Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Mr. Harper gets a vacation

I won't be blogging during the Month of May.

I wish all my readers a beautiful spring (finally) from up here in the land of snow (now finished), maple syrup (yum), where the moose roam freely (yes I did see one blocks from my house), the beaver chews trees (she can leave some nasty teeth marks especially if you threaten mama's babies), and the Mounties always get their man (well I'm not sure if they do). I hope to be back online in June.

I'd like to leave you with the thoughts below from Dr. Donald De Marco's book Abortion in Perspective, where he argues for the rights of the fetus because of its inherent goodness and value.

The responsibility falls on us "to judge wisely the fate of those who must plead their case in silence".

And Mr. Harper? Don't worry. I'll be back.

"With the right-to-privacy ruling[from Roe Vs. Wade], the human foetus's right to life is judged to be conferred upon him by his mother. By being unwanted by his mother, the human foetus loses all claim to his existence. What could be a clearer case of arbitrary authoritarianism? The human foetus is nothing until the mother sanctions his existence by wanting or needing him. The human foetus is good only because he is wanted; he is not wanted because he is good. The wish of the mother outweighs the substance of the foetus. The foetus has no intrinsic value, goodness, or dignity. The mother, in conferring value upon him through mere approval, becomes a symbol of power rather than love.

Opponents of abortion develop their discussion from a concern for the objective reality of the foetus which disposes them to accept the proper ordering of things and the rightfulness of creation. Anti-abortionists are realists, because they consider the substantial reality of the human foetus to be good and lovable and consequently more valuable than idea, wish, or convenience. They are democrats because they believe ordinary people to be capable of discovering and affirming the foetus's objective reality and therefore of avoiding authoritarian legislation directed against him.

Sacrificing the human foetus for the sake of an ego preference demonstrates a blatant disvaluation of reality, "an exercise in raw power". The human foetus is good because he is a human life struggling by virtue of his own inner dynamism to possess life in a larger measure. By constantly transcending himself in time, in a properly human way, he manifests the common destiny he shares with all men. No man has ever lived who did not once live as a foetus. It is deeply disturbing to think that law now regards the early foetus's right to exist as based no longer on his intrinsic goodness but on someone else's arbitrary decision. Is this not a form of human slavery?

A democratic solution to the abortion issue is possible only if people are enlightened, that is, if they exercise the intellectual vision and moral perspicacity necessary to discover and embrace a world of real values. The authoritarian refusal to revere goodness, and the insistence upon satisfying self prepares for the decay of effective democracy. "It is sad not to see any good in goodness." These words of the Russian author Nikolai Gogol capture the spiritual malaise of modern man. Man has retreated into himself and has demanded the freedom to sever all ties with truths that lie beyond his ego.

When the authoritarian transplants the natural basis for goodness for reality to the ego, he also, by the same stroke, denies the natural basis for his own goodness. If good is only externally and arbitrarily conferred, then the basis for any good, even that of the authoritarian, is undermined. Authoritarianism toward the unborn ultimately invalidates all natural bases upon which human life can be valued as objectively good. At this point no one can enjoy security against arbitrary condemnation. People will live in mutual distrust, ever fearing that the justification of their own existence will suddenly be removed by another as easily as it has been conferred. When democracy yields to authoritarianism, power replaces love. Society can not endure such moral regression.

The human foetus, frail and peaceful, can offer little protest to man's destructive ego. The full burden of wisdom falls upon those who live outside the womb. Theirs is the awesome responsibility to judge wisely the fate of those who must plead their case in silence. The silent plea for life will thunder across man's heart if he only stills his ego to listen to another's truth."

Sunday, April 28, 2013

North America is going to Hell in a handbasket

More from Brian Lilley on the Gosnell story. Brian interviews Lila Rose from Live Action.

Defense Attorney Jack McMahon said:
"If we are going to say a baby is born alive because it moves the one time without any other movement, that is ludicrous."

Lila says:
"Gosnell is not an outlier. Gosnell is not alone. There are over a thousand children every year who survive the brutal late term abortions. We have a lot more Gosnells."

Brian notes our own born alive abortions here in Canada.

And President Obama won't even comment on Gosnell. No wonder. He's too busy cozying up to Planned Parenthood:
"No matter how great the challenge, how fierce the opposition, if there's one thing the past few years have shown is that Planned Parenthood is not going anywhere. As long as we've got to fight to make sure women have access to quality, affordable health care, and as long as we've got to fight to protect a woman's right to make her own choices about her own health, I want you to know that you've also got a president who's right there with you fighting every step of the way."

When you have a president who is so committed to the abortion business, it's not hard to see where things are going.

Of course here in Canada our own Prime Minister Stephen Harper won't even let us debate abortion in (our) Parliament.

The gap between who gets to live, and who we choose to kill, seems to be getting smaller and smaller. With an American President and a Canadian Prime Minister who are anything but role models on the life issue, who knows where it will all end? Will we wake up before it's too late? I hope so.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Globe and Mail - your bias is showing

We all know where the Globe and Mail's bias lies concerning abortion. And it isn't pro-life.

This article: How abortion protests are coming to Toronto's high school steps criticizes CCBR's bloody abortion displays outside Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute. I expected no less.

Here are a few "choice" sentiments in case anyone didn't catch it:
“There’s nothing we can do; they stand off school property,” said spokeswoman Shari Schwartz-Maltz. “If members of the community take exception to what they’re saying or their tactics, they are absolutely encouraged to phone the police.”

"Some Toronto parents are fuming, not only at the presence of the pro-life group but also because the TDSB hasn’t informed them of the group making the rounds outside secondary schools. “They send us a letter home if some kid has lice. They send us a letter home if there’s been a shooting. Why hasn’t anything been sent home saying ‘Just in case you’re not aware, there is a pro-life group that has been picketing various high schools, and we’ve told kids not to engage’?”

"Others, mainly boys, were infuriated by the presence of a pro-life group. As the discussion heated up, school administrators pull them away."

"Arthur Morris was so angry, he was shaking. “I don’t have a problem with them protesting. Freedom of speech, I’m all for that. But I have a problem with this, these images, right outside of school,” said the 16-year-old. “Don’t force your religion, and it’s largely a religious thing, don’t force your religion onto others.”

