'Who could not condemn discrimination against women and girls?' - Macleans.ca

‘Who could not condemn discrimination against women and girls?’


Mark Warawa appeals for support of his motion on “sex-selective pregnancy termination.”

Mark Warawa, who represents the riding of Langley in British Columbia, and 11 of his caucus colleagues held a news conference on Wednesday to promote Mr. Warawa’s motion M-408 which calls upon the House of Commons to “condemn discrimination against females occurring through sex-selective pregnancy termination.”

That puts members of the opposition in a difficult spot. Although they are suspicious that the motion is another attempt from the Conservative backbench to clamp down on abortion, and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair said his MPs will vote against it, no politician wants to be seen as sanctioning the practice of ending pregnancies simply because the fetus is female. The point is not lost on Mr. Warawa, who said he expects every Member of Parliament lend their support. “They should,” he said, “because who could not condemn discrimination against women and girls?”


‘Who could not condemn discrimination against women and girls?’

  1. Just another Con job to sneak abortion laws back in.

    Principle remains the same though…..it’s up to the woman not the state.

    • “Just another Con job to sneak abortion laws back in.” – EmilyOne

      Cue up the usual anti-Conservative boogeyman messaging. Lock your doors EmilyOne there might be soldiers out on every street corner any day now.…..

      • We already had the soldiers….tons of them around during the Afghan fiasco.

        I’ve been in the Con party Bill….I know exactly what you’re up to

        And nobody is going to be allowed any Bible-thumping crap anymore

        • You dont know your a$$ from your elbow, now get back in the kitchen! Does your husband know your on the computer again, saying stupid shiite.

          • People might take you more seriously if you knew how to spell.

          • No, not really.

          • LOL kay…fair dinkum

    • This comment was deleted.

      • Don’t know any….sorry.

  2. That puts members of the opposition in a difficult spot.


    Not really.

    • Come to think of it, huge opportunity here. Demand that the motion unequivocally support the right to an abortion – suddenly a whole bunch of CPCs are against women getting abortions.

  3. Indeed, we must condemn this discrimination against women and girls where the state gets to decide for them if they can control the use of their own organs.

    • My thought exactly.

  4. This slope just keeps getting slipperier. Just. Stop.

  5. The NDP is allowing itself to be put in a difficult spot by not supporting the motion.

    Just as it is possible to support freedom of speech, yet still condemn a particular instance of its use (I may not like what you say, but I’ll support your right to say it); it should be possible to condemn gender selection while still supporting choice for women.

    Condemning has no legal weight – it’s basically expressing strong disapproval. Lots of people strongly disapprove of lots of things (e.g. smoking, binge drinking), but would not want to see them illegal.

    Consequently, if you don’t condemn sex selection you’re:

    1) somewhat disapproving of it, or
    2) neither approving nor disapproving of it, or
    3) approving of it to some degree, or
    4) some more nuanced position between 1 and 3.

    Is it really the NDP’s intention to, at best, somewhat, but not strongly, disapprove of gender selection?

    • You must belong to the wing of the Conservative Party that has decided to never move across the floor and actually be the government. In a parliament where the majority of MPs dismiss every single amendment, friendly suggestion or even polite question from the other side, what possible responsibility could an Opposition Party have for any question before the House let alone a symbolic point by someone who wouldn’t lift a finger to concern himself with actual human or women’s rights in his own riding?

      • I’m not a member of any party – they all suck in various and different ways.

        At any rate, the fact that the CPC treats the NPD and LPC in a manner not dissimilar to how the LPC treated the Reform Party/Canadian Alliance when it was the official opposition is neither here nor there. The opposition has absolutely no responsibility to the government. It’s responsibility is to the people of Canada. A responsible opposition would support a motion if it thought it was in the best interests of the country, and not support it if it thought otherwise. I would like to think that’s how the NDP and LPC are operating, even if the CPC are often ***wipes in the way they respond to friendly suggestions and perfectly reasonable and polite questions.

        • Well good for you for not joining, but please free your mind of the notion that this has anything to do with the best interests of the country. It’s a rehtorical poison pill at best.
          If there was real concern for gender discrimination by abortion then the bill would propose an education and support program to help women, especially new immigrants, assert their reproductive rights rather than succumb to cultural and family pressures to accept male supremacy.
          Maybe we could provide for good pre-natal care for refugees at the same time.

          • Well said!

          • Well, I don’t disagree that the *reasons* for the motion may have nothing to do with the best interests of the country. Parties of all stripes like to lay “trap” motions in hopes of making their opponents take an official stand on uncomfortable positions.

            Having said that, the motion itself is straightforward and has no ambiguity. It is worded such that anyone that does not support it can be accused of at best being soft on gender selection. The fact that it does not support any of your proposed additions at most means it’s not perfect, not that it is unsupportable by itself.

            Finally, there is no contradiction in condemning gender selection yet supporting abortion on demand. An intelligent opposition would make that point and support the motion.

