Thursday, March 28, 2013

M-408 - backbenchers sit on the bench

From today's National Post

M-408: a symptom of a much bigger problem

This is what happened yesterday with Mark Warawa's motion 408:
"After forcing B.C. Conservative MP Mark Warawa to rush through a prepared statement and then announcing they had no questions for him, the MPs on the all-party committee threw him and others out of the packed room on Parliament Hill to hold their discussions in secret.

They made their decision within 15 minutes and refused to reveal it until it is reported to the Speaker of the House of Commons — potentially as early as Thursday."

This democracy debacle, that has unfolded this past week, was summed up nicely by Andrew Coyne:
"This did not begin with Warawa, in short, and it will not end here. The question is whether opposition MPs will join the fray. The shuttering of Warawa’s motion, after all, was an all-party affair: it was his motion this time, but it could be theirs next. There’s a fight worth having, here, but it isn’t Conservatives vs. Opposition, or pro-life vs. pro-choice. It’s for the freedom of all MPs against the dictates of a system that, as in no other democracy, has vested all power in the party leader."

So how did we get here anyway? I'm glad you asked that question.

First, we allowed unlimited rights to choose to kill pre-born children. Next, we allowed the prime minister to not allow us to discuss abortion. Then, we allowed NDP and Liberal MPs to complain loudly and continually, that the prime minister won't muzzle his MPs who dare bring forward pro-life bills or motions. After that, we allowed the Conservative whip to yield a big stick and enforce the prime minister's bidding.

Finally, we allowed the abortion issue to be solved once and for all, by dispensing with parliamentary procedure and MP's rights to speak for their constituents, or with their conscience, about anything remotely concerning abortion or fetal rights.

That is how we got to where we are today. This is the footprint of a supposedly democratic nation, one of the wealthiest, most educated, most tolerant nations on Earth. We have allowed ourselves to reach this point, where we are tolerant of freedom of expression in all cases, on all subjects, except when it concerns abortion or fetal rights.

We have allowed backbench MPs--who don't fall into step with their leader and his will regarding what they can, or can't do; what they can, or can't say--to be ignored, marginalized, and muzzled.

That is how we got here.

We now need to ask ourselves a question. What are we going to do about it? Do we allow this to continue, or do we take a stand? Because in the end, it's all up to us.

Update: Mr. Warawa's press release this afternoon

"Warawa disappointed with Committee’s decision
M-408 — Mr. Warawa (Langley) — That the House condemn discrimination against females occurring through sex-selective pregnancy termination.

Ottawa, ON (March 28th, 2013) — Today, following the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs’ decision to reject Langley MP Mark Warawa’s appeal on the votability of Motion 408, Warawa stated that he is very disappointed with their decision. Warawa will announce his next step when the House returns.

“I have three options. I can accept the decision of PROC, appeal to the House, or introduce another motion or bill,” stated Warawa. “I want to make sure that I take time to consider what is best for the issue of discrimination against women and girls.”

The United Nations estimates that 200 million women and girls are missing due to gendercide, and stated: “Renewed and concerted efforts are needed by governments and civil society to address the deeply rooted gender discrimination which lies at the heart of sex selection.”

“92% of Canadians want the practice of sex selection condemned,” said Warawa. “I need time to consider how best to move this issue forward.”

Mr. Warawa must make his decision by April 19th."

I have a pretty good feeling this isn't the end of this.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Abortion - the third rail of politics - touch it and you’re dead

Margaret Somerville asks us some very important questions today in her article on Why we should talk about sex-selection abortion and what is happening in our Parliament.

Here is part of what Dr. Somerville had to say:

"...Prime Minister Stephen Harper does not want any discussion of abortion, in his case, in Parliament. He had stated that the government would not support Motion 408. But was he speaking of “his,” “our,” or “the” government? The differences among these qualifying words can convey different messages.

“His” government strongly indicates Harper will tell members of cabinet and, sometimes, perhaps, all Conservative MPs, how to vote. “Our” government could mean the cabinet or the Conservative caucus decides the stance to be taken, or it could refer to Canadians and mean that MPs should pay at least some attention to how their constituents would want them to vote.

“The” government is less ambiguous — it’s the Canadian government, and, in a representative democracy, MPs should pay at least some attention to how their constituents would want them to vote.

We know that most Canadians abhor discrimination against girls and women and that 92 per cent of Canadians believe that sex-selective abortion is wrong and should not occur in Canada. So why wouldn’t the government support this motion, and would even, keeping in mind that Harper said it was “unfortunate” that Motion 312 had not been found non-unvotable, possibly go so far as to prevent discussion of it?

The short answer is that, yet again, they don’t want to touch the third rail of politics — touch it and you’re dead: abortion.

...And Ambrose’s excuse that she will vote against Motion 408 “only because it has been set up that way” — that is, is connected with abortion — doesn’t make sense. It’s not possible to discuss a motion on sex-selective abortion or vote on it, whether for or against, without mentioning abortion.

Just earlier this month, Harper strongly condemned violence and discrimination against women in his press release statement for International Women’s Day. Yet he is not prepared to vote against sex-selective abortion, and is prepared to force other cabinet ministers not to do so, regardless of their conscientious beliefs in this regard.

It’s true that recognizing sex-selective abortion as an instance of discrimination against women might sensitize more of us to the violence that all abortion involves. But not being able to face the reality of what is involved in abortion can be a warning from our moral intuitions that what we are doing is unethical, and it can result in our suppressing an emotional response to abortion that we would ignore at our ethical peril.