(Why do pro-choice people always fall back to religion as a motivation for being pro-life? Notice how they never explain the connection between the two. And who is "forcing" religion on anybody? We aren't even talking about religion.)

“I think it’s ridiculous,” said Hayden McKinnon, 18. He added: “They’re at a high school. They’re showing pictures of dead fetuses right on the corner... I think all women should have a choice.”

(How ironic. The purposes of the pictures is to graphically depict that "choice", Hayden. Don't you get it?)

"Kerry Bowman, a professor of bioethics at the University of Toronto, worries that vulnerable students are being targeted by a group that is not providing information, but rather using manipulative language and advertising techniques to recruit."

(If dead bloody fetuses are not information in the truest sense of the word, then what are they?)

“When you combine the manipulative techniques with a population that is still forming their values and beliefs, I see an ethical red flag going up,” Prof. Bowman said. “You’re really playing to win. It’s not a just a question of informing people about this issue; it’s much more manipulative.”

(How is speaking the truth, manipulative? And ethical red flag? Uh, isn't abortion an ethical issue? One could argue that not showing dead bloody fetuses to someone considering an abortion, would be an ethical red flag, Professor.)

"Ms. Christopoulos said schools have a responsibility, however, to inform the community. Her 16-year-old daughter did not think much of the group showing up at her high school. Ms. Christopoulos was furious that her daughter and her friends were being targeted."

“I think it’s inappropriate. If you want to make a point, then I think you should be approaching people who are in a position to be making those kind of decisions,” she said. “I don’t think my 16-year-old daughter is.”

(Teenagers certainly make the decision to have abortions; therefore they are quite capable of seeing what the abortion "choice" looks like.)

Notice how the Globe didn't interview one person who agrees with showing the signs, and maybe even had their heart changed while viewing those pictures or talking with the CCBR folks. Interesting don't you think?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Pro-life and freedom of speech win

I think an important result of Parliamentary Speaker Andrew Scheer's ruling this week has been the civics lesson learned. It taught us how our Parliamentary system is supposed to work, but hasn't been:
"Andrew Scheer, the Speaker of the House of Commons, has made a potentially landmark ruling on MPs’ freedom of speech that could stem the flow of power from the backbench to party hierarchies, in defiance of the wishes his party leader, Stephen Harper...the Speaker brought down his ruling on the breach of privilege issue involving MP Mark Warawa’s right to talk about sex-selective abortion in a members’ statement."

I had never really understood that our MPs ability to freely speak up in the House of Commons, didn't actually exist. I had always thought they were free to speak--until this happened. I learned that it was actually the party whips who were controlling MP's ability to speak. Unlike the Parliamentary system in the UK, where MPs can speak freely, (as long as they stand up and are recognized by the Speaker) our MPs could not.

Our practice had begun when Speaker Jeanne Sauve started asking for lists of MP names from the parties, since she apparently couldn't remember the names of the MPs and their ridings. Seemed to make sense at the time, until the implications of that practice were fully realized with Mark Warawa's Motion.

For instance Maurice Vellacott, an outspoken pro-life advocate only spoke twice, while Quebec MP Jacques Gourde spoke 35 times in the House:
"Mr. Scheer "acknowledged that members who complain they are rarely on their party’s list have a “legitimate concern.” An analysis of members’ statements, for example, suggests that 10% of Conservative backbenchers delivered 28% of the members’ statements in the last year, with Quebec MP Jacques Gourde giving 35 statements (mostly pushing party messages) and Saskatchewan MP Maurice Vellacott delivering just two."

Justin Trudeau's then brought forward his own free speech Motion:
"That is why we are tabling this motion to open up Parliament and allow all MPs to speak freely on behalf of their communities.”

But it looks like this motion was purely for political reasons. While it seems like his Motion was about free speech, Mr. Trudeau had also stated to a CBC reporter that he was:
"Committed to giving MPs more freedom to represent Canadians, but MPs would be required to support Canadians’ fundamental rights. For me, a woman's right to choose is a fundamental right."

This sounds like his motion would exclude any abortion talk. I sent Mr. Trudeau an email asking him to "clarify for me whether or not, you would allow an MP to use their Member Statement (SO31) to speak out against abortion?"

Because, if Mr. Trudeau really believes that abortion is a constitutional right (which of course it isn't), then he must be excluding it from his free speech motion, right? Since he still hasn't replied to me, I can only conclude that abortion would be excluded. He can certainly correct me if I'm wrong.

The can't-talk-about-abortion-virus started with Mr. Harper, then spread into Parliament, then into most of the mainstream media, then into our democratic practices, then all the way over into one of the most right wing talk show hosts in this country, Lowell Green. Even Mr. Green won't let listeners discuss abortion on his show. We know the can't-talk-about-abortion-virus must be pretty deadly when Mr. Green--the man who says listeners can speak on any topic--won't allow abortion discussion.

The abortion debate is important yes, but freedom of speech is fundamental to its ultimate success. On this we have scored an important win.

If Mr. Harper hadn't insisted on not letting Mr. Warawa speak, none of this would have happened, and Mr. Harper's iron fist squeeze on MPs ability to speak freely would have been maintained. As it is, we learned a valuable civics lesson by all the attention Mr. Warawa's Motion has inspired and the resulting ruling by the Speaker.

We must thank Mr. Scheer for his principled ruling. And a very special thank you to Mr. Harper for making it all possible.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

To the Prime Minister: the flowers are coming

Gotta love that Brad Trost:
“We should send a big bouquet of roses straight over to PMO. If they want to keep this issue quiet, they’ve done anything but.”

Gotta love that PMO:
"The Prime Minister’s Office wouldn’t comment on Trost’s remarks specifically. “That being said, the Prime Minister has always been clear the government will not reopen this debate,” said spokesman Carl Vallee."

The Prime Minister. Has always. Been clear. The Government. Will not. Reopen. This. Debate.

No shaving cream. Sherlock. Tell me something. I didn't know? If you'd only let. Mark's Motion. Be debated. In Parliament. The debate. Would. Be closed. Now. But you didn't. So the debate. Continues. In the media. And everywhere. Even the Liberals. Are debating it. In Parliament. Yesterday. With you. Or without you. Mr. Harper. Even the Globe. Is debating it. Imagine that. Well thank you. Anyway. Mr. Harper. For allowing. The debate. To be open. We couldn't have. Done it. Without you.