          • I think what is being forgotten here is that an abortion is performed in Canada by a licensed physician at a sanctioned hospital paid for by government funding. Are Canadian taxpayers empathetic to the plight of a a woman who finds herself pregnant when she is not able/willing to reproduce? Yes. Are Canadian taxpayers empathetic to the plight of a woman who just can’t reproduce if the baby she is carrying happens to be a girl? Hmmm…..no 80% aren’t and according to the CMA the physicians aren’t either. Therefore, Canada won’t be offering sex-selection abortions so people can plan their designer families….even if they have seven boys and are just dying to have that one girl. How many boys do you expect us to pay for you to abort until you get your girl?
            Having said that, I don’t think this vote is necessary. Physicians and hospitals will deal with the issue.

    • You forgot:

      5) Concerned about the practical implications of such a motion and skeptical about its underlying motivation.

      • This is being made much more difficult than it needs to be.
        Parliamentarians should vote on motions as they are written, period. Especially when it comes to extremely straightforward motions like this one, that has zero ambiguity to it.

        • First, motions are often amended before they’re voted on, not simply voted on “as written”. That’s why debates (should) occur. Second, there is great ambiguity in the practical implications of such a motion. Third, if it has no practical implications, what is the point of putting it before the House at all?

          • Re #1: OK – so if the motion is amended, it would need to be re-evaluated to see if the substance of it changed. If it did, then obviously any previous pronouncements on it by just about anyone would be invalidated. In the end, a vote will indeed be taken on it as written (although possibly amended). I don’t see the issue.

            Re #2 – The HoC unanimously condemned Maclean’s for it’s “Bonhomme” edition on Quebec corruption. No laws were changed as a result. I would argue one can read negative implications into any bill, if you want to. E.g. “the HoC condemnation of Maclean’s will lead to censorship laws”, or some such nonsense. So on this one we’ll agree to disagree.

            Re #3 – at least part of the point of it is quite possibly to get the NDP and LPC to vote against it so the CPC can then say they’re soft on gender selection, since the opposition can’t even bring themselves to merely condemn it. Assuming that’s true, it’s irrelevant. The motion either stands on its own or it doesn’t.

            All the opposition has to do is explain that their support of the motion in no way diminishes their support for a woman’s right to choose. The fact that they may be unwilling to do so speaks more of a bizarre notion of political correctness than anything else.

            I would hazard that everyone here personally condemns gender selection (feel free to correct me if you don’t). I also know that a lot of people here support abortion on demand. I see no contradiction in that, so I don’t see the contradiction of officially condemning gender selection yet supporting abortion on demand.

          • I don’t find much to argue about here. I suspect the reason many members of the House (probably including CPC members and maybe even Harper himself) are treating this motion as toxic is that they simply don’t trust the motives of a small cadre of pro-life proponents who will use it to further their own agenda – which is not about gender selection.

          • No, I don’t. And the reason is, if a family feels shame in having a daughter, the last thing I want is for a daughter to have to be born in that family. I’d prefer they didn’t have a son, either, but that’s because I think they will be horrible parents to a Canadian child.

          • You are so right 2Jenn…..anyone who has no tolerance for a girl-child should not have children because there is a 50/50 that they will procreate a girl. Once they abort one girl, there is a 50/50 chance the next one will be another girl and another girl and another girl. I had an uncle and aunt who had 8 girls before they had a boy. Are we going to abort 8 fetuses so these people can get their boy? Further, their boy is going to have to procreate at some point with a girl. Who is going to produce the girl? The whole issue is ridiculous. Once to chose to immigrate to Canada, you accept that you won’t be getting your sex-selection abortion here and that is the biggest message that this procedure isn’t acceptable. The doctors refuse to do it, just as they are not allowed to do female circumcision and it is dealt with.

  6. This is so transparent and manipulative. Only a total idiot would fall for the idea that you condemn discrimination against women and girls by limiting their ability to exercise choice over their own bodies, for whatever reason.

    • The motion does not call for limiting anything (at least as stated above). It’s strictly about condemning (i.e. expressing strong disapproval) of a particular practice.

      • Are you being naive on purpose? Parliamentarians do not express strong distaste for anything just for sake of doing so, their motions set policy direction towards legislation. Otherwise, why would we care about anything they do?

        • The HoC not too long ago unanimously condemned Maclean’s magazine for it’s “Bonhomme” edition on Quebec corruption. No legislation came out of that.

          Passing a motion of condemnation says nothing about legislation that may or may not come about due to the motion.

          • That was also stupid.

      • Shhh…..don’t get into the fine print. It’s far more fun to condemn the condemning then it is to deal with the real issue.

    • Although I am personally pro-choice I think it is worth pointing out that when a gender based abortion does it occur it is typically the female fetus getting terminated. Certain culture’s seem to prefer boys but nobody wants to discuss that part of it.

      • Well, if a woman can’t or won’t protect a female fetus from her husband and family, for God’s sake the last thing I would want is a young female human being to have to live in that family!

        • Okay but do you want to pay to abort ???? # of female fetuses so that the woman’s husband and family at last get the male fetus they want?

          • I’d want to abort that fetus, too, because I don’t think this family should have any children of any gender. Ideally, we’d castrate the husband, is there some place to sign up for that?