And a final question: To what extent is a failure to condemn sex-selective abortion, when confronted with the question as a lawmaker, or taking steps to prevent it being discussed, a passive endorsement of it?

I would answer Dr. Somerville's last question, by saying that if you fail to condemn sex-selection abortion, it's far worse than passive endorsement. Your refusal to discuss the subject, tells us all we need to know.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Democracy is not a sport

Well well well. Mr. Harper is facing some opposition to his Captain Universe and Supreme commander Persona (CUSP).

Some of his MPs are speaking out that their democratic rights are being thwarted. Mr. Mark Warawa, Mr. Leon Benoit and Mr. Rod Bruinooge aren't happy Commandees. No siree.

And lo and behold we even have Green Party leader Elizabeth May, lone Commander of a party of one, speaking out for, you guessed it, that pesky D word: DEMOCRACY.

Read what Government whip Mr. Gordon O'Connor, had to say about Mr. Warawa's complaint regarding Motion 408, and Ms. May's excellent reply:
"...However, Government whip Gordon O’Connor urged the Speaker to reject Warawa’s complaint, arguing that it’s up to each party to determine which of their MPs will be given a chance to speak.

“Put simply, this is a team activity and your role is referee,” he told Scheer.

“It is not your job as referee to tell the coach or manager which player to play at any given time. That is a question for each team to decide.”

But Green party Leader Elizabeth May said that analogy “cuts to the core of what is wrong with parliamentary democracy,” suggesting MPs “are here as teams, as brands or colours and we are all to take instructions from our team boss.”

“We are not here as teams,” May said. “The principle of Westminster parliamentary democracy is that we are here as representatives of our constituencies and our constituents.”

Noting that political parties are not even mentioned in the Constitution, May added: “They are not an essential part of our democracy. They have grown to be seen as the most interesting thing going on and we have grown to see politics as some sort of sport.

“However, democracy is not a sport.”

Go Lizzie go. You tell Mr. Whipper Snipper.

Interesting turn of events here. I wonder what the future may hold.

I've heard a lot of grumbling from the wee teeny tiny comandees (that's you and me, and we don't even get a CAP on the C because we don't usually count for too much if anything at all). And these little ittty bitty comandees are telling me that they won't vote for Mr. Harper next election time (neither will I as I've said before).

So...maybe we need to start a "Don't vote for Harper" next time we hit the ballot boxes with our puny little X's. Or maybe an "Anything BUT Harper" campaign.

Who knows. Maybe the Green Queen herself might give the CUSP a run for his democracy. Just saying.

Monday, March 25, 2013

If Warawa's M-408 now - who's next?

The democratic process is alive and well in Canada...except when it comes to any subject related to prenatal human life.

We see this time and time again on our campuses, in our Parliament, in our media, and now we see it even affecting private member's business (PMB). PMB is not government business. It is individual member's chance to introduce motions or bills that they or their constituents feel is important.

On Thursday last week, MP Mark Warawa's Private Member's Motion 408, "that the House condemn discrimination against females occurring through sex-selective pregnancy termination" was deemed non-votable by the Subcommittee on Private Members' Business of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

This means that the motion will not be allowed to go before Parliament to be voted on by members in the House. Yet according to an impartial Library of Parliament analyst, M-408 passed all the votability criteria and therefore should have been deemed votable, according to strict rules of the House.

Yet representatives from all three parties unanimously voted against it.

Pro-lifers have grown used to having MPs vote against anything that attempts to provide any legal protection for the unborn. However to date, our elected representatives have been at least allowed to bring forward private member's bills and motions. Now it seems that avenue might be closing as well.

One would think that the opposition parties would at least stand up for democracy if they can't bring themselves to ever stand up for the unborn. In this case, however, they sided with the Conservative MP on the committee. Unless someone can provide evidence to the contrary, we can only assume that all three parties were whipped into voting against allowing the Motion to proceed to a vote.

It is a well known fact that Prime Minister Harper will never bring forward abortion legislation, and all other parties have an official "pro-choice" stand on abortion. There is unanimous distaste amongst all political parties for anything remotely related to abortion. But so what?

Parliament is supposed to exist to serve the people. Parliament is not supposed to exist to serve the politicians.

Since the parties represent the people--all the people, even those they don't agree with--all viewpoints must be respected, discussed and debated as the public wishes. This motion had a lot of public support, and a recent (2011) Environics poll told us that 92% of Canadians are against sex selective abortions. In fact, leaders from all the major parties spoke out against sex selection prior to the introduction of this motion. To all of a sudden unilaterally prevent our elected MPs from voting on this issue in Parliament, is a perversion of the democratic process that is our right.

Democracy in Canada should not apply only when it is convenient for our political leaders. When we allow this kind of behaviour, that arbitrarily deems some topics worthy of discussion and others not worthy, democracy loses its meaning.

All three parties are pro-choice. If the democratic process can be subverted simply because of a pre-existing bias by those in power, it is only a matter of time before another topic suffers the same fate.

Mr. Warawa will be appealing the non-votability ruling to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (PROC) on Wednesday. If the PROC committee upholds the non-votability ruling, Mr. Warawa has said he will take the unprecedented step of appealing that ruling to the House where a secret ballot of all Members will take place over the course of two days. That vote will determine whether or not M-408 will be allowed to proceed to a vote. In effect, it will be a vote for or against democracy in our Canadian Parliament.