The Prime Minister. Has always. Been clear. The Government. Will not. Reopen. This. Debate.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The humanity of the unborn

I just listened to a very moving documentary on CBC radio.

It was about a former Klu Klux member named Charles Marcus Edwards, who together with James Ford Seale, were involved in the abductions and killings of Charles Moore and Henry Dee, two young African Americans in Mississippi in 1964.

The brother of one of the victims, Thomas Moore, along with CBC reporter David Ridgen, had tracked down Edwards. Moore and Edwards had met previously in 2006 when Edwards denied any involvement in the killings. That visit, and Edwards subsequent testifying against his partner Seale, lands Seale in prison where he died in 2011.

In 2011 when Edwards is again visited by Moore and Ridgen, the visit is very different. This time Edwards and Moore speak openly about what happened. This time Edwards apologizes to Moore, and even invites him to his Baptist church on Sunday, where he is a deacon.

The two men sit on a swing with the bees buzzing on a stinking hot Mississippi day and talk about the past.

Rigden tells us he was literally shaking, at what he witnessed. He is deeply moved by the scene unfolding before him. Edwards now knows that what he did those many years ago, was wrong and he says so.

It is difficult not to compare this story to our Canada now, and our own abortion culture.

There was a lot of hatred and unspeakable atrocities against African Americans back in those days. Yet hatred and crimes against them, is mostly a thing of the past. And we all are--and rightly so--aghast if we hear of any crime that involves any kind of racial violence. We can't, and don't, tolerate it anymore.

There are some who aren't happy with the comparison of abortion to the slavery or crimes against African Americans. It doesn't really matter if they are happy or not; the similarities are there.

In both cases, human beings are treated with hatred because of who they are: the colour of their skin; their pre-born status; their presumed property status; their unwantedness. Yet both are human. Both have value. Both are worthy of love and respect. Both are precious.

It will change though. The day will come when we will meet the news of the killing of pre-born children with the same horror that we now feel when we listen to documentaries like the one above.

I am looking forward to the day when a CBC reporter witnesses the meeting of a famous abortion doctor and the women whose child he has aborted.

When he sits down with her on a white swing on his front porch and tells her how sorry he is. When he tells her he wished he had really helped her through her unplanned pregnancy. When he tells her that he now knows he was wrong and begs her for her forgiveness. When he tells her he was wrong for what he did to her. When he apologizes for all the other women he didn't help either. It will be a moment worth watching.

We will watch the reporter as he stands transfixed at the scene unfolding in front of him. How he can't help but literally shake, knowing that history is being made.

It will be a day when the hatred of the most unwanted of the unwanted, will end. It may also take 47 years. That's okay. We can wait.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Will Motion allow MPs to speak out on abortion?

So we now know that Justin Trudeau is putting forward his own motion to:
"open up Parliament and allow all MPs to speak freely on behalf of their communities.”

But this has confused me, based on a prior tweet to a CBC reporter when he said that:
"Committed to giving MPs more freedom to represent Canadians, but MPs would be required to support Canadians’ fundamental rights. For me, a woman's right to choose is a fundamental right. See my policy on democratic reform at Justin.ca"

So I just sent Mr. Trudeau the following email to ask him to clarify his tweet, in light of this Liberal Motion.

Dear Mr. Trudeau,

Recently you said in a tweet that you are: "Committed to giving MPs more freedom to represent Canadians, but MPs would be required to support Canadians’ fundamental rights. For me, a woman's right to choose is a fundamental right. See my policy on democratic reform at Justin.ca"

And today you made this statement that:
“Members of Parliament from all parties should be community leaders, free to share the priorities and express the views of those they represent,” said Mr. Trudeau. “That is why we are tabling this motion to open up Parliament and allow all MPs to speak freely on behalf of their communities."

The Liberal Opposition Day motion, to be debated and voted on in the House of Commons on Monday, would change House of Commons rules to ensure that every MP has an equal opportunity to raise issues of importance to their communities. Currently, that process is controlled by party leadership, which decides who will speak and on what issues.

“Canadians must have confidence that the candidates they elect will represent their views in Ottawa, not Ottawa’s views to them,” said Mr. Trudeau. “Our motion is a strong step in the right direction and we hope that all Members of Parliament, regardless of party, will agree to support it.”
Can you please clarify for me whether or not, you would allow an MP to use their Member Statement (SO31) to speak out against abortion?

Thank you.
Patricia Maloney

I'll post his reply once I hear back from him. Stay tuned.

Liberal strategy - have a good weekend Mr. Harper

Well well well. Maybe Justin Trudeau isn't just another pretty hair-do. Seems like he's pulled a pretty big rabbit out of his hat.

Check this out from the Liberal's website:

Liberals to Introduce Motion to Give all MPs a Greater Voice For Their Communities in the House of Commons

Posted on April 19, 2013

MONTREAL– The Liberal Party will launch a debate in the House of Commons next week to help make Parliament more democratic and more representative of Canadians and their priorities, said Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau today.

“Members of Parliament from all parties should be community leaders, free to share the priorities and express the views of those they represent,” said Mr. Trudeau. “That is why we are tabling this motion to open up Parliament and allow all MPs to speak freely on behalf of their communities.”

The Liberal Opposition Day motion, to be debated and voted on in the House of Commons on Monday, would change House of Commons rules to ensure that every MP has an equal opportunity to raise issues of importance to their communities. Currently, that process is controlled by party leadership, which decides who will speak and on what issues.

“Canadians must have confidence that the candidates they elect will represent their views in Ottawa, not Ottawa’s views to them,” said Mr. Trudeau. “Our motion is a strong step in the right direction and we hope that all Members of Parliament, regardless of party, will agree to support it.”


The Liberal Opposition Day motion is as follows:

That Standing Order 31 be amended by adding the following:

(1) The Speaker shall recognize Members in alphabetical order by Party. For the purposes of this Standing Order, all Members who do not belong to a recognized party shall be grouped together.

(2) When a Member is unable to present his or her statement on the date required by Standing Order 31(1), he or she may indicate in writing to the Speaker at least one hour prior to the beginning of Statement by Members, the name of the Member with whom he or she will exchange position.

