Tag Archives: politics

“The times they are a-changin’…”

by Eliza Jane Phillis

I’ll be the first to admit that for someone who has lived in Ottawa for four years, attending classes mere minutes away from Parliament Hill, I know very little, and to be perfectly honest, care very little about most of the political process. I vote more out of a sense of obligation toward the strong women of the suffragette movement than anything else, and that’s about it. However, I would really have to have my head in the sand not to have heard about the recent increase in interest in the abortion debate. I don’t really know what the G8 Summit is and only just realized it was happening in my own country this past week; yet, I can’t help but feel grateful for its unexpected side effect. It seems Prime Minister Harper’s has proposed plan of action to combat maternal health tragedies in developing countries which is wonderful and important. Opposition leader Michael Ignatieff’s appears to have pushed for the incorporation of access to abortion in this commendable initiative, and the Prime Minister said no. However, the discussions didn’t end there and the proposal and its opposition have really stirred the pot on the abortion debate. It seems Mr. Ignatieff, in trying to insinuate abortion into a proposal in which it has no place, has achieved what pro-lifers have been trying to do for years with minimal success: bring the abortion debate back to the public’s attention.

Listlessly flipping through a bus station newspaper yesterday waiting for my 96 downtown, I came across no less than three articles concerning abortion. One of these actually showcased the situation of University of Calgary students who are facing expulsion for participating in a controversial pro-life display. I was shocked! I’ve participated in a national March for Life which (legally) shut down whole streets in the capital city and seen no mention of it in the paper the next day. This type of exposure over a debate which the powers that be would like us to believe is closed and old news only demonstrates that the exact opposite is true. Yes, most of the articles had to do with the pro-choice side, but they still hopefully made my fellow readers think about where they stand in the debate which we pro-lifers know never really ended, but which many people on the street would likely rather ignore. This is an opportunity for us to explain our well-reasoned positions on life issues. This could be the unexpected spark which ignites a change in the hearts of those like myself who know little about politics but instead vote according to my personal moral convictions. I challenge all pro-life men and women in this time of great potential to take the time to really consider why you are pro-life. We all have our own personal reasons which keep us anchored to an ideal which sometimes seems so counter-cultural, and being able to clearly articulate and express these reasons is how we will change hearts one person at a time. We can’t all be politicians creating laws to preserve the dignity of life, but we can all explain why we as individuals maintain and promote this ideal. I commend the work of brave pro-life politicians, but I truly feel that politics will not in the end be the solution. Society needs to change, and no laws will bring this about, but individuals having respectful, intelligent, and open conversations have the power to end abortion in this country.

A consensus on abortion?

by Paul T

There is a striking distinction to be made in recent political developments. The opposition parties are standing in full contrast against the government in regards to the funding of abortion in the G8 Maternal Health Package. The government, much to the relief of pro-lifers, is not backing down from its announced stance on rejecting funds for abortion in developing countries. These opposition parties are calling on the government to remain true to the “consensus” that has remained in Canada for 25 years. This “consensus” is supposedly pro-abortion, according to Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff.

I don’t think I could be any clearer; never, in the last 25 years of politics in Canada, has there been a “consensus” on abortion, for or against. Never has there been legal ground to promote or demote abortion services in Canada. The House of Commons had passed a bill intending to offer some legal framing in regards to abortion services shortly after the R. V. Morgentaler decision, but this legislation died in a Senate tie vote, effectively promoting a free roam on abortion services, for anyone who wanted them, at any time. What does this mean for pro-lifers and pro-choicers alike? More importantly, what does it mean for women, and their unborn children? It means a woman can receive an abortion at ANY stage in her pregnancy, even the moment before birth. The unborn child has no recognized status in the eyes of the government until it has FULLY exited the woman’s body.

Even more striking, there is no legal framing to protect women who may be coerced into having an abortion by their family, their boyfriend, or significant other, their doctor, or any person of influence in their lives. The result has been effectively a battleground over the woman’s body for anyone who wants to take part. We as a society have been so keen to give women this right to abortion, that we have completely looked past any commitment to protect women from the implications that this brings on to them by people of influence in their lives. Pro-choice activists are vehemently against any attempt to protect women in these vulnerable situations. This can be great ground to build off of as pro-lifers in an attempt to care for the woman and her unborn child at the same time.

Update: Bill C-384 Defeated

by Garnet

The motion to move the Private Members Bill C-384 to committee stage was defeated today in a vote of 59 in favour and 228 opposed, which means this bill is defeated.

This issue, however, is far from being decided in Canada. We must continue educating our peers about the dangers of euthanasia and assisted suicide. We must remain steadfast and resolute in our fight for the dignity of human life — from conception to natural death!

Bill C-384 Vote Today

by Garnet

Our elected Members of Parliament will vote this evening on Bill C-384, the “Right to Die with Dignity” bill proposed by Bloq MP Francine Lalonde.  This vote will decide whether the bill is suitable to move to the next stage in Parliamentary procedure: the committee stage.  Five or six of us were in the House of Commons yesterday to hear the final debate on this bill during Private Members’ Hour.  Here are a few reflections.

The house was a lot emptier than I expected it to be.  Very few cabinet ministers attended the debate, but we did see two of our pro-life heroes MPs Brad Trost and Maurice Vellacott.  After a discussion about representation by population (or something) was finished, the speaker of the house was asked to recognize that the clock was at 5:30 p.m., which meant the Private Members’ Hour was to begin.