It is quite a sad irony that something so small and vulnerable as the child in the womb can instill so much fear in our political leaders, that they are willing to sacrifice one of our most cherished Canadian values--democracy itself—in order to shield themselves from the truth about what abortion involves.

What's important in Canada

This post falls under the category "I am not kidding".

Prime Minister Harper. And his wife. Make special trip. To Toronto. To greet. Pandas.

Two nice. Cute. Cuddly. Pandas. Animals. Not people.

I am not kidding.

Opposition leaders need to speak out

Dear Ms. May, Mr. Rae, and Mr. Mulcair,

As you know, last week MP Mark Warawa's Private Member's Motion 408, "that the House condemn discrimination against females occurring through sex-selective pregnancy termination", was deemed non-votable by the Subcommittee on Private Members' Business of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

This means that the motion will not be allowed to go before Parliament to be voted on by members in the House. Yet the Motion was in fact deemed to be votable by the impartial Library of Parliament according to strict rules by the House.

I understand that the three of you are all pro-choice and that your parties are also pro-choice. Although I do not agree with the pro-choice position, which apparently is always against any legal protection for the unborn, in a democratic society, you and your parties are free to have these views.

What I don't understand, is why none of you have publicly spoken out against this perversion of the democratic process in Parliament, that took place in deeming this Motion non-votable. The fact that you are all pro-choice should have no bearing on the politics that allowed this to occur.

As leaders of the opposition parties, your role is to ensure that the government in power is accountable to the people, and such attacks on democracy are prevented.

Will you please look at this situation and bring your influence to remedy it? Democracy is waiting for you, and so are all Canadians.

Thank you.

Patricia Maloney

Friday, March 22, 2013

Democracy is for all Canadians

I wonder if Mr. Harper thought nobody would notice what happened yesterday.

And no, I don't mean the budget. Though Mr. Harper may have been hoping that the budget would distract us. It didn't.

What happened was, that MP Mark Warawa's Motion 408 ("That the House condemn discrimination against females occurring through sex-selective pregnancy termination") was deemed non-votable by the Subcommittee on Private Members' Business of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

This means that the motion will not be allowed to go before Parliament to be voted on by members in the House. Yet the Motion was in fact deemed to be votable by the Library of Parliament according to the strict rules by the House.

This is what Vice-President and General Legal Counsel Don Hutchinson, from the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, has to say about this:
“The criteria for votability is quite simple, house motions must address federal jurisdiction, they cannot clearly violate constitutional documents, they cannot concern questions that are ‘substantially the same as ones already voted on by the House of Commons in the current Parliamentary session’ and they must not concern issues already on the Order Paper or Notice Paper as items of government business. In our estimation and according to our research, Motion M-408 clearly and easily met these requirements.”

I hope all Canadians who believe in the democratic process, especially as it pertains to our elected Members of Parliament who are not exempt from following the rules, will write to the committee members and to the Prime Minister Harper about this. I did and my email and the pertinent email addresses are below. Also write to your own MP and ask them to stand up for democracy on this issue.

Dear Mr. Harper, Mr. Armstrong, Mr. Dion, Mr. Toone, Mr. MacKenzie,

Today Motion 408 was deemed non-votable by the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

I must express my very deep concern and disappointment regarding this very disturbing affront to democracy in Canada.

As you know, the Motion was deemed votable by an impartial expert from your own Library of Parliament, so there was absolutely no reason for this to happen.

This Motion was not even a Bill; all it asked for, was for all parties to condemn discrimination against females occurring through sex-selective pregnancy termination or gendercide in this country. This is something that all of the parties have said in the past that they were against.

If any of you did not want to vote for the Motion at the time it was put before Parliament, that is one thing. However to prevent it from ever seeing the light of day is something else altogether. This action is a shameful mark on our country which prides itself as being a strong, free and democratic nation, one of the best in the world.

It is my sincerest hope and prayer that Mr. Warawa's appeal against this unfair and unjust ruling succeeds.

Patricia Maloney

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Gestational Legislation: a morally sound strategy

In the most recent issue of the Guelph and Area Right to Life newsletter, there is an (unsigned) front page article on gestational legislation titled: Gestational Legislation - Giving Henry Morgentaler more than he asked for?

We are all aware that there are some in the pro-life community who agree with the gestational approach, and there are some who do not agree with it. This is fair, and it is okay that we do not all agree on the same approach to abortion.

They stated (rightly) that the debate on the gestational strategy has:
"sometimes [been] heated and hurtful".

I have grave concerns however, by the tone of this article whose sole purpose seems to be to demean the gestational approach, which the author does not themselves believe in.

Archbishop Miller of Vancouver and Cardinal Collins both published statements that a gestational approach to abortion is a moral and valid belief.

"This teaching [in Evangelium Vitae n. 73] makes clear that legislation which intends to limit the harm done by a pro-abortion law is not itself cooperation with an unjust law but rather "a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects." A law aimed at limiting the number of legally authorized abortions does not entail the approval of those abortions that it fails to criminalize.

In the absence of a "pro-abortion" law within the Criminal Code of Canada, that is, of a law that explicitly permits abortion, some think that gestational legislation — or any incrementalist legislation — might create a new law that implicitly authorizes abortion. However, in Canada, a series of court rulings, a failure on the part of the federal Parliament to pass criminal legislation, and a variety of provincial laws, regulations and funding formulas intended to provide access to abortion, have the effect of a defacto legal regime that permits abortion with almost no restrictions. Legislation intended to restrict access to abortion would not create a new legal situation in Canada which would authorize abortions, but instead would intend to limit the number of abortions already authorized under the law. Moreover, such legislation intends to limit the harm done to public morality by the injustice already present in the defacto legal situation."