Not only will the Conservatives not let us discuss abortion, they don't seem overly fond of freedom of speech either. It was one thing when Mr. Harper's threw social Conservatives under the bus--driving over us a few times for good measure--when he killed Motion 408.

But he did all of this in OUR Parliament. He somehow thought it was HIS Parliament. Imagine that?

We know that the Liberals are pro-choice, but no more pro-choice than Mr. Harper. Yet now we find out that the Liberals seem to be pro-freedom-of-speech.

Well if I had to "choose" between the Liberals and the Conservatives right now, guess which party it would be Mr. Harper?

Pretty smooth move, Mr. Trudeau. Great manoeuvre on a Friday. Bet Mr. Harper's having fits right now.

Oh well, you reap what you sow I always say.

"I do not work for the Prime Minister's Office"

Tory MP seeks more freedom on the Hill

Edmonton's Brent Rathgeber gives us a back bench primer on democracy.

He is one of the 10 Conservatives who has asked the Speaker to look at the recent democratic lock-down on Parliament Hill.

Here is some of what he said as reported by the Ottawa Citizen:

Q. What's the role of an MP, and how do you balance that role with the responsibilities to party?

The role of the MP is to represent his or her constituents in the Parliament of Canada. However, we are elected under party banners. So you owe a significant loyalty with respect to the party and the party leader under whose banner you ran. It's a difficult compromise.

Q. Does that necessarily mean that caucus always has to speak with one voice?

I don't believe so. It's a moving line and a constant struggle of tug of war. I'm elected as a Conservative member of Parliament. My constituents expect me to support the prime minister and the cabinet. I don't have a problem doing that. Confidence motions, budgets, throne speeches - anything that could compromise the ability of the government to have the confidence of the House and therefore govern, I have an absolute obligation to support the government.

With respect to private members' business, I think it's a very different set of considerations.

Q. You've written that the last thing a government needs is sycophants and yes-men.

Well, absolutely. Different members of Parliament view their role here differently. There are those who believe an appropriate role for a backbench member of the government caucus is to be part of the communication machinery of the government. To use the talking points.

Q. When you write in your blog, have you ever had the PMO come down on you?

In the early days, individuals from Langevin (the building that houses PMO staff) - very, very junior individuals - would call me and suggest that they should become the editor of my writing. And although I was flattered that they wanted to become involved in my project, I was not convinced that that was going to be a workable relationship.

Q. How polite were you in telling them it was none of their business?

I was diplomatic. I think anybody who understands the Canadian Constitution knows that I do not work for the Prime Minister's Office. I am not a member of the prime minister's staff. I am a member of Parliament.

Q. Do you consider yourself a rogue member?

Not at all. In fact, quite the opposite. I don't believe I am the rogue at all. I am standing up and acting the way parliamentarians have acted for 800 years. They represent their constituents and they hold government to account. Loyal to this government, but not a simple yes-man.

I absolutely dispute the notion that constructive criticism of the government is somehow equivalent of rogueism.

Being a constructive critic of the government leads to better legislation, whereas a yes-man or a sycophant will continue to cheer blindly on the advent of imminent policy derailment.

Q. Is Parliament turning into bad theatre?

With more and more reliance on talking points and speeches written by someone else, you are seeing bad theatre where people are just reading their lines as opposed to actually debating.

It's no different than a play or a movie. You have a series of writers who write the lines and a series of actors who go into the House and read the lines. All parties are doing it. And that's not what Parliament was intended to be.

Dear Prime Minister's Office,

Are you paying attention? What's happening is not the way Parliament is supposed to be. Our Honourable Members do not work for you. They work for us. It's not really that difficult to understand. Okay?

Thanks for listening and looking forward to the necessary changes soon. How about tomorrow? Does that work for you?


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Love and power are incompatible

This excerpt is from Chapter 8, called The right to be born from Dr. Donald De Marco's book Abortion in perspective published in 1974.

In this chapter, Dr. De Marco is talking about how the powerful thwart the rights of the unborn. I couldn't help but see the parallels to the passage below, and to what happened in Parliament these past weeks, with MP Mark Warawa's motion being killed. A huge blow to the democratic process and to our yet to be born citizens.

There is a lot of raw power at the top level in our Government. I think this passage speaks to that power:
"...but the human foetus, not possessing asserting might, clings precariously to his long awaited, slow-brought existence by the tenuous cord of his parents' will.

Here the cosmic paradox is complete. Lifeless matter and unorganized energy from obscure reaches of the universe have collaborated in the most unimaginably complex ways through endless epochs to deliver man to the very threshhold of birth - only to have his advent annulled because the last ingredient in his eternal prescription could not be filled. That last ingredient, seemingly the easiest, was not entrusted to the powerful universe, but to man, who, being free, can choose to negate even the being upon whose soul Time has placed a cosmic seal. Thus, man's free denial, his act of not loving, can bring to nought a lineage which began with the very dawn of creation.

The plan of the universe is not complete until it is accepted through the generosity of human love. The human foetus who awaits his birth or extinction, through affirming love or negating power, had his right to be born purchased for him at a cosmic price that extends over eternity.

Man's basic strength is his power of love. Inversely, his radical weakness is his love of power. The power of love, through affirmation, accepts the rightful course of the universe; the love of power, through negation, seeks to destroy it. The French existentialist Gabriel Marcel has remarked that all temptation may be a temptation towards power — the immoral power to control another.

'Love and power are extreme polarities in man's psychological, moral, and religious nature. They are necessarily incompatible. Love for another requires renunciation of power over him; power over another requires renunciation of love. "Where love rules," wrote Carl Jung, "there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other."

When man turns his power against other men, he regresses, reversing the course of the universe. This is what happens in abortion. Physical power is exerted over another for the purpose of "progress"; but true progress can take place only through love.

Man's faith in love and his preference for power are sharply contrasted in the abortion debate. The foetus is the most powerless of human beings and therefore the one most in need of human love. At the same time, because he is relatively undeveloped and hidden from view, he is difficult to love and easy to overpower. To condone the willful killing of an unborn human being is to accept as dogma the superiority of power over love. But if man loves, his love is the renunciation of the will to power and the affirmation of eternity."

