Q&A: Brad Trost

‘Everyone knows I’m a pro-life Member of Parliament’

In this week’s print edition, I write about Brad Trost, Stephen Woodworth, abortion and the Prime Minister. For that I sat down with Mr. Trost a couple weeks ago in his office. Here is a slightly abridged transcript of that conversation.

Q: I wanted to start with Mr. Woodworth today. What did you make of that?

A: Everyone, I think, in Ottawa, knows I’m a pro-life Member of Parliament. I don’t see how scientifically there’s any question about when human life begins. And politically I don’t understand why Canada is the only democracy that really has no legislation whatsoever. I mean, let’s face it, we’re more socially conservative than France and France has abortion legislation after 14 weeks. Sweden does, we’re more socially conservative than Sweden. I don’t get where the disconnect is on this one. People can agree to disagree. My board of directors, Conservatives in Saskatoon-Humboldt, they’re all over the board on this. By and large they’re mostly like-mind because my riding has a huge devout Catholic proportion. It’s like 42% Roman Catholic, and not like Quebec, they’re a fairly observant lot. So that’s reflected in the nature of my constituency and my voters, but my board of directors includes a couple pro-choice people and they respect and some of them tell me I’m doing a great job on a whole range of issues. So I think we can have a good dialogue on this and it wouldn’t be what I’d like, but I still can’t figure out why Canada can’t have some legislation like Sweden or France or Germany has. This puzzles me.

Q: Do you think there’s sizeable support for it?

A: It depends what you define as sizeable. If it was a completely free vote—and no vote is ever completely free—but if it was a completely free vote and people weren’t worried about different things, I think there would be. I mean you look at Rod Bruinooge’s legislation, it got 90 some Conservative MPs to vote for it*. And [Woodworth] is just asking for a parliamentary committee to study it. So I have a feeling you’ll probably get the majority of the Conservative caucus supporting it, but I wouldn’t say a large majority. It depends on how things play out and how it’s presented. I know there were people who voted against Bruinooge’s legislation in the previous Parliament, who actually, when they thought about it and talked about it later, their gut reaction was somewhat different. So it depends how Stephen is able to pitch it to people.

Q: Back when the Planned Parenthood funding decision was made, you said that the lesson here was that pro-life MPs needed to be more aggressive and “we will apply this lesson.” Are we seeing that now?

A: I think Mr. Woodworth is a much more gentle personality than I am, but he’s fairly resolute in what he’s doing. And I think that’s maybe one of the ways you’re seeing it applied. We have the ability to bring forward this issue as members of parliament who view this as a fundamental human rights issue. And Stephen is a very smart lawyer, who views this thing in a very intellectual lens. And within that lens he’s been quietly forceful in pushing forward the issue. So I think it would fit into the style of what I previously said**.

Q: How many pro-life MPs do you think there are in the Conservative caucus?

Define pro-life. Aggressively militant who will get out there and push it? You can go as low as three, you can go as high as 100.

Q: But how many would like to see some restrictions made on access to abortion?

A: I wouldn’t hazard a guess. I know members of parliament who have no interest whatsoever in voting on it, don’t want to see it, aren’t happy with Stephen, but they agree when you talk with them that it’s absolutely ridiculous that we are different. They would go for, like I said, a Swedish or a German option. So where do you categorize those people? They intellectually think it’s the right thing to do, they think it’s the proper thing, they don’t want abortion banned, they’d be fine with first trimester abortion, but at the same time they don’t want to get into the political mix. They’re more interested in what we are or aren’t doing on OAS or something. I know of MPs who have been financially supportive of the pro-life caucus and have never once publicly spoken out or even shown up at a meeting of the pro-life caucus. I know on some of the legislation that Ken Epp passed for the unborn victims of violence, our most aggressive lobbyist in caucus is a member who describes herself as a pro-choice. And that was, quote, a pro-life initiative. I think members of parliament are very much like the Canadian population. There’s a good chunk at either end who are firmly committed and the rest are sort of like, well, yes and no and maybe. I suspect if it was on a vote on something like abortion for gender reasons, we would have a considerable majority of the House of Commons easily opposing abortion for the sake of gender reasons. I think we’re actually a pretty good reflection of the public.