Many of us welcomed this statement by Archbishop Miller. However the writer of the newsletter apparently did not. They stated that the:
"church hierarchy entered into the fray, sadly raising more tension."

I disagree. It is always healthy and proper for the church to state their position on issues of morality. This is what our church leaders are supposed to do: guide the flock on moral issues. With something as important as abortion, their statements provided us with this necessary guidance. Those of us who believe gestational legislation is a valid philosophy, were encouraged that our actions were in line with Catholic Church teaching. As to raising more tension, this is only true for those who do not accept a gestational strategy. For the rest of us, there is no tension, only joy that we may continue doing what we are already doing.

The newsletter then stated that:
"[regarding a gestational approach] it is argued that we wish only the good, to protect the children after twenty weeks, but implicit in this approach is the fact that those we do not include we abandon."

It is not implicit at all that we are abandoning any babies. Here is what Archbishop Miller said regarding this:
"A law aimed at limiting the number of legally authorized abortions does not entail the approval of those abortions that it fails to criminalize."

I was also very troubled by the long quote the writer provided from abortion doctor Morgentaler from 1967 that appeared to be used to make a not so veiled comparison of Morgentaler, to people who believe in a gestational approach.

(Note: In 1967 the existing abortion law prohibited all abortions, so the quote is not pertinent to the current situation where there is no legal restrictions on abortion.)

The writer then quotes Dr. Morgentaler who said that the end does not justify the means. The writer says of this comment, that:
"Strange he did not see the plank in his own eye. Let us not be the same."

The implication is that those of us who believe in a gestational approach to get rid of abortion, are wrong. We are not wrong, as Archbishop Miller also stated,:
"The teaching of the Catholic Church on this matter is clear. Under the conditions articulated in Evangelium Vitae, n. 73, it is morally licit to work for and to vote for legislation, including gestational legislation, which limits the harmful effect of an unjust legal regime that permits abortion."

For those people who cannot support gestational legislation, like the writer of the article, this is a fair belief to hold, and is not against the Church. We respect that viewpoint and we welcome any sound evidence that shows the gestational approach does not work.

However, what is "hurtful" and harmful to the movement, is articles such as this, which provides no evidence, but rather, simply criticizes our morally justified beliefs of the gestational approach.

Archbishop Miller closes with these wise words:
"We pray that the prolife movement may not be divided in spirit by disagreements regarding the practical wisdom of gestational legislation. We implore all within the movement to refrain from questioning the good will or motives of those who have taken a different stand from their own on this issue."

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

St. Joseph, we need to talk

Dear St. Joseph,

I know today is your special day, your feast day. I also know that you are the Patron Saint of Canada. That's a good thing. Because we need a lot of prayers right now, here in the cold cold North, one day away from Spring. But you'd never know it because winter is still here. And it's not just normal winter that I'm talking about here.

It's about the deep dark winter here in the land of snow, igloos and moose; a winter of our discontent if you are yet to be born; a winter that never lets up and little souls are lost every day.

You see St. Joseph, our wonderful country doesn't have any legal protection for the unborn. None. I know it's hard to believe, but it's true. And no matter how hard we try, we can't seem to get any politicians to stand up for the unborn. (Actually, that's not true. We do have a few brave men and women in politics who speak for pre-born citizens. I and others are very very proud of them.)

It's the first bunch that I am writing to you about today. These men and women, including all our leaders in our Parliament, won't ever support any legislation that works to protect the unborn. Ever.

They won't even support a motion that condemns sex-selection abortion. I am not kidding. (Actually, they did condemn it before, but they won't condemn it now.)

And no, I'm not pulling your leg, even though I'm not sure you have a leg. Regardless, it's the God honest truth. That's why you and I are having this talk on your feast day.

We need your help to change this St. Joseph. We need you to pray for all these men and women to have a change of heart. To look into their souls and listen to what their conscience says to them there. (At least I'm pretty sure they have a conscience, right?)

You were a good father, a man who took care of his family, a man who kept his wife and Son out of danger. You are an example for all mankind. If you could protect Mary and Jesus, I know you can do the same for all of our mothers and their pre-born children.

Thanks St. Joseph. We're counting on you. We'll all pray with you too, okay? And can I ask you one more thing before I go? Can you please ask your wife Mary to pray for us too? And maybe the rest of the Saints? And how about all the angels, especially Michael the Archangel? Them too. Well maybe that's three more things. But you get the point.

Well that's it for now. I'll let you know next time we talk, how it went okay?

Patricia Maloney

Monday, March 18, 2013

Harper or Obama: who would you choose?

There are two ways to be "pro-choice". The first is the Barack Obama way. The second is the Stephen Harper way.

The way Mr. Obama does it, is the in your face approach. There can be no doubt about where Mr. Obama stands on "women's rights". He is not even against partial birth abortion. And neither is Mrs. Obama.

This is what Mr. Obama said regarding the Born Alive Act, a bill that requires doctors to give care to babies who survive abortions. In the audio Mr. Obama argues against a law that would require another doctor to come in and save the baby if it's viable.