I just received an email from Mr. Warawa's office which he sent to his supporters. He ended it with this:
"...I would like to close with the words Member of Parliament William Wilberforce sent to his supporters after his first bill was defeated in his eighteen-year campaign to abolish the slave trade through Britain’s Parliament: “I wish you… to consider yourselves not as having concluded, but as only beginning your work: it is on the general impression and feeling of the nation we must rely, rather than on the political conscience of the House of Commons. So let the flame be fanned continually, and may it please God, in whose hands are the hearts of all men, to bless our endeavors."

Amen, amen I say to you...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Motion 408: keeping the government accountable

In response to my email to Mr. Harper, I received this response from his office:

Dear Ms. Maloney:

On behalf of the Prime Minister, thank you for your correspondence of March 21 regarding Member of Parliament Mark Warawa's Private Members Motion, M-408. Please be assured that your concerns have been noted. We appreciate your input.

We understand your deeply held views on this subject. However, the decision to deem motion M-408 non-votable was made by two all-party committees.

Our Government ran and was elected on a pledge not to raise this issue. The Prime Minister has been very clear, as he was during the last election, that we have no plan to reopen this debate.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to write.


Here is my reply:

Thank you for your email.

You state that: "the decision to deem motion M-408 non-votable was made by two all-party committees."

If I am not mistaken, two members on that committee were Conservatives, were they not? Why then didn't they uphold the principles of democracy, instead of following the sheep-like lead of the other parties? It shouldn't really matter to the Conservatives what the other parties did; I hold the Conservatives to a much higher standard than the other parties, yet the Government has failed us with this breach of Parliamentary procedure.

You then say that: "Our Government ran and was elected on a pledge not to raise this issue. The Prime Minister has been very clear, as he was during the last election, that we have no plan to reopen this debate."

With all due respect, what does this have to do with the subject at hand? Mr. Warawa's motion had absolutely nothing to do with Mr. Harper's desire to not reopen the abortion debate, and everything to do with Private Member's Business. It has nothing to do with Government business at all, and to imply otherwise is disingenuous at best.

Please ask the Prime Minister to honour our Canadian democratic principles, and to allow Mr. Warawa's Motion to proceed in a manner that upholds the integrity Canadians expect from their Government.

Thank you.

Patricia Maloney

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A sign of the times

Check out Andrew Coyne in today's National Post: This is our politics — three parties offering more of the same, saying little and differing less

"Previously, party leaders were obliged to pretend to believe in policies before they could abandon them...The day is not far off when parties will have more or less ceased to exist except as extensions of the leader, which if nothing else would be clarifying.

Pride of place, of course, goes to the Conservatives, who have devoted most of the last decade to shedding any vestigial belief systems in the service of electing what they learned to call a Harper government. This was called “moving to the middle,” or in other words giving up, and was greatly applauded by the wisest heads as a sign of maturity. For as long as they continued to believe things they could never win power, and without power they could never put into effect all the things they no longer believed in...

...Party discipline was now absolute, again to the cheers of the pundits. For, as it was said, how could the party hope to govern if it would not itself be governed? And wasn’t that really the role of members of Parliament: to shut up and do what they were told?

But the Conservatives are no longer alone...

...This is our politics, then, at least for the next two years: three parties offering more of the same, saying little, differing less, wholly in thrall to their leaders, and applauded on all sides for their pragmatism and discipline. Bliss is it in this dusk to be alive."

Yep, it's all about the leader of the party. Bow down and kiss his boots. And shut up while you're at it.

It's not about democracy. Its not about the people. It's not about our country. It's not about the unborn. It's not about values. It's not about morality. It's not about the family. It's not about compassion. It's not about anything that matters to you and me.

It's all about ego. It's all about power.

It was the best of times it was the worst of times.

The Gosnell case: why aren't we talking about it?

Brian Lilley lamented that there hasn't been much media overage on the Gosnell story, himself included.

I haven't blogged about it either. Why? It think it's because the story is so horrendous it depresses me. It's also hard to know even what to say about it. How people can travel so far down the slippery abortion slope into what happened, is almost impossible to comprehend.

Yet anyone who discusses the Gosnell case are aghast. Last night I listened to two men in a restaurant who were watching CNN coverage of the case. The sound wasn't on the TV but CNN has text on their screen so it was obvious what they were discussing. The two men watching were totally shocked and disgusted at what they were seeing. One of them didn't know about the case and when the other man was explaining to him what it was; he was incredulous. They both were. We all are.

But I think society is becoming totally inured to abortion because it has become so normalized in society, so celebrated, and so status quo. I have a pro-choice friend who won't even discuss abortion with me. This is what he said to me regarding the abortion debate:
"Its old, tired, based highly on religion and emotion, and when all is said and done, it just plain doesn't matter to me. At least not as long as our society leaves me the right to make my own choices and live life as I please."

That sentiment makes me very sad. But I think that is where we find ourselves now when we can't get people to talk about it. Maybe people think that the Gosnell story is just another abortion story. And they just don't care.

Brian Lilley says that the story deserves more coverage and:
"On Byline we will fix that on Monday. A potential guest fell through for this week but on Monday we have booked Lila Rose of Live Action to talk about this deeply disturbing but very important story."

Friday, April 12, 2013

Pro-abortions, Harper, rotating opposition leaders--what do they have in common?

Bishop Fred Henry from the Calgary diocese seems to have a pretty good handle on the sad state of Canada's totally legal permissive abortion regime.

"...for example, why does Canada not have an abortion law? Canada is the only democracy in the world without legislation protecting children in the womb.

Twenty-five years ago, on January 28th 1988, the Supreme Court of Cnada, in the Regina v. Morgentaler decision, struck down the existing abortion law, making Canada the only western country with unrestricted abortion on demand, fully funded by taxpayers. It is estimated 2.5 million unborn children have been killed by abortion since January 1988.

To drown out this vexatious question, many sound systems loudly and repeatedly shout: "The Supreme Court established a constitutional right to abortion?" It did not.

Others scream: "The judgment found that any legal restriction on abortion was a violation of women's rights" It did not.

Others summarily proclaim: "The abortion issue has been settled." It has not.