Q: How do you think a vote would go if it was a vote on, say, late-term abortion?

A: Again, you’re asking if it was a completely free world and people voted on what they thought, I think late-term abortion, the majority of the House of Commons would be opposed to. Would they be opposed to it enough if they thought it affected other political considerations, I suspect then it would lose. It’s one of those things: if everyone got to vote on the last day of their political career, how would they vote? People might vote differently.

Q: When you talked about applying the lesson, it’s been a few months, other than your comments about MPs having to exercise their freedom, you haven’t…

A: I haven’t put together any major pro-life legislation. I’ve been working with pro-life groups in the background, we’ll see if we can get something out in the spring. I have been waiting because I know other MPs, like Stephen, have been planning what they are doing. And I do know there’s other MPs who are kicking around other initiatives. From my perspective, I might be public once a year, twice a year, on the issue. It’s by far not the only reason I got into politics. I like economic issues, I have an economics degree along with my geophysics. But you are going to see regularly MPs addressing this. It might be every six months, which compared to never is going to be a big change. You might see more active engagement at the next Conservative conference, things like that.

Q: How many initiatives do you know of that are sort of in the pipeline?

A: I would say there’s about four or five that are being talked about right now.

Q: That haven’t been already…

A: That haven’t been already out there. How many of those come to fruition depends on where MPs come up in private members’ business, whether people are talked out of it. I mean, Leon Benoit put one up and then he pulled it to put up one on MS instead. … I mean, let’s face it, private members’ legislation will not get through if the Senate doesn’t want it to pass. We understand that. But I think it’s important to put it on the record that there are members of parliament who feel this is principled, so that we can discuss this, so both our constituents at large and members in our parties can have their views heard and expressed. These sort of large societal changes, regardless of which direction you’re headed, are never quick and easy things, they take a considerable length of time. And even if I don’t make a change, like I said earlier, I view this as scientifically not a question when human life begins, at that point do we put any value on it, I think that’s clear that we should, so I think I have a duty to actually expend some political capital for something I view as principled, not merely to get electoral advantage.

Q: Is there the possibility that the Prime Minister could lose support within caucus, that he could alienate social conservative voters?

A: I respect the Prime Minister greatly and I support him on a lot of issues. But let’s not be too naive here, some socially conservative rank-and-file members of the Conservative party have not been happy with him for quite some time. I’m not throwing stones, I’m not pushing too hard, there’s just ordinary differences of opinion there. So whether or not those people do less support or not—I have a former riding president who refuses to give money to the national party, not just because he feels the Conservatives haven’t been socially conservative, he feels that on the fiscal basis too, and he’s still a party member. I don’t know how widespread that is, but that’s just the nature of the beast. We’ve got somewhere around 100,000 members in the party and they’ll come from Red Tory to libertarian to hard-line pro-life one-issue people. So I think that’s the nature of the beast.

Q: The opposition will say either you’re controlled or you’re allowed to say these things because this serves a purpose for the Prime Minister. He gets to say, well, look, there are social conservatives in my caucus…

A: You know what they said about the introducing of New Coke … after they had hubbub and they went back to old Coke, Coca-Cola Classic, the CEO of Coca-Cola, when asked a question if it had been deliberately planned, this whole thing, as a stunt, to just reinvigorate sales, he says, ‘Well, we’re not that dumb, nor are we that smart.’ I think people should actually, for sometimes, take the PM at his word and take MPs at their word. He has a set of beliefs of what he believes is right for the country. By and large we support him … He firmly believes that he’s been right and he’s never hidden that. In all of his runs for leadership, or I even believe going back as a Reform MP, he’s never been pro-life. So neither his opponents, who criticize him and think he’s a closet pro-lifer, nor people who are pro-life who thought he was a closeted pro-lifer, nor his supporters, should be surprised. The man is actually sticking with what he says. Nor is he surprised that a lot of us are thinking with what he says. That’s democracy. That’s the way it goes.