(Also notice he has some trouble with what to call the born child, calling it a fetus):
"That if that fetus, or child, however you want to describe it, is now outside of the mother's womb and the doctor continues to think that it's non viable but there's lets say movement or some indication that they're not just coming out limp and dead that in fact they would then have to call in a second physician to monitor and check off and make sure that this is not a live child that could be saved?"

In fact Mrs. Obama actively campaigned for her husband in 2004 calling partial-birth abortion “legitimate” medicine:
“The fact remains, with no provision to protect the heath of the mother, this ban on a legitimate medical procedure is clearly unconstitutional and must be overturned.”

That great abortion mecca in the US, the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), even gave Obama a "100% score on his pro-choice voting record in the Senate for 2005, 2006, and 2007".

Mr. Obama also cozies up to International Planned Parenthood. So much so, that the White House actually produced a video on Youtube where he thanks IPPF.

Now we come to the Stephen Harper way of being pro-choice. Where does Mr. Harper stand on abortion? Well, he's never said that he supports abortion. He's also never said that he's against abortion. (Though I did find this quote in 2002 where he says he's "moderately pro-life". Whatever that means). Ever since of course, Mr. Harper has refused to discuss abortion in any way shape or form.

Even though Mr. Harper won't talk about abortion, his actions clearly tells us he is pro-choice.

For instance, in the fall of 2008, Mr. Harper conveniently called an election, killing the Unborn Victims of Crime Act, Bill C-484, which had previously passed the Second Reading vote in the spring of 2008 (Note: all bills die when an election is called). Then Mr. Harper voted against Roxanne's Law against coerced abortion (Bill C-510). Next Mr. Harper voted against study to look at when life begins (Motion 312). And finally, Mr. Harper tells us his government will vote against a Motion against sex-selection abortion (Motion 408).

And last and probably most, Mr. Harper won't let us discuss abortion in Parliament, which is quite puzzling. Mr. Harper is not afraid of debating any other issue in this country. So why is he so afraid of debating or discussing abortion?

At least Obama is up-front about where he stands on abortion, he supports a "woman's right to choose" and says so. Mr. Harper just zippers his lips. But if you aren't against something, you're for it. So Mr. Harper is pro-choice.

If I had to choose between the two "pro-choice" strategies, I'd choose Mr.Obama's any day. At least we know what we're up against.

For so long Social Conservatives thought Mr. Harper was pro-life and just waiting for that majority, which he got, yet nothing changed. Except maybe, Mr. Harper dug in his pro-choice heels a little bit deeper.

I have only one question I'd like to ask. We all know that behind every great man stands an even greater woman. This is certainly true of the Obamas, the Clintons, and others. What about the Harpers? Is the great woman behind Mr. Harper the driving force behind his irrational refusal to discuss abortion? Interesting question, n'est ce pas?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Pro-abortions: what's wrong with them?

I think the pro-abortions are getting desperate. How else can we account for such pathetic behaviour?

Watch the rabid pro-abortions heckle and scream and use profane language to shout down MP Stephen Woodworth.

I'd call their behaviour infantile or childish, except I wouldn't want to insult infants or children.

It's actually kind of funny that one of them actually said (when they wouldn't let Stephen Woodworth speak) that:
“That kind of speech, that kind of facts, are not acceptable...we decided to go by the route of using satire instead of intimidation…we decided to make Stephen Woodworth feel as uncomfortable as he makes us feel.”

Not using intimidation? You're pulling my leg, right?

Did these pro-abortions ever hear of something called: having a debate and presenting some intelligent arguments to advance your point of view? Apparently not.

And then there's the Ottawa police officer who confiscates a phone from a peaceful pro-lifer and deletes all his files. Doesn't sound too legal to me.

So what's going on here? Do pro-choicers really need to resort to these kinds of threatening and despicable tactics? Haven't we been always told that it is the pro-lifers who use violence, etc?

Maybe they're frustrated because they aren't making any new friends and influencing people to their pro-abortion way of thinking. Maybe they're losing ground. Maybe they're afraid they've run out of misinformation and untruths to tell us. Maybe they know their arguments don't make any sense anymore and people see through them. Maybe they're just tired. Maybe they need to take a time-out, go sit in the corner for a bit, and have a nice cookie and a drink from their sippy cup.

When you get too extreme, well, I guess there's no where else to go but backwards.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Looking for a home (updated)

In today's National Post Andrew Coyne: Manning Conference makes one wonder how long conservative movement can keep from tearing itself apart

Mr. Coyne talks about all the different kinds of conservatism and how the current Harper Conservatives are not any of them. And this is what Mr. Coyne says about us:
"Social conservatives? Pretty much their only demand — more of a request, really — is for some sort of restriction, however mild, on the availability of abortion, in the only country in the democratic world that has none. For their troubles, they have been rewarded with a ban on even discussing it."

How true is that?

Mr. Coyne ends with this:
"I’ve never been quite clear on what progressive conservatives believe, but whatever it is, it’s not Harperism. And while I agree that free-market environmentalism ought to be part of any modern conservative coalition, it is difficult to find it in a government that boasts of taking the most top-down, regulatory-heavy approach possible to climate change — precisely because it does not take it seriously. Democratic conservatives? Don’t make me laugh. Even decentralization, the obsession of constitutional conservatives, has been fitful at best.

And yet the base remains, on the whole, quiescent. One has to wonder how long this can last."

Indeed. So where do we go from here? Can we depend on the Conservative party anymore? If not, where do we find a home? Are we even trying to find a home?