The 5-2 Supreme Court decision is split into no fewer than four separate judgments. No member of the Court intended theirs to be the last word on the subject. It was only the law in front of them at the time that they found unconstitutional - Section 251 of the Criminal Code.

...the judges were equally clear that another law might pass constitutional muster.

...Regrettably, our Members of Parliament are content to play a political game with life refusing to even discuss the question. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has adopted an extremist stance and has promised, not merely that his government will not introduce any law on abortion, but that he would "use whatever influence I have" to prevents his MPS from sponsoring bills on abortion of their own. Comments by the rotating leaders of the Liberal and New Democratic Parities are even sillier and inconsistent with scientific facts.

Medical sciences tell us that the pre-born child, from the moment of fertilization/conception has her own DNA, her own blood type, her own heartbeat at 18 days, her own brain waves at 43 days, etc. In fact, by 11-12 weeks the rapidly developing pre-born child's organs are present and working, she is becoming extremely sensitive to things such as sound and pain, and all that is need is time to grow.

Clearly, the legalistic view of the pre-born child as an extension of the mother, which some people favouring abortion still cling to, has proven to be outdated.

Whatever the attempts to drown out the awkward question and bury the issue, the abortion question has not gone away. Public opinion is divided as it is on almost every other issue. However, in poll after poll, it is clear that the majority of Canadians want some protection for children in the womb. Most Canadians find it morally unacceptable that abortion can be committed in the 3rd trimester, or based on the sex of the child in the womb.

...We now have abortion on demand. This is intolerable. It is time for everyone to support the campaign and goals of WeNeedALaw.ca."

The pro-abortions, Mr. Harper, and the leaders of the other parties--all of them sing from the same old abortion hymn book. They should stop singing and listen to Bishop Henry instead. He makes a lot more sense than all of them put together. Besides, they're off key.

Time to fix the Access to Information Act

In December 2010, I made a request to the Department of Justice under Canada’s Access to Information Act, looking for information on Rod Bruinooge's Bill C-510, Roxanne's Law.

After a long, arduous, and drawn out saga, that included changing my initial request (1) to reduce the scope (2), and reduce the quoted cost from $666 to $0, I finally received the information.

It was received in three parts dated June 27, 2012, September 12, 2012, and November 5, 2012. (My original request would have cost me $666. How can the average Canadian afford such prohibitive costs to access information from their government?)

That's a long time to wait to receive information (18 months, 21 months and 23 months) that should normally take 30 days.

I complained to the Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault, regarding this lengthy process. The Commissioner's office investigated and found that my complaint was "well founded." Don't get excited though, there doesn't seem to be any repercussions to Justice:
"Subsection 4(2.1) of the Act codifies the duty to assist. One of the principal aspects of this duty includes providing timely access to requested records. We find JUS failed to comply with its duty to assist obligations when it failed to respond to your request within the statutory timeframe prescribed by the Act. Nonetheless, JUS sent you its interim responses on June 27, 2012, and September 12, 2012, and its final response on November 5, 2012. Based on the above, we will record your complaint as well-founded, resolved without having made recommendations to the head of the institution."

Justice apparently had to do outside consultations for my request but this didn't forgive their tardiness. (Justice consulted with the Privy Council Office; I am still waiting to hear back from the Information Commissioner's office as to why this was necessary.)

The Information Commissioner's Office further stated that:
"While consultations with other government departments may have been required, JUS is the government institution responsible for processing the request and is therefore accountable to initiate and manage the consultations so that responses are received within a reasonable period of time."

So what did I receive? A lot of redacted information in the first 202 pages, and not much else in the last two smaller batches (19 and 14 pages).

Most of the information pertained to the scheduling of meetings, translation services, phone call requests and docketing of information. In other words, administrative information. Also included were different versions of the government's speeches on C-510 and talking points.

Any other information I received appeared to be already publicly available, like Hansard and some media articles.

Information was redacted and withheld under these sections of the Act:

19 (1) [personal information],
21. (1) [advice or recommendations],
21. (b) [consultations or deliberations],
21. (c) [positions or plans],
23. [solicitor-client privilege],
69 (1)(a) [proposals or recommendations to Council],
69 (1)(g) [any records making a reference to (a) to (f)] [confidences of the Queen's Privy Council of Canada] of the Act.

The 19 and 14 page documents were basically emails, with "from" and "to" information, with almost everything else blacked out.

I am appealing to the Information Commissioner again, on the grounds that much of the information was redacted.

Maybe there's hope yet though. This article from last December quotes the information commissioner as speaking out against the problems that exist in citizen's abilities to access information:
"After releasing a report showing mixed reviews in federal government response to requests for public records, Parliament's information watchdog, Suzanne Legault, said it's time to correct the flaws in Canada's access to information legislation.

Canada's Access to Information Act, first adopted in 1982, requires federal government departments, agencies and Crown corporations to release public records to anyone who makes a request and pays a $5 fee.

But Legault, the federal information commissioner, said the legislation should no longer have exclusions that prevent her office from reviewing files when officials decide to withhold information in categories such as federal cabinet secrets...

"Exclusions are, in my view, arcane in matters of access to information if one looks at international standards. I think that when we first enacted an Access to Information Act in 1982, we were considered to be leaders around the world, and now we are considered to be laggards and I don't think that any Canadian should be happy with this situation."

...she noted that a recent evaluation of freedom of information legislation around the world ranked Canada 55th out of about 100 countries."

It's time for an MP to take this on and introduce his or her own Private Member's Bill to clean up the Access to Information Act. To make ATIPs timely; to make all information accessible in practice instead of only in theory; to make it affordable instead of having two-tiered access to information; to give the Information Commissioner some teeth to review cabinet confidences and to decide for herself if they truly should be hidden from public scrutiny.

I'm pretty sure there would be a lot of support for such a bill, both from Canadians and from all political parties. Maybe then we can finally learn what the government in power is really up to.

Why have access to information at all, if in cases like with Justice, it hardly yields any information? And Bill C510 was a Private Member's Bill, not a government bill. So why did Justice need to a) contact the Privy Council office and b) invoke the cabinet confidence clause at all? Because the Bill had nothing to do with the government.

