.
Proven pro-life politicians deserve support
Pro-life voters should be loyal to those MP’s who are fighting the good fight.
Some pro-lifers might think that a candidate belonging to certain party is unworthy of support, even if that candidate has a solid pro-life record, because the party as a whole is anti-life. Well-deserved criticism of the Liberal Party’s treatment of its pro-life wing, for example, or of the Reform Party’s “consensus policy,” might lead people to dismiss individual candidates out of hand.
It is important to remember, however, that in the end, what matters is the position of the individual candidate. There are many genuinely pro-life politicians in anti-life parties who have had the courage to act according to their consciences, even when it has meant defying their parties and party leaders, and who have willingly suffered the consequences.
These individuals have done a great deal of good, by raising the level of debate in Parliament, and by setting an example of courage and integrity for those who are not strong. They have also publicly drawn attention to dangerous legislation, which would otherwise have passed without controversy. There should be no question that these people are deserving of the continued support of pro-life voters, notwithstanding the policies and action of their parties.
Why we should vote pro-life
The basic principle of pro-life voting is the following: being pro-abortion (or “Pro-choice” disqualifies a person for public office. This includes those who claim to be “Personally opposed” to abortion, but are unwilling to do anything to stop it.
The right to life is the fundamental human right, on which every other right depends. It follows that not matter how attractive a particular candidate’s policies on other issues may be, if he is anti-life, he is unworthy of support.
Pro-lifers are often accused of being “single-issue” when it comes to voting. This is true, in a sense. If you believe that the killing of innocent human beings is gravely wrong, your conscience will not permit you to vote for someone who is pro-abortion—no matter what.
On the other hand, the “single-issue” accusation is quite false. Pro-lifers are concerned about a host of life issues which are distinct from abortion, like euthanasia and reproductive technologies—not to mention the spectrum of pro-family concerns which pro-lifers generally share.
It should also be noted that in fat most people become politically involved because of special concerns about particular issues. The GST, gun control, national unity, the free trade agreement—concerns about each of these issues have led individuals into politics, and have even led to the formation of new parties. Pro-lifers are by no means unique in this.
But in the end, it must be admitted that no issue comes close to being as important as the abortion issue. Some people say that other “social problems” are equally important; but how many of those problems involve the deliberate killing of well over 100,000 Canadians every year?
Some pro-lifers, while agreeing that no issue comes close to being as important as abortion, say it is unlikely Parliament will outlaw abortion in the near future and that for now, we should vote on issues we know we can do something about.
On this point, it is essential to recognize three things. (1) Abortion will never be on Parliament’s agenda, if pro-life voters do not put it there. (2) Even in the absence of major Legislation dealing with abortion, the issue almost always comes up. When it does, it is necessary that there be pro-lifers in Parliament to speak on behalf of the unborn. (3) We will never get from the current situation to achieving full legal protection for children in the womb, unless we are continually sending pro-life MP’s to Ottawa.
How to vote pro-life
Sometimes it happens that there is more than one pro-life candidate in a riding. In such a situation, a pro-life voter should then consider other things: which candidate has the stronger pro-life record; which candidate is more likely to be elected; which candidate’s overall platform is more attractive; and which party is more worthy of support.
Often it happens that there is no pro-life candidate in a riding. In such a situation, a pro-life voter might write across the ballot, “No pro-life Liberal,” or “No pro-life Reformer,” etc. (In other words, there is no pro-life candidate running for the party which that voters would otherwise support.)
This is not a waste of a vote. On the contrary, since “spoiled ballots,” are recorded, such statements can send a powerful message to the parties and candidates, and affect their policies in the future.
When there is no pro-life candidate in a riding, and the pro-abortion incumbent is influential, some pro-lifers advocate voting against the sitting MP, in order to reduce the power of the anti-life movement in Parliament.
Whatever the situation, pro-life candidate in a given riding is no reason to stay away.