One-on-one contacts pays off
|The House of Commons has not sat since the last issue of The Interim came out. I want to take this opportunity to discuss some important ideas on how to be even more effective through 1998 in our work on behalf of unborn children and other victims of anti-life forces in this country.
The present federal political situation does not look very hopeful for pro-life concerns, but this is not a sufficient reason for us to be discouraged and give up hope. It is our business to change the status quo, to work hard to get our politicians to take seriously the plight of so many unborn (and now even born) children.
So, how can you make a difference?
First of all, you need to hear what a growing number of politicians — from Liberal Senator Anne Cools, to many Reform MPs — and organizations — from REAL Women to the Centre for Renewal in Public Policy — are saying about the nature of politics in this country.
It might be too disturbing even for many pro-lifers to accept, but we do not live in a functional democracy at this time, and the sooner we face that reality, the sooner we can target our energy at activity that is more likely to be successful.
1. As democracy falters, governments show less interest in the views of the general population. They respond to the beck and call of special interest groups — but only those groups that represent the values governments espouse. As a result, the traditional means of communicating our views to politicians — letters, petitions and even phone calls — become increasingly less effective.
This means that, despite our natural trepidation at the idea, we as pro-lifers have to make a commitment to pursuing more face-to-face meetings with our MPs. We need to be able to look into the eyes of our Mps.
We need to let them see that their political policies have a real impact on real people. We need to bring our children as well. We need to know that we have their full attention when we bring to them our concerns.
Face-to-face meetings are going to become increasingly important in the days ahead. CLC will be looking to expand our activity on this front this year for the sake of Canada’s unborn children.
2. As the political establishment becomes increasingly driven by the pursuit of power and the government becomes increasingly isolated from the people being governed, the importance of electing more pro-life politicians becomes more urgent.
It has always been easier to work with MPs who are already committed to the issue than to convert others who are pro-abortion (it is this way with every issue). But the situation becomes even more acute when politicians become less interested in the views of the people.
Electing pro-life politicians has always been a leading goal of Canada’s pro-life movement, including Campaign Life Coalition, but it has also been one of our most challenging tasks.
Wrestling through this issue in the tension of a pending election has not produced ideal results. Very few people feel comfortable making snap decisions about such important issues as their vote under the pressure of the moment.
I want to challenge each reader whose mind is not made up on this issue to make a commitment right now to talk to somebody about the importance of “principled” voting — and to do it now, in between elections, when the arguments can be considered rationally and when people have the time to think through the different points.
I hope these thoughts are helpful — that they help motivate us to pursue effective activity on behalf of the unborn and the other weak and vulnerable people in our society who are in danger.
Remember: Svend Robinson’s pro-euthanasia motion is in the middle of debate in the House of Commons. There is a vote at the end of debate, so make sure you let your MP know that you want him/her to vote against it.
(Tim Bloedow writes a regular column from Ottawa on pro-life affairs).