Finally, the irony of all of this, is that Mr. Harper was the champion of the Federal Accountability Act, whose purpose was supposed to "strengthen access to information legislation" and make sure that "the Government is more transparent and more open."

Clearly, something got lost in translation.

(1) original ATIP request:
"Could you please send me copies of all correspondence relating to Bill C-510 ( Roxanne's Law) between and within the following offices/departments: the Justice Minister's Office, Prime Minister's Office, Privy Council Office, Justice Department, the public and the media, including briefing notes, talking points, reports, emails, letters, and any other documents that reference bill C-510. The correspondence requested could be between any of: the Justice Minister's Office, Prime Minister's Office, Privy Council Office, and Justice Department, as well as the public and media. In other words, any and all documents, that are internal to any of these places, OR that traveled between any of these places."

(2) modified ATIP request:
"briefing notes, talking points, reports, emails, letters, and any other documents that reference bill C-510, from April 2010 until January 10, 2011, which would include final versions or last draft of record."
(As you can see I gave up a lot in this modified request, since it excluded all correspondence to the Minister’s Office, PM office, PCO, the public and the media. In other words, it only included information inside Justice. However, judging by the amount of blacked out information I did receive, we can assume that much of this additional information would probably also have been heavily blacked out--had I been able to obtain it.)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Freedom of speech: winners win, losers suppress

George Jonas is not talking specifically about abortion in this article; rather about freedom of speech issues at Queen's University.

Yet his comments are applicable to the abortion debate in general, and in particular, to what happened recently with Mark Warawa's Motion 408 being killed two weeks ago.

All of Parliament went into top-down, lock-down mode, on freedom of speech rights when this happened.

The following is the discussion Mr. Jonas had with his father:
"Assume you come upon a bitter dispute,” I remember saying to my father many years ago, “with the two sides ready to kill each other.”

“Okay,” my father said, “so far it’s easy.”

“Assume further,” I continued, “that you have no inkling what the dispute is all about, and the more people try to explain it to you, the less you understand it. How can you tell who is right?”

Father thought you couldn’t, not for sure, anyway, without understanding the issues, but you could still take a pretty shrewd guess. “See which side is trying to stop the other from speaking,” he said. “That’s the side that’s likely to be wrong.”

“Wrong to do it or wrong on the merits?”

“Both,” father said. I still remember it. It’s not foolproof, but it’s a pretty good rule of thumb. Show me someone who silences or censors another, and I’ll show you someone with a losing argument. Winners win, losers suppress — that’s how the game plays out most of the time. Except, of course, if the losers suppress successfully, the winners lose."

The politically correct pro-choicers in this country, including most MPs and the Prime Minister, don't want us to talk about abortion. They don't want us talking about abortion in Parliament. They don't want us talking about abortion in the Universities.

They don't want us talking about abortion period.

Of course that doesn't mean we won't talk about abortion. We will. They can try and suppress us but they can't. Because the pro-abortions only have losing arguments.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Private Member's Business is not Government Business

On Monday this week, Lowell Green said on his talk show on CFRA that:
"the Prime Minister campaigned that he would not reopen the abortion debate and that every single Conservative MP campaigned with that promise" because they signed up for Conservative policy.

(Listen to Lowell Green's April 1 broadcast here.)

I disagreed with Mr. Green on what he was saying. Not only did I disagree with him, but I felt he had his facts wrong and he kept arguing with at least one caller, that because the Conservative MPs had signed on to the Conservative policy, that they had no right to bring up anything related to abortion.

I sent an email to the station manager Steve Winogron (the station manager) and copied Mr. Green.

I told them the following:
"On yesterday's Lowell Green show, Lowell stated that "the Prime Minister campaigned that he would not reopen the abortion debate and that every single Conservative MP campaigned with that promise." That is not the case at all. That is categorically an untrue statement. MPs are not breaking their promises and this is very upsetting to many of us, that Lowell would say this on CFRA which has a wide audience and following. People will believe that he is correct. Lowell kept repeating that the MPs campaigned on that platform. Not true.

Individual MPs are completely within their rights to to bring forward items of Private Members Business, that is, Bills or Motions, and this has nothing to do with the government not reopening the abortion debate.

Lowell said that MPs must support Party policy, and yes, MPs do support the Party policy. And that policy since 2005 as we know, says that the Government won't bring forward abortion legislation, but it says nothing about individual MPs' Private Members Business, which are completely separate from Government bills/motions, and have absolutely nothing to do with the government. And on an item of Private Members Business, the PM is equal to any other MP, and gets one vote like any other MP.

AND the Conservative Policy also says that MPs can vote their conscience on moral issues.

It is already a freedom of expression concern, that Lowell refuses to allow callers to discuss abortion on his show. Lowell will allow any person, to discuss any topic on his show, but he won’t allow them to discuss abortion. He is following the example of the politically correct people he disdains so much, by not giving a voice to pro-life people. It’s his show and I suppose he would argue that’s his right. But at the very least he should get his facts straight about Private Members' Business.

Private Members' Business is distinct from Government Business and to blur this distinction is unfair not only to individual Members of Parliament, but to their constituents, and to democracy."

Mr. Green wasn't happy with my email in his reply to me (something about going behind his back and stabbing him), but he never bothered to address the subject of my email, which was the definition of Private Member's Business, and how that allows MP's to bring forward their own bill or motion, regardless of the party's policies.

Mr. Green has a wide following and by him giving wrong information over the air waves, a large number of people can be, and will be mislead.

Besides having his information wrong, Mr. Green won't ever allow his listeners to discuss abortion on his show (as I mentioned above). Yet he never tires of telling us that freedom of expression is always allowed on his show. Yes it is. But only if you don't say the "A" word.

So I was pleased when this morning, Mark Sutcliffe said that this issue [of Mark Warawa's motion 408 being killed] is:
"one of the most important stories this year."

Mr. Sutcliffe believes it is good to disagree on subjects. He thinks on this issue Stephen Harper is wrong [not allowing Mark Warawa's motion to go forward]. That if 92% of Canadians are against sex-selection abortion, then the discussion should not be shut down. Mr. Sutcliffe thinks Mr. Harper has done a lot of good things, but does not agree with him on this issue. He continued:
"And I don't think there's anything wrong with saying he's wrong [i.e. that Stephen Harper is wrong]. That should be part of our system. It should be possible for an MP to get up and say, I like the Prime Minister, etc...we ran on the same platform, etc. I disagree with him on this particular issue...MPs are not employees of their parties. MPs are the employees of the people who elected them."