Q: Have you had any conversations with him about the subject or about Planned Parenthood or…

A: Personally and directly, no, the last time I would have had a conversation with him on the issue would’ve probably been around 2006, 2007, when we talked about some polling data around the issue and he was making just technical observations about some things he’d seen.

Q: And how have your relations with PMO been since, because if I recall correctly, when the latest Planned Parenthood decision was made, you did have some harsh words for them.

A: I do and I still have very tough words for PMO. And it’s not just about this issue. It’s very hard to communicate with them. And they may not like it if you print that in there, but frankly, they need to have someone who can actually communicate with Members of Parliament and they don’t.

Q: And how…

A: They used to.

Q: Can you give me examples?

A: They used to have someone who would actually phone us up and talk to us. Now I can’t even get my messages sometimes replied to after three days.

Q: Is this separate from the pro-life issues?

A: This is separate from the pro-life issues. This is just across the board issues.

Q: Is that what inspired your latest comments about MPs?***

A: No. My latest comments about MPs was just an ordinary, I do a once-a-week column. I did the column two weeks ago, tape recorded it, forgot about it. I knock all those things off in 30 minute spells, I do them in batches of two or three and that was it. There was no premeditation or anything, it was just a general thing. Actually what prompted me to that was the backbenchers standing up to David Cameron on the EU issue and also I’d been flipping through party policy to actually see what we actually do say on that … I don’t have a problem with the prime minister. But his current staff either don’t report to him what we say or vice versa. So they’re very poor communicators.

Q: So how is that manifesting itself? Is that causing problems in policy formation or…

A: We don’t always know what’s going on and that’s a problem. And that’s just on a wide-range of issues. I would say this: for me to say this to a journalist, you know, they may not like that, but frankly, please answer my phone calls back. Don’t wait three, four days. And it’s not their junior staffers who I’ve ever had problems with.

Q: Because I think, and maybe it’s just sort of coincidental between the Planned Parenthood thing and your most recent comments, but I think from the outside, people may look and think Brad Trost is upset or he’s getting a bit rambunctious or rebellious or fill in your word and maybe agitating to cause problems or speak out or criticize the government or bring forward bold legislation. In that regard, how would you describe yourself?

A: Like I said earlier, I’m not any of the more excitable MPs who are out there. I am from the conservative wing of the Conservative party and I would like to see more orientation toward that respect. I like the balance of the traditional Westminster system. We need to have a certain amount of flexibility, but we can’t operate like they do in the United States, where on fiscal issues, every man’s his own and on foreign policy, you have 400-plus secretaries of state wondering around Washington. I think I’m just a little bit more comfortable speaking out. I think, frankly, I’m getting a little more coverage because one or two things have been picked up. I’ve said controversial things before, but that was before I had any sort of namebrand on it. I’m like a lot of MPs, I liked when Max Bernier was speaking out on some issues. Now he’s in cabinet, he can’t. I’m not going to replace him on those things. But it doesn’t hurt if we have a few people speaking out on issues to broaden the debate.

Q: I’m interested to hear you bring up Bernier because that’s the comparison I wanted to ask you about. Whether you took lessons from his stretch there.

A: I’m not deliberately trying to copy anyone and I don’t have any particular strategy, but I do think it was good what Max did. He spoke out on issues that were matters of core conservative principles. I’m encouraged watching … I mean, it’s Senator Doug Finley in the Senate, hardly someone who’s remote from the power of the party, and Rob Anders in the House, who are lobbying away on the CBC issue. Which, again, is giving James Moore all sorts of headaches. So there is divergence [within] caucus, not just from me, but from other MPs and other issues. I talked to another caucus member who’s filed private members’ legislation with the journals branch. It’s not core government policy and it will be clashing with the particular minister when it does come forward. So it’s not like I’m unique, I just think maybe I caught a lucky, or unlucky, two or three notifications and since abortion is one of those volatile issues that gets a disproportionate amount of coverage when a press release is put out, I think maybe that’s why I got some press.