Mike Schouten over at writes more on this  "Cognitive dissonance" today.

Here is part of what Mr. Schouten wrote:
"...The campaign I am directing had an exhibit at the Manning Networking Conference and in all my conversations on the floor of the Ottawa Convention Centre there was no one who affirmed the status quo; all expressed a level of discomfort with Canada standing alone among Western nations with no protection for pre-born human rights. There is common ground among conservatives, yet, as Coyne aptly notes, “They have been rewarded with a ban on even discussing [abortion].”

The release of “The Big Shift” by John Ibbitson and Darrell Bricker surely has Mr. Harper and those close to him feeling emboldened to continue making incremental changes to shift Canada to the right. That the so-called ‘Laurentian elites’ no longer run the country may be of some comfort to grassroots conservatives, but the growing disconnect between so-called ‘Harperism’ and conservatism is of great concern and the quiet can only last so long.

While the cognitive dissonance still exists for some voters who cling to an ideology that ignores what science and philosophy have to say about the humanity of children in the womb, there is a huge shift underway in Canada in how we regard pre-born human rights. The numbers of those opposed to the status quo, especially among Canada’s youth, are growing. We are witnessing a youth movement unwilling to blindly accept the dogma of the previous generation and who are making decisions informed by science and reason. They are displaying a passion for responding to injustices, manifested by the sheer numbers of young Canadian women and men involved in the battle for the protection of all human beings, no matter their location..."

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Putting the opposition in its place

This. Is disturbing. On a couple of levels:
“The concern about Mr. Warawa’s motion is that the opposition has positioned it as an issue about abortion so it becomes a very divisive issue. I haven’t decided but I will probably vote with the cabinet which is going to be voting against it, only because it has been set up that way.”

Minister Rona Ambrose said this regarding Mark Warawa's motion to condemn “discrimination against females, occurring through sex-selective pregnancy termination.”

The most obvious reason Ms. Ambrose's statement is troubling, is because how can anyone not condemn sex-selection abortion? Just yesterday Mr. Harper issued a press release that said:
"Our Government supports grassroots organizations across the country for community projects aimed at ending violence against women and girls. These include initiatives addressing violence against women in four key areas: violence committed in the name of so-called ‘honour’; the trafficking of women and girls; women and girls in high-risk neighbourhoods; and engaging men and boys..."

We also know that Mr. Harper has stated that his government will not support the Motion.

Yet our Government says they are against violence against women and girls, but can't bring themselves to condemn violence against girl babies before they are born. This makes no sense.

The second reason Ms. Ambrose statement is of concern is this part:
"The concern about Mr. Warawa’s motion is that the opposition has positioned it as an issue about abortion so it becomes a very divisive issue."

Of course the opposition has positioned the Motion as an issue about abortion, this is what the opposition does. Whenever they can make anything an issue about abortion, they do it. And it's divisive because we play into the opposition's fear mongering and allow them to bully us into feeling threatened by the motion, making the motion something that it clearly isn't. When the opposition goes into attack mode on any other issue in this country, do we then say: "Oh dear, I better not vote for something that makes perfect sense because the opposition won't like it"?

Is that how our Cabinet Ministers work in Parliament? Become afraid of voting a particular way because the opposition will make it "divisive"? No it isn't. At least it isn't for any other topic. Only topics that pertain to pre-born children, get this special treatment.

I hope that Ms. Ambrose and all of the cabinet, including Mr. Harper, will look at the Motion and vote with their conscience, and not vote in a way that kowtows to the shrillness of the opposition who imagines things that are not even there.

Joyce Arthur's Pro-Can grant: an investigation, II

(This is the second part of an analysis done on Joyce Arthur's "Exposing Crisis Pregnancy centres" published in the January/February 2013 LifeCanada Journal. Part one was published in the November/December 2012 LifeCanada Journal.)

Fourth. In the paperwork I received from the access request, I noticed that the word "Exposing" was used interchangeably with the word "Examining".

On three of the documents in the package, the title of the report say "Exposing Crisis Pregnancy Centres" (the 10 page funding proposal, the letter from the Minister Liza Frulla congratulating Ms. Arthur on her grant, and in an email from Ms. Arthur to SWC).

On four documents, the title reads "Examining Crisis Pregnancy Centres" (the signed agreement, a follow up letter from the program office right after Ms. Frulla's letter, SWC's final report, SWC's "closeout assessment").

The word "Examining" is a far more innocuous word than "Exposing". (The final published report was also called "Exposing Crisis Pregnancy Centres".)

When I asked SWC about this discrepancy, they had no explanation. So what was going on here? As the request for funding weaved its way through the process, is it possible that SWC thought they were agreeing to a much less scandalous document that what in fact was finally produced?

Fifth. Pro-Can never publicly acknowledged the funding they received, which was a condition of receiving funding. Joyce Arthur clearly signs the following declaration in the "Application":
"I am authorized by the organization to sign this application. I am taking responsibility to ensure that the organization agrees to the following declaration and undertaking...The organization agrees to publicly acknowledge any financial or other assistance provided by SWC".

When I questioned SWC on this, their response was:
“It is true that there is no mention of SWC as the funder for this initiative in the Research Report on the website. However, a note on the website states that as of January 31, 2009, “the Pro-Choice Action Network has ceased operations except for our website”, so we will not be following up with them.” (5)

Pro-Can apparently ceased operations the same month the report was released. Even though Pro-Can had supposedly ceased operations, their web-site, which includes the report, is still very much active, and is still very much active even today. And SWC, by their own admission, did nothing to insist that Pro-Can adhere to the promise they made to publicly acknowledge funding from SWC.