(Listen to Mark Sutcliffe's April 3 broadcast here.)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Are you speaking for me?

Quite a lot of arrogance in this editorial in the Calgary Herald:
"Most Canadians do not agree with Langley MP Mark Warawa's views on abortion, nor his wish, and the hope of a small group of other backbench Conservative MPs, to reduce the access of Canadian women to abortion services."

This anonymous writer apparently knows that most Canadians do not agree with Mr. Warawa's views on abortion. Must be a mind reader. And a genius. Especially since 92% of Canadians are against sex-selection abortion. You'd think an editorial writer of a major Canadian newspaper would get his facts right.

Then this:
"Most Canadians believe that is a choice that should be left to individual women and their doctors. We have long agreed."

And no, we have not "long agreed" Mr. editorial writer, that the "choice" of killing unborn children should be left up to women and their doctors. Polls have told you this over and over again that we do not agree with this world view.

The writer must attend the school of the pinko lefto feminists that regurgitate this propaganda every minute of every day. The politically correct dogma of their "woman's right to choose" ideology that is neither a right nor agreed upon by the masses.

And I really wish they would finish the sentence on that little phrase but they never seem to have the courage to do so, so please allow me to do it for you:
"A woman's right to choose to deliberately end the life of another human being."

Sorry Mr. anonymous editorial writer, we don't agree now; we never have agreed; we never will agree. Sorry to burst your choice bubble.

I like that. Choice Bubble. Full of hot air.

Stephen Harper afraid of Niki Ashton

In this article in the Hill Times: PM's tight grip, PMO's 'boys in short pants' frustrating some restless Tory bacbenchers, Jessica Bruno says that:
"former deputy chief of staff to the PM says restless backbenchers are also frustrated by the caucus control of "the boys in short pants" running the PMO. "Certainly the level of control is higher even from when I was there," said Keith Beardsley in an interview with The Hill Times..."If he had let that go forward, the way the media responds—the attacks from the Niki Ashtons of the world and so on—would be that Harper’s direction is going back on abortion, he’s breaking his word”

I think Mr. Beardelsy is on to something here. Have you ever heard those noisy NDPers like Niki Asthon speak? There are many of these attack dog female MPs who always manage to link everything under the sun to Mr. Harper reopening the abortion debate. Ms. Ashton just seems to be the latest alpha female devoted to this line of work, and I think Mr. Harper doesn't like it.

Kind of ironic really, because we all know that we aren't allow to have an abortion debate in Parliament.

Below are a few examples of how this works.

Before Stephen Woodworth’s motion 312 was debated, is this exchange between Ms. Ashton and Rob Nicholson:
Niki Ashton. Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister promised Canadians that he would not reopen the debate on abortion. Nevertheless, that is exactly what one of his Conservative members is going to do tomorrow in the House. Canadian women have been fighting for decades for this right. Why is the Prime Minister not speaking out loudly and clearly against what his own party is trying to do here in the House?

Rob Nicholson. Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows the rules with respect to private members’ bills. That bill will be debated as all other private members’ bills are debated in the House, in accordance with the rules of the House. I do not see why that should be a problem for the hon. member.

Niki Ashton. Mr. Speaker, during the election and in the House the Conservative government has said that it is not going to reopen the abortion debate, but that is exactly what it is doing in this very House. While other members have done this in the past, the Prime Minister has done something to stop it. This is not the case this time. He is saying one thing in the House while through the back door he is rolling back Canadian women’s rights. Will the Prime Minister stand in the House right now and tell his party that a woman’s right to choose in Canada in 2012 is not up for negotiation?

Rob Nicholson. Mr. Speaker, the government’s position has been very clear. Unlike the NDP, we do not muzzle our members as that party now does. The bill will be debated as all private members’ bills are debated.

Notice how Ms. Ashton completely ignores Mr. Nicholson's comments about private member's business, and instead goes for Mr. Harper's abortion juggler, about him not reopening the abortion debate. (Notice the forshadowing here though with Mr. Nicholson's statement that "Unlike the NDP, we do not muzzle our members as that party now does.")

Then this here:
"We should not return to using coat hangers (or) vacuum cleaners,” NDP status of women critic Niki Ashton said during the Woodworth debate.

“This is the Conservative party’s ‘Trojan horse’ agenda. During an election and even here in the House of Commons, they tell Canadians one thing and then they win . . . a majority government and we see what they truly mean. If the prime minister didn’t want a woman’s right to choose to be debated, we wouldn’t be here tonight.”

And this one here:
"In the Commons, New Democrat MP Niki Ashton blasted Harper for allowing Tory MPs to “reopen the abortion debate” despite his own promises.

“New Democrats are the only party united that will stand up to vote for women’s equality because this is not a matter of conscience. It is a matter of rights.”

Probably the best example, is this one regarding the born alive and left to die after abortion story. Watch Niki Ashton and Maurice Velacott being interviewed by CBC. Ashton completely ignores the story being discussed, i.e. born alive babies being left to die and Mr. Velacott asking the RCMP to investigate this fact as possible murders. Ms. Ashton either has no idea what she's talking about, or she purposely ignores the born alive aspect. Then she starts in on the expected: Mr. Harper "reopening the abortion debate" and "when will the Prime Minister put a stop to this".

So why do these female MPs do it? Because they know by equating everything to abortion, Mr. Harper digs his heels in a little deeper and abracadabra mission accomplished: no abortion debate. 

Is Mr. Harper afraid of Niki Ashton? Sure looks like it. And she and her cronies win every time. They keep all protection for the unborn from ever being discussed or debated in Parliament by simply uttering the magic words that Mr. Harper is reopening the aboortion debate and can't he keep those renegade MPs quiet.

This past week we witnessed a private member's motion actually being thrown out of Parliament when Mark Warawa's motion was deemed not votable. Now the Niki Ashtons are really winning because the Conservatives are now "muzzling" their own MPs from their rights associated with private member' business...

Bet Stephen Harper didn't know he worked for Niki Ashton.