Q: Do you have any sense of how the party leadership feels about you and your comments on abortion particularly?

A: [Harper's] not nearly as controlling as people think he is. I think sometimes his staffers want to be more controlling than he is … But he understands I honestly believe what I believe. So while I’m sure that they’re not thrilled about it, at the same time he knows MPs came here because they believed something and he also knows, let’s face it, at the end of the day, most Canadians care a lot more about economic issues when they vote. There’s a lot of pro-life people who vote NDP because they agree with them on the economic issues … So I don’t really think they have strong feelings one way or the other about me. They’ve got a lot of other real problems to worry about rather than one backbencher who puts out things that, yeah, they’re on the right-wing on the Conservative party, but they’re not out of the mainstream right-wing of the party.

Q: When you look at what you’re doing and what other MPs are doing, you are thinking long-term? You’re thinking a couple prime ministers…

A: This is not a short-term sort of issue. You look at the American civil rights movement, when they got rid of back-of-the-bus treatment in parts of the U.S. and things like that. It wasn’t just up they did it and five years later… We view this as a very long-term thing, a project that essentially never finishes. If you believe human life is of its own uniquely valuable … then of course you have to push it forward if you believe in things like human rights. It’s like Cold War politics. In the 1950s you kept going through the 60s and the 70s and then the 80s, Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.  You didn’t give up because it was about fundamental principles. And, yeah, I think we’re fairly realistic. The Supreme Court would strike down, if we did pass some kind of legislation, the current composition of the Supreme Court would strike down immediately if it was from conception. They might allow something around week 20 or week 18 or 22 or whatever. Most MPs are very realistic about that. But it’s a broader cultural thing and the politics influences the culture just as the culture influences the politics.

*Eighty-seven Conservatives voted in favour. The bill and vote result can be viewed here.

**In a subsequent interview, Mr. Woodworth said his initiative was unrelated to Mr. Trost’s comments. Mr. Woodworth notes that he made a statement in the House in November 2010 that indicated his concern.

***See here.

Q&A: Brad Trost

  1. So basically the whole interview is Brad saying, “If only we didn’t have to listen to these pesky constituents!”

    edit: Reading further, that was unfair. It’s only when he’s talking about abortion legislation that he’s like that. The rest of the time he was complaining that the PMO isn’t interested in listening to him talk about abortion legislation.

    • After reading this, I think I understand why people aren’t getting back to him.  God, what a rambler. 

    • Not true. He stated and I quote, “They used to have someone who would actually phone us up and talk to us. Now I can’t even get my messages sometimes replied to after three days.
      Q: Is this separate from the pro-life issues?
      A: This is separate from the pro-life issues. This is just across the board issues.”
      Facts just don’t jive with your leftwing ideology.

  2. Loose lips sink ships.

  3. Maybe someone should ( a women) sit across from him nd ask him which knife he would like her to use for casteration? If you want to control her body, she should have the right to control yours.

    • I’m not sure a knife would even be necessary. 

      • LOL!

    • Patrick, only one thing wrong with your statement. It isn’t her body, it is a totally new body. This is basic science, not abortion propaganda. Stop being silly and address the issue.

  4. Oh not this again.

    I say we wand him with the ultrasound vaginal scanner and send him south to help Santorum in his bid to become pope, and have the Vatican rule the US.

    • So we’re trotting out the old “Catholics obey the Vatican” chesnut.

      I disagree with everything Santorum stands for but I would never say electing him will mean the Vatican rules the U.S.

      • LOL no, most catholics don’t obey the vatican.
         
        But the US doesn’t need Santorum pushing vatican rules on everyone.

        Trost isn’t a catholic ya know.