Sixth. In SWC's "Recommendation for Approval" under "If Applicable, how does this initiative link to government wide priorities and international commitments" is the following very disturbing rationale for the report:
"As stated by the Supreme Court of Canada in R. V. Morgentaler (1988), under section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, women have the right to therapeutic abortions but when crisis pregnancy centres disseminate misinformation to pregnant women, they in effect circumscribe women's full Charter rights. Through this initiative, the government of Canada is fulfilling its court ascribed duty to ensure women have full reproductive choice by informing the public of the diversity of perspectives on abortion."
(It is unclear who wrote this paragraph. The document itself was signed by SWC.)

The Morgentaler ruling only struck down the existing abortion law for procedural reasons; it never recognized a "Charter right" to abortion. There was no “court ascribed duty” for the government of Canada to “ensure women have full reproductive choice.” In fact, the court made it clear that the government had an interest in the protection of the fetus and that it was up to Parliament to bring forward a new law that would balance the interests of both mother and child.

And finally, here is the congratulatory letter from Minister of Canadian; Heritage and Minister responsible for Status of Women, Liza Frulla.

"Dear Ms. Arthur;

I am pleased to inform you that I have approved a grant in the amount of $27,400 from the Women's Program for your initiative "Exposing Crisis Pregnancy Centres." A cheque in the amount of $25,400, which represents the first payment of this funding, is enclosed.

As Minister responsible for Status of Women, I know that the Women's Program plays a vital role in supporting the work of women's and other equality-seeking organizations to remove barriers to women's full participation in Canadian, society. I recognize the critical part that organizations such as yours play in achieving this goal.

Indeed, it 's only by working together, by forming partnerships between this government and equality-seeking groups working at the local, provincial and national levels, that we will realize our shared goal of gender equality. I welcome the opportunity to support your group's role in this collaborative process.

I am confident that the results achieved through your initiative will help us demonstrate the progress we are making in advancing women's equality in our society.

In closing, I would like to congratulate you, the members of your organization and all the volunteers who will assist you in undertaking this initiative. Best wishes for continued success n your endeavours.

Liza Frulla, P.C., M.P."

This report should never have been written. The fact that it was also funded by tax payers, should never have been allowed to happen.

(1) Access to Information request received from status of Women Canada (SWC) in 2009
(5) Email correspondence with SWC in 2010

Here is a list of the different documents I received, all of which formed the packaged released under the ATIP:
a) "Application" signed by Joyce Arthur. Nine pages, plus a ten page Project Funding Proposal (used "Exposing Crisis Pregnancy Centres") and four other pages of information
b) An email from SWC to Joyce Arthur
c) "Recommendation for Approval" (nine pages signed by SWC)
d) Letter from Minister Frulla to Joyce Arthur (used "Exposing Crisis Pregnancy Centres")
e) Letter from SWC to Joyce Arthur, as a follow up to the Minister's letter (used "Examining Crisis Pregnancy Centres")
f) "Approved Budget Expenditures"
g) Two page contract detailing project, signed by Joyce Arthur (used "Examining Crisis Pregnancy Centres")
h) email from Joyce Arthur to SWC (used "Exposing Crisis Pregnancy Centres"

i) "Final report" six pages signed by Joyce Arthur (used "Examining Crisis Pregnancy Centres")
j) "Closeout assessment" six pages Signed by SWC (used "Examining Crisis Pregnancy Centres")

Friday, March 8, 2013

How to help women on International Women's Day

MaterCare International really has a hard time of it. They've tried eleven times to get government funding for the compassionate maternal care work they do in third world countries.

MaterCare's work entails a do-no-harm brand of care.

International Planned Parenthood (IPPF) on the other hand, who does receive government funding, has a brand of "care" that consists of providing contraception to third world countries.

(See these links for the last funding IPPF received)

Even though the funds IPPF received from CIDA are not supposed to be used for abortions, it does include emergency contraceptives and IUDs which many consider to be abortifacients.

And we know that IPPF includes abortion (code words "sexual and reproductive health and rights") in its "core values". IPPF believes abortion is a "human right" and are "Advocating for all governments to decriminalize abortion".

So how do we know IPPF is not using this CIDA funding to provide for, or advocate for, abortions? In fact, what mechanisms are in place on the ground in the five affected countries, to make sure this doesn't happen? Does anyone know? Because I don't.

One could make the case that IPPF's brand of "care" is more of the "we know what's good for you" variety. The kind that sticks its big nose into these very poor countries by imposing their own "values" on these exceedingly poor and underprivileged women's autonomy. Kind of like "for your own good" kind of care.

Instead of helping MaterCare and the good work they do, our tax dollars go to IPPF to "help" third world women. Makes me want to be sick.

MaterCare has set up a petition they will send to Mr. Harper to advocate for a positive kind of maternal health care that actually helps women and children. The kind of care Canadians would be proud to contribute to. The kind of care that dare I say it, saves lives.

Maybe these pathetic eleven years of refusing funding to MaterCare should come to an end. What do you think Mr. Harper, is it finally time to do something about this?

Monday, March 4, 2013

What's it like to be an abortion doctor?

When I read this article about Dr. Kathryn Treehuba at the Morgentaler clinic in Ottawa, I wondered like I often do, what it must be like to be an abortion doctor.

