Abortion. It’s the issue that all federal parties pledge not to touch. It keeps cropping up, though — especially when it’s politically useful.
When Justin Trudeau became Liberal party leader in 2014, he used abortion to boost his female-friendly credentials by demanding party unanimity on the matter. “I have made it clear that future candidates need to be completely understanding that they will be expected to vote pro-choice on any bills,” he said, sidelining pro-life Liberals.
Many decried this decision as running contrary to the principle of freedom of conscience, but Trudeau likely calculated that the positive fallout would outweigh the outrage. From the results of the 2015 election, it appears that he was right.
Today, the Liberals are still betting on the same horse. They think more votes are parked in the pro-choice camp than in the freedom-of-thought camp. They assume that Canadians will forgive them for their trespasses if they defend the “right” sort of opinions. And those trespasses include refusing to accept the nomination of Conservative MP Rachael Harder as chair of the Status of Women Committee.
Harder is a first-term MP from Lethbridge, Alberta. She is 29 years old, the first woman to represent the riding. She is also pro-life, believing that the only justification for abortion is when the mother’s life is at stake. Her anti-abortion views won her the endorsement of the Campaign Life Coalition.
Last week, those views ran headlong into the pro-choice position of Liberal MPs on the Status of Women Committee. When Harder was nominated as chair, the Liberals walked out — then nominated Karen Vecchio, another Conservative MP, despite the fact that Vecchio didn’t want the job and had supported Harder’s bid for chair.
Vecchio and Harder promptly issued a joint statement slamming the prime minister. “For Justin Trudeau to say a Member of Parliament is unfit to hold a procedural position because she doesn’t agree with his personal position is ridiculous … It’s disappointing that Justin Trudeau would act this way and his actions demonstrate the intolerance of the Liberal Party of Canada, which claims to value diversity.”
True enough. But it’s also worth noting that the Liberals wouldn’t have had a chance to do this little stunt had Scheer named a different critic to the Status of Women portfolio. And this is where we get into the more interesting question — of who’s playing and who’s being played.
Read the full article on iPolitics.