      • He is undoing all the good Jack Kennedy did.  He made it possible for a Catholc to be President without fear that the Vatican would be calling the shots.  Santorum is not doing Catholic politicians any favours with his extremism.  

  5. He actually managed to go into stuff more interesting than an abortion debate, here…

    • Yes, but as long as he clings to an issue like abortion, he’s self censoring.

      There’s certain topics that do not engender an open mind, or turn off your average person to the degree where they “change the channel”. Abortion is one of them.

      Unless he wants to be the “abortion” MP for all time, he’d be best advised to give it a rest occasionally.

  6. Thanks for the article.  ”If you believe human life is of its own uniquely valuable … then of course you have to push it forward if you believe in things like human rights.”

    • The quote, of course, is premised on other factors Mr. Trost would have more trouble getting everyone on board with. 

  7. Terrific interview, Wherry. Very interesting – I like best when he calls PMO incompetent at communications. 

  8. Stopped reading after the “we’re more socially conservative than Sweden” laugher.  Obvious this dude probably got in because he could round up the most churchy types to GOTV.  Ain’t because of his brains.

  9. What he seems to miss is that people don’t want the abortion issue opened up, because what we have already works in favour of the majority opinion.

    Most people support a woman’s choice, but expect that choice to be made in a timely and respectful manner. Lo and behold, most abortions happen with weeks of a woman finding out she’s pregnant.
     
    Most people support an abortion in the case where it is deemed medically necessary, and again, the vast majority of abortions happening later in pregnancy are for just this reason.
     
    For me this comes down to: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Especially since you’re very unlikely to get a consensus on the timing of such things.
     
    I mean what’s the cut off and why? Breathing reflex? Heartbeat? Brainwaves?
     
    And what do we allow as an argument? Is the possible existence of the immortal human soul coming up here? And if so, does that actually argue for, or against?
     
    Some people are against abortions even in cases of incest or rape, on the basis of “god’s will”. Is that a serious thing to consider against the very real right of self determination?
     
    If one wants to polarize society even further than it is this day, what better topic?
     
    I say just leave it well enough alone already!

    • Similar arguments were made by those opposing abolition in the U.S.  And, just like slavery, this is a human right issue, regardless of what the majority currently thinks.

      “I mean what’s the cut off and why?”

      An excellent question.  One could re-phrase it as “What is it that makes human beings valuable as the subject of rights?”  The following article is a good place to start:
      http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/daed.2008.137.1.23

  10. From my perspective, a great deal of the rightwing support for the anti-abortion movement comes back to the idea of social control over moral issues, even though they try to deny it.

    The reason that the orthodoxy is against contraceptives for example, is because they consider sex inherently sinful outside marriage, and in many cases consider the only sanctioned purpose to be for procreation.
     
    So the orthodoxy is using an antiquated definition of “moral” to undermine responsible behaviour and thus increase the number of abortions women seek.
     
    If one truly considered abortion to be on the level of “murder” then one should be supportive of the use of contraceptives, since they reduce the number of abortions when used responsibly.

    They wouldn’t even have to abandon their message that sex is meant to be within a covenant of marriage for pete’s sake. 
     
    Instead it appears that the orthodox religious right would prefer to drive up the number of abortions and wag its finger at people, than do the right thing.
     
    So being “righteous” is more important than working to reduce the number of “murders”?
     
    That about says it all right there.

    • Easiest way to find out if someone is actually pro-life or is simply anti-choice is to ask them if they support a woman getting an abortion after rape.

      •  Do you seriously think that, if the only women who were out there having abortions were women who had been raped, legal access to abortion would even be an issue in this country?

        If it were really that rare, we wouldn’t give a damn whether it was safe and legal.

        • Which says absolutely nothing to my point.
          If a person is actually pro-life, then yes, they *would* have a problem with abortions even if only those who had them were those who were raped.

          At least, they would if they’re not hypocrites.

          •  Well, yeah, a baby is a baby, no matter how it was conceived. 