Liberal MP Mauril Belanger from Ottawa-Vanier spoke first. He called for more dialogue on the issue, and will vote in favour of the bill going to the committee stage.  He also called for clearer definitions of terms like euthanasia, assisted suicide and “dying with dignity”.

Next was NDP MP Bill Siksay from Burnaby, BC.  He pledged his support for the bill, insisting that the right to die would not turn into the duty to die.  He is committed to providing choice for those that wish to end their lives.

Bloq MP Nicole Demers from Laval, QC also spoke about providing choice.  She said,

As long as one has a life to live and wants to live it, life should go on. However, when an individual can no longer endure the pain they are suffering, I want them to have choices.

MP Nicole Demers

After hearing just about enough choice rhetoric, Conservative MP Tim Uppal from Edmonton spoke with the voice of truth.  He is opposed to the bill and does not believe that doctors should be given the authority to end a life.  I was waiting for him to mention the Hippocratic Oath, but he didn’t.  He also expressed concerns with the bill itself, saying the scope was much too broad, and the safeguards for informed consent were not sufficient.

Liberal MP Mike Savage from Dartmouth, NS, spoke next.  He told an emotional story about his parents, who both died of cancer six weeks apart. Even though his parents suffered, he said, they were still able to be in control of their lives until the end.  I liked his emphasis on palliative care:

Let us focus on palliative care and home care. Let us provide the supports that people need in their time of need. Let us be very mindful of people with disabilities, particularly people who are not always able to make decisions on their own and who rely upon others for support, guidance and the everyday aspects of their lives.

MP Mike Savage

NDP MP Jim Maloway from Winnipeg, MB also spoke against the bill.

I am concerned about the point made by some members that if we were to adopt this measure, it would cut back the impetus to improve palliative care. As long as assisted suicide is illegal, the pressure will still be on governments and jurisdictions to develop palliative care as quickly as possible. If we passed legislation like this bill, then the pressure would be off.

MP Jim Maloway

He also expressed concerns with the way the issue has developed in Holland, where the minister who introduced the euthanasia bill to the Dutch Parliament has since changed her mind.  He advocated for increased support for palliative care programs.

The last MP to speak before Ms Lalonde had the floor to respond was NDP MP Charlie Angus from Timmins, ON.  He also opposes the bill.  He also advocated for increased support for palliative care.

It is possible to treat people with dignity right through the final moments. However, that has to be a decision we make as a society and a commitment we make to each other that we will be there as a society, we will be there with the medical system, we will be there as family and we will be there as a community.

MP Charlie Angus

Then Francine Lalonde had an opportunity to respond.  She spoke quite passionately about the issue.  For Lalonde, someone who has fought cancer herself, this issue is somewhat personal.  She concluded with this:

I can tell you that when I wrote that [newspaper article in 2005], I did not know what unbearable pain was. Now I do and I have learned that medicine, with all its progress, can only provide help with side effects such as hallucinations or other terrible effects to the body. We have to have the right to choose. I am speaking on behalf of the vulnerable. They are the ones who need this type of legislation the most because only this type of legislation will allow them to be the people they choose to be. There are currently many places where people can die and with all the instruments available to doctors, it is possible to help people die without them having to ask.

MP Francine Lalonde

It is the vulnerable that have the most to fear if this bill passes. As is seen in European countries who have legalized euthanasia, the “right to die” can easily become “the duty to die” and “the expectation to die”.  This is symptomatic of a devaluing of human life.  I hope this is not happening in Canada, but so much of what I hear and see tells me it is happening.

Dr. Catherine Ferrier in a letter to the editor in the National Post yesterday says it best.

. . . the slippery slope has definitely materialized in jurisdictions where euthanasia is legal. In the Netherlands, euthanasia is administered routinely to patients who are not terminally ill but rather have chronic diseases or psychological distress; to patients who are incapable of consenting or who are capable but were not consulted; and to children, including newborns. Dying with dignity should indeed be a right for all Canadians, but Ms. Lalonde’s proposal of allowing doctors to kill patients is the worst possible way of reaching this goal.

Dr. Catherine Ferrier

We will be going back to the House this evening to witness the vote.  I hope our politicians will have the courage to stand up for the dignity of human life and oppose this bill.

*quotes taken from a transcript of the debate on OpenParliament.ca.

Breaking News: Roxanne’s Law Introduced in Parliament

Bill to Ban Coerced Abortion Introduced into Canadian Parliament

By Daniel Gilman

LifeSiteNews is reporting that today in the House of Commons Member of Parliament Rod Bruinooge tabled Bill C-510, which will be known as Roxanne’s Law. This bill is seeking to stop people from intimidating and pressuring women to have abortions against their will.  This bill recognizes the reality that there are women throughout Canada who are coerced into having abortions. As Mr. Bruinooge clearly stated: “Many women have been forced into unwanted abortions; others have been injured or killed for resisting, like Roxanne Fernando, in whose memory I have named this bill.”

Mr Bruinooge went onto explain, “In early 2007, Roxanne Fernando’s boyfriend attempted to coerce her into having an abortion.  After backing out on the decision to abort her baby, Roxanne’s boyfriend then chose to have her killed.  When someone uses coercion, it can lead to violence.  Roxanne’s Law will communicate to all Canadians that coercing a pregnant woman to have an abortion against her will is unacceptable in a nation that values human rights.”

For further information see LifeSiteNews or continue to check our blog for further updates.

Please consider writing a brief email to Mr. Bruinooge letting him know of your support for this much needed bill: rod@bruinooge.com