Friday, February 24, 2012

Making politicians accountable, one letter at a time

A while ago I wrote about how important it was to make sure we send our letters to the right politician in Rob Nicholson is the man.

Mr. Harper had forwarded that letter to Mr. Nicholson. Below is the email exchange between myself and Mr. Nicholson.

I also include the response I received from Mr. Belanger, who wins a gold star for the most useless-computer-generated-email-of-the-year award. I've now received at least seven of these "letters".


Dear Mr. Harper and Mr. Belanger,

It is time to open up the floor for a debate on the legal status of children in the womb. You are my Prime Minister and my Member of Parliament respectively. You are both where you are today because Canadians voted you to represent us. And a majority of Canadians (Seventy-two percent) surveyed in a September National Omnibus poll support legal protection for unborn babies. Most (62%) want protection from conception, or two or three months' gestation on. Another ten percent favour protection from 6 months on (Source: Environics poll commissioned by LifeCanada).

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) said the current Criminal Code provisions, which allow children to be terminated up until the moment they have fully exited their mother's birth canal, are "convoluted" and "dumbfounding." They support the effort of Tory MPs Stephen Woodworth (Kitchener Centre) and Jeff Watson (Essex) to have Parliament re-examine Canada's legal definition of the beginning of human life.

I also support this effort and congratulate both Mr. Woodworth and Mr. Watson for their willingness to have this discussion. Their speaking out is to be commended, when so many other MPs either remain silent or are pro-abortion.

It is time to advocate for our pre-born citizens and heed what the Supreme Court judges said in 1988 when they struck down Canada's abortion law (R. v. Morgentaler, 1988). That Parliament has the right to legislate protection for unborn children (e.g. Chief Justice Dickson said, "Like Beetz and Wilson JJ., I agree that protection of foetal interests by Parliament is also a valid governmental objective."). A perfect place to begin this discussion, is with the re-examination of the legal status of children in the womb.

Mr. Harper, you have never offered a principled reason for censoring a public discussion on abortion in this country. If now is not the time, then when?

I look forward to hearing back from both of you.

Patricia Maloney


Dear Ms. Maloney,

The Office of the Prime Minister has forwarded to me a copy of your correspondence concerning abortion.

As you know, in 1988, the Supreme Court of Canada held that the Criminal Code prohibition of abortion was unconstitutional and struck it down. The Government of Canada has indicated it will not reopen the debate on abortion.

In Canada, the provinces are responsible for the administration and funding of health care services. As is the case for other medical procedures, the delivery of abortion services is determined by the policies of the provincial governments and the standards set by the medical profession itself.

I appreciate having had your comments brought to my attention.

Yours truly,
The Honourable Rob Nicholson


This is to acknowledge receipt of your email.

I appreciate hearing from the constituents of Ottawa—Vanier. Rest assured that your correspondence will be reviewed and acted upon should it be required.

Thank you for writing.


The Honourable Mauril BĂ©langer, M.P.

(Really Mr. Belanger. Do you think you could find five minutes to provide a real answer to a constituent's letter? Apparently not.)


Dear Mr. Nicholson,

Thank you for your recent response to the email that I sent to the Prime Minister regarding our need to debate the legal status of children in the womb.

I must however, respectfully disagree with your statement that the 1988 Supreme Court ruled that the prohibition of abortion was unconstitutional. The 1988 Morgentaler decision did not give women the constitutional right to abortion in Canada. As well, the Supreme Court judges said that it was reasonable to put some restrictions on abortion because protection of the fetus is a legitimate government objective. And that Mr. Nicholson, is a legitimate objective of your government, which is also my government.

You say that the Government of Canada has indicated that it will not reopen the abortion debate. With all due respect Mr. Nicholson, it is not the Government of Canada who says this, it is Mr. Harper who says this. And just because Mr. Harper refuses to reopen the abortion debate, really is moot to whether or not the abortion debate should be reopened. As I noted below, 72% of Canadians support legal protection for the unborn and it is the will of the people that should be listened to. Mr. Harper can have his say in the abortion matter, certainly. Just like I, and every other Canadian can have a say. Yet we are systematically shut down, time and time again, in ever being allowed to have a voice in this country on this subject. And when we voice our concerns to our political leaders, we receive cut and pasted answers, or computer generated replies, that are a very poor substitute for real active engagement and debate on the subject.

If it weren't for a very few brave MPs like Mr. Woodworth, and a few before him, who have had the courage to speak out in the defense of the unborn, like the Supreme Court said they should, at great cost to their own political careers I might add, the silence from the rest of our elected leaders, you included, would be deafening.

That is not what democracy is Mr. Nicholson.

Patricia Maloney

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