            And it is a terrible thing to kill a baby.

            But the reality is, in this country, abortion is legal on demand throughout all nine months of pregnancy.  (Whether or not you can find a doctor willing to perform a late-term abortion is an entirely different matter.)  Pro-lifers are a diverse lot, but I would hazard a guess that most of them don’t see legal abortion as going anywhere any time soon.  And, even if the goal were to abolish legal abortion in Canada, you won’t get from point a (legal at any time for any reason) to point b (not legal at all) in one fell swoop. 

            So your question, “do you support a woman getting an abortion after rape?”  could be interpreted in two ways.

            1.  “Do you think a woman should get an abortion after she has been raped?”  My answer to that is “No, I do not, because, well, life is sacred.”

            or 

            2.  “Would you support legal access to abortion if a woman has been raped?”  Nd my answer to that is “I’ll support any restrictions at all that you can throw at abortion, even if it does allow some abortions, because there are far too many abortions in Canadian society.”

          • Really? Who’s having too many?

          • Thwim, so well-said!  I completely agree.

        • Sorry – I’m not getting your point.

          • Don’t you wonder where all these “melissas” come from when a subject like abortion comes up?  No offence to mellisa if she is indeed a real person who just stumbled onto this blog — but I haven’t noticed her posting on other threads here, but all of a sudden — abortion — and bam, suddenly there’s an insurgence of vehement new commenters.  Like ellen…(looks furtively over shoulder before posting)…actually ellen reads like the love child of dennisf and hollnm.  Eww.

            I know I know, conspiracy-minded…like how whenever the pmo really messes up, we all wonder if they aren’t doing it on purpose to distract us from something else…

          • I swear they have a rapid response centre somewhere, the way they pop up on this topic and the other fav, gun ownership. 

    •  ”If one truly considered abortion to be on the level of “murder” then one
      should be supportive of the use of contraceptives, since they reduce
      the number of abortions when used responsibly.”

      Name one society, anywhere, where the number of abortions decreased after the society embraced the use of contraception.

      There are plenty of people who don’t use contraception responsibly.  It’s an unfortunate fact, but that is just how it is.

      • There is no record of abortions when they were illegal. 

      • “…Name one society, anywhere, where the number of abortions decreased after the society embraced the use of contraception…”

        Pretty much all of them Melissa. I mean really, are you suggesting contracetives don’t work? LOL

        Did you even bother to look this opinion of yours up before commenting? Good grief, all I did was google “contraceptives and birth rate” and I came up with more useful links than I can post.

        Here’s one for you I found quite interesting:

        Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), saw a 46% decline in the odds of an abortion and a 30% decrease in the odds of pregnancy when low-income women who relied on public programs for contraception received a one-year supply of birth control pills instead of the usual one- or three-month stash.Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2011/02/25/want-to-slash-the-abortion-rate-dole-out-a-years-supply-of-birth-control-pills/#ixzz1nKJrczrU

        And that’s just with a switch in the means and methods of supply. Imagine what we could do in the third world if the orthodox churches stopped fighting what was ethical and actually helped the world by promoting sensible health policies. 

        Besides which, you’re dodging my point. Unless somehow you doubt the scientific consensus that the pill is 99% effective, there is no way to support the contention that arguing AGAINST contraceptives is a good way to reduce pregnancies that women don’t want.

        • “Besides which, you’re dodging my point. Unless somehow you doubt the scientific consensus that the pill is 99% effective, there is no way to support the contention that arguing AGAINST contraceptives is a good way to reduce pregnancies that women don’t want.”

          What you fail to account for is the fact that the widespread availability of contraception influences behaviour.  When a large fraction of the population fails to make the connection between sex and procreation, and many people have sex when they are in no position to accept a child, and that 1% failure rate amounts to a very large number of unwanted pregnancies.

        •  Sorry, Phil, the study that you referred to only is valid on the micro level, not on the society-wide or macro level.  To wit, it only took into consideration the women who had already made the choice to be sexually active.