Why do they do it? It's a question I can't answer and I wonder if they can answer it. Are they just ordinary people with kids and a family of their own? Do they do it because they think they are helping the women they provide the abortions to? Do they do it for the money? Do they take pride in their work?

Putting aside what they do for a moment, it must be a very difficult job to do. To go to work every day and know that your job isn't exactly something you can easily broadcast to the world. Or to your neighbours. Maybe not even your families.

These are all questions any average person will ask themselves of the job they do each day. But for an abortion doctor, what they do seems so in-congruent with our usual notion of medicine where doctors heal the sick and offer patients hope for the future, that it must be quite difficult for them to reconcile their work to themselves. Or not. Perhaps I'm just naive.

I know that pro-choicers will tell us that a woman feels relief after an abortion, but I think the doctors see a lot of pain and suffering from the women they treat. And a lot of grief. Both before the abortion and after. How does the abortion doctor deal with that? How does she go home at night and feel at peace with what she does for a living? Does she ever regret her job? Does she wish she had made other choices?

I would love to be able to talk to one of them and ask them these questions. But I've never met an abortion doctor. At least I've never met a doctor who has told me that she or he performs abortions. Some do not hide the fact that they perform abortions, but what about the rest of them?

Maybe if we could take the time to listen to their stories maybe we could learn something. Maybe we could ask them if they've ever thought of giving it up. Maybe if we could put aside our judgement of what they do, just for a moment, maybe they would stop seeing us as the enemy. Maybe we could help them have a change of heart.

I don't know, but the idea intrigues me.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Election strategy: banning late-term abortions

I was startled to read this: Aggressive Incrementalism: A Winning Strategy for Pro-Lifers by Pete Spiliakos. Not because Spiliakos said anything I don't agree with, but because the author talks about how available late-term abortion on demand is in the US. Of course it is, but I always think that well, at least the Americans have some legal abortion restrictions unlike us Canadians. I guess I'm naive.

Spiliakos makes some good points about political pro-life strategies for Republicans. Our own Conservative MPs could learn a thing or two from his advice.

Spiliakos says:
"In the last few presidential elections, the strategy of the Republican presidential candidate has been to talk about abortion only when asked. The purpose seems to be to signal pro-life views while not alienating voters for whom abortion is a low priority issue. This strategy is about mobilizing an existing voting base and not at all about persuasion. It is almost an exaggeration of the general Republican approach to electoral politics recently.

This “speak only when spoken to” approach to abortion seems cautious, but it is really foolhardy. It allows Democrats and their media allies [to] decide when and how the abortion issue is discussed. So in a country in which third trimester abortions are legal on-demand, our abortion discussion centers on questions like “So why are you against the removal of a tiny clump of rapist-produced cells?” Republicans not choosing to talk about abortion doesn’t mean that we don’t talk about abortion. It means that we only talk about the issue when and how liberals choose."

Tim Hudak immediately comes to mind. Mr. Hudak barely spoke at all in the last Ontario election, when he was spoken to about abortion. Rather he fell all over himself with what many of us had thought was his pro-life world view, only to make a quick retreat to distance himself from himself.

In the next election he won't even do that. He'll pull a Mr. Harper. With his nice big spread in the Ottawa Citizen yesterday, the A word wasn't raised, and if it ever does get raised, he'll shut it down quicker than you can say I told you so. Judging from the number of abortion related letters I've sent to numerous Conservative MPPs that elicited not so much as the expected form letter response, I think I can safely conclude Mr. Hudak has told his MPPs to keep their mouths shut on the abortion issue. When the abortion issue is raised there will be no reply at all: see no evil hear no evil speak no evil. That's how the Ontario Conservatives will try and get in power.

I have already made a decision about how I will vote in the next election, Federal or Ontario. I will start by asking all the candidates in my riding about what they think about abortion. Their answer, if they have to courage to answer me, will decide how I vote.

I have voted Conservative pretty much my entire life. That automatic nod to the Conservatives has now come to an end unless the Conservative candidates respond favourably to my question.

Speaking of naive, many of us pro-life people kept telling ourselves that once the Conservatives got into power Federally that things would change. Then after they won a minority government we thought, okay they haven’t done anything, so let's wait for that majority and then they'll do something. They didn't. Silly us.

If another candidate gives me an answer that would support some legal restriction on abortion, say a ban on late-term abortions, they would get my vote.

Spiliakos then says:
"In my experience, a substantial number of self-identified pro-choicers are in favor of generally restricting late-term abortions. Many are not even aware that such abortions are legal or that President Obama supports them. It isn't simply that such pro-choicers could become allies in moving politics in a slightly more pro-life direction (though it is that too.) To some extent, presence can determine issue salience. It is all well and good to have some vague idea that late-term abortion exists and that President Obama is "pro-choice." It is another altogether to see human beings and know that some politicians are in favor of their destruction at-will."

Spiliakos could be writing about Canada. I think we all know that there are a lot of Canadians who are against late-term abortions, yet they don't all call themselves pro-life. In fact LifeCanada's latest poll  commissioned by Environics and published just last week tells us that :
"Two-thirds (65%) of Canadians think abortion should be illegal in the last three months."

Unlike most politicians, I don't think publicly stating that one is against late-term abortion is a nail in the coffin of a political career. And apparently a majority of Canadians are also against late-term abortions. All we need, is for a few good, closet anti-late-term abortion men and women candidates to say so. They might be surprised at the result.