          Perhaps a better example of a macro level study of the relationship between contraception and abortion was in this January’s issue ofContraception.  You can read about it here: http://realchoice.blogspot.com/2011/01/yet-another-example-of-counter.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter  Over the last decade in Spain, the rate of contraception use has increased by 60%.  Over that same decade, the abortion rate has doubled.

          What you are not taking into account is that contraception being available makes sex seem like a much less risky idea.  So more people who are unwilling to have a baby engage in sexual activity.  And sorry, the failure rate of the pill is not 1%, not even close.  The actual failure rate of the pill is closer to 8%.  About 1 in 12 women who are taking the pill will get pregnant in any given year.  If you take the pill over a period of 10 years, your chances of becoming pregnant run about 60%.

          All this is to say that, if you are sexually active, and you really, really don’t want a baby, you are playing a game of Russian Roulette.  And if you lose your gamble, the outcomes are tragic.

          • Do you think birth control should be banned?

          •  No.  But I think that many, many women don’t really realize just what they are signing up for when they become sexually active on birth control.  Birth control doesn’t prevent pregnancy so much as reduce the odds.

          • Most women, single or married want to control when and if they get pregnant.  If not birth control in some form, what? 

          •  By the way, what is all this talk about banning birth control?  Who is actually suggesting that birth control be banned?

  11. “It’s one of those things: if everyone got to vote on the last day of their political career, how would they vote? People might vote differently.”

    In other words, if MPs had no desire to get re-elected and chose to completely go against the wishes of their constituents, they’d totally get rid of abortion. If only, they didn’t have to be accountable to the electorate, they could do whatever they want. What a stupid thing to say.

    • It was indeed a stupid thing to say, but it’s almost invisible in the veritable sea of stupid things he said.

    • Excellent insight. cheers.

    • No, we already know that the majority of Canadians wants some restrictions. This is a fact as much as you don’t like it.

  12. “If you believe human life is of its own uniquely valuable … then of course you have to push it forward……….”   If he really believes this as a conservative principle, how about using some “push forward” to reduce poverty among the living and really really moving forward to release our aboriginal citizens out of the prison of the Indian Act in a meaningful way

  13. Abortion is the killing of unborn children. It has nothing to do with your lifestyle. Religion doesn’t need to be dragged into it. Unborn children are treated as not real humans by the abortion community. Their callous disregard is almost as horrid as the average southern white’s acceptance of slavery in 1860. It is not a question of men or womens’ rights(roughly equal numbers of both are aborted). It is a question of the right of the most vulnerable humans. You abortion supporters are no better than the person who laughs while a bully kicks the crap out of a smaller kid. You say how dare you impose your old-fashioned morality!  This has nothing to do with tradition or the church. It has to do with the idea that everyone is equal and has value. Your close-mindness about this says volumes.

  14. I thought we had settled this debate 30+ years ago!  Men are still trying to control women and keep them disempowered.  Men get women pregnant!  Single parent women are amongst the poorest in our welfare system and in our seniors health system.  Every child deserves to be a wanted child.  How many children in the Third world countries are born because they are wanted?
    Let’s talk about what really matters – our economy – and keeping those children who are here, well nourished and well loved!

    • This is not a man vs woman debate. We can save the feminist “men suck” line for another time. Also, some of these kids being aborted are female. So, you could kind of argue that it is sometimes a woman knocking off another woman(Ever read the book Animal Farm? Ever read about the posted sign on the animal run farm that said “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.”) You cannot get life from inanimate objects.  When you have an abortion, you are killing an unborn being(a future man or woman). We are largely killing unborn children for the sin of them arriving at an inconvenient time. There are long lines of people in the U.S. and Canada who are looking to adopt. There are networks in the U.S. who will set you up with infertile couples who will cover your medical expenses. As for the man involved, hunt him down and make him pay through the nose if he doesn’t step to the plate. This is not as straightforward an issue as you think(I tell you this as a former abortion supporter). When you abort these kids(male or female), you are doing the equivalent of putting a gun to their head. They have committed no crime. I am often amazed how so many progressive types can oppose the execution of a rapist and murderer but support abortion. One is a grown adult who has committed an unspeakable act. The other has committed the crime of untimely appearance. I can accept the execution of a murderer. I have a problem with executing an innocent.

      The truth is that science has enabled us to learn more about the fetus. We know that by week 7 they have an intact nervous system. We also know that by somewhere between week 18-20th at the latest that they can feel pain. This has led to a shift against abortion in numerous countries. Most Americans now lean pro-life. Several polls show that between 58%-62% of Americans support abortions only in cases of rape, incest, or the life of the mother. Many American states are tightening their abortion laws(if Roe vs Wade is overturned, most U.S. states will probably limit abortions to cases of life, rape, and incest). Hungary just wrote a pro-life constitution. South Korea is enforcing its abortion laws for the first time in decades. The new Spanish Government plans to overturn the former Socialist government’s law which allowed abortion on demand for the first 14 weeks. Russia has severely restricted abortions to the 1st trimester. Furthermore, there seems to be strong support to restricting abortion to limited circumstances(no abortion on demand). This would be significant because the Soviet Union was the first country to legalize abortion in the modern era(1920). Interestingly, Germany is now offically a pro-life nation. It first legalized abortion under the Nazis but the post-war West German Basic Law did away with abortion on demand,  Also, there are significant forces at work in the center-right governments of various Eastern European countries pushing for restrictions on abortions. Abortion on demand in all 9 months as exist in Canada is extremely uncommon. Abortion on demand exist in only 63 of 195 countries. 27 of those 63 allow on demand for only the 1st trimester. The U.S. and Canada are the only two in the western hemisphere who don’t currently fall into either territory(although the U.S. might change within the next decade). The countries that have Canada’s  kind of abortion policy fall mostly into two categories. The first category is Communist countries like China,Vietnam, North Korea,etc. The other are former Communist countries like the 14 former republics of the Soviet Union(minus Russia) and the Eastern European countries. Even if look  at Western Europe(the most socially liberal part of the world), you will see that almost all those countries either don’t permit abortion on demand or simply restrict it to the first trimester. The point is that Canada’s lack of an abortion law  puts us on the extreme end of the world debate. Many of those countries that are on the extreme with us are not really ones that I think we want to emulate. Canada is supposed to be a compassionate country. When we don’t protect the most vulnerable(the unborn), we show ourselves to falling short in compassion. It has nothing to do with church, faith(there are quite a few atheist pro-lifers), war of the sexs,etc. It has to do with protecting innocent children.

  15. I enjoyed reading the interview very much,  but came to it late.  I’ve blogged on abortion before at Canadian Soapbox and have come to learn that late-term abortions do in fact take place for reasons other than maternal/fetal health.  Even ARCC (Abortions rights coalition of Canada) a pro-life group says that in rare cases it happens, there are instances where teens have been in denial or with women who are in abusive relationships.  I don’t doubt that its likely a very small number, but that’s why we have laws. 

    I’m sympathetic certainly to a teen who’s been in denial, and even more so to the woman in an abusive relationship…but that sympathy has limits.  And for me (and polls suggest the majority) that limit is when the fetus is so far developed that even someone like Henry Morgentaller calls the fetus a baby.

    Do ‘gender choice’ abortions take place in Canada?  The editor in chief of the CMA journal says they do and wrote an editorial piece on it. 

    Politically the issue is pure dynamite, and getting a law banning LTA would require the ability of someone to lead on the issue…as I said earlier, while the majority of Canadians can be defined as pro-choice the majority also believes that reasonable limits on the procedure…roughly 2/3rds of Canadians polled think that a fetus should be given some legal protection at some point during pregnancy…of course where that point is varies widely from conception to third trimester. 

    At least people are talking, and in a democracy…that’s healthy.

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