    • How about the right of people to exercise choice in how are tax dollars are spent. IE by not having publicly funded abortions.
      You want an abortion….thats your business.
      You want me to pay for it…..thats my business!

      • Okay, and I guess we’ll get to vote on your heart surgery, lung surgery, liver, kidney. stomach, colon, prostate….etc surgery.

        Or your broken arm from skiiing.

        Or your broken leg from falling off a ladder….

        Or we could just let a medical diagnoses decide it all?

        • Emily, the patient together with their physician and the accredited hospital decides what procedures are performed. Taxpayer funded healthcare won’t be offering sex-selection abortion so people can indulge in designing their perfect family in a gender-biased way on the taxpayer’s dime. In many provinces we don’t even remove moles for free if they turn out to be non-cancerous. Why in the hell would we be ridding women of unwanted girl children so they populate their households with boys?

          • HI….the fact remains that it’s none of your business.

          • Thats right, nor is it the business of the state. Its between a physician, his accountant, you and your wallet!
            Keep your little rat claws outta everyone else’s pie and they wont have any right to say anything about it.

          • Let us know when you sober up.

          • Right. Like I said it is the business of the physicians though and they won’t be performing them so people don’t have to have girls.

          • Not up to the physicians either. Sorry.

          • It already is. If physicians don’t perform them…even in clinics it is licensed Canadian physicians doing the procedures….they won’t happen in Canada. What don’t you get about that???? Why is it that there are no abortion laws including restricting late term abortions? Because physicians, hospitals and clinics are the gatekeepers that ensure that service is provided in the way it was intended….as a means for a woman to end a pregnancy that is not viable either by her choice or do to medical reasons. It was never a service meant to let people design the birth order or gender of their family. What would be the possible reason to avail that service to people? It would be like paying for cosmetic surgery. It would make the service frivolous.

          • Sorry no.

            Do stop HI…you are being silly for no reason.

        • I vote for you to have a free frontal lobotomy! Maybe when they invent “species changing” you can be switched back to human!

          • If you are an example of ‘human’….why would anyone want to be that??

        • Clearly Canadian tax dollars paid for his lobotomy.

          • Heh is that what made him so cheap and miserable, not to mention sexist?

            Gawd, wadda character.

      • OK. The people of the province Alberta were billed about $400 for my abortion about 14 years ago. Confirm that you were a resident of Alberta, and I’ll send you the hundredth of a cent.

        But… wait. If I hadn’t had that abortion, I probably wouldn’t have been able to get the education I did, and therefore wouldn’t have the income I have now, that means that I’m paying several thousands of dollars of taxes over the years. And on top of that, I’d have probably collected all sort of dollars in child benefits, social programs and the like. So I reckon that you actually probably owe me a whole bunch of money.

        So, fork it over, dude. Or at least acknowledge that you’re just one taxpayer in millions, and if you want to get to a state that will dictate what medical procedures people can get, you’re heading towards a pretty oppressive place. Your lung cancer tumor might not be paid for because I disapprove of your smoking. Free-thinking people don’t want that world.

        • It isn’t that Canadians aren’t empathetic to a woman’s right to not have a child. It is that 80% of Canadians aren’t empathetic to a woman’s right to not have a girl child. This may be a “cultural” issue but it isn’t our Canadian culture. I don’t give a crap what sort of burka, niqab or anything else people want to wear to honor their culture or religion but I am pro-girl. If you cannot honor girls, you should not have children because ultimately that boy-child you have will likely marry a girl and if you have no respect for girls, how will you treat her?

          • The reason for an abortion is none of your business.

            It’s the woman’s choice, not the govts

          • If its not my business then why do you require my wallet to do it.

          • Why do you require my wallet for YOUR medical situations…now, or in the future?

          • Good luck with your future appendectomy.

          • Ha! What woman is making the choice she doesn’t want a girl baby? You are deluded if you think any women from those cultures make the choices in what to do with their body. You must believe a whole lot of them make the choice to get circumcised – get their clit removed as well…so they cannot enjoy sex. In Canada we call that genital mutilation and doctors here don’t perform that surgery either. This is about abortion. Your right it isn’t the government’s business but it sure as hell is the business of healthcare providers, physicians and hospitals. We are pro girl in Canada. We won’t be causing imbalances in the number of boys to girls which already exists in some of these countries. We won’t be mutilating young girls and we won’t be accepting bullshit values that don’t honor the importance of girls and women in society.

          • There are women born here who choose to have only one child, and prefer a boy.

            In any case, the reason is none of the doctor’s business.

          • First it was between a woman and her doctor. Now it is no longer the doctor’s business. The doctor should just perform the procedure without asking any questions. I am sorry but there is such a thing as making sure a woman is there of her own choosing; that she isn’t being forced; that she is mentally competent to make the choices. There is also the need to do a full medical history and workup, everything is the doctor’s business.

          • A doctor needs some physical details before any procedure….the woman’s reason/s for an abortion are none of his/her business.

            Women go to clinics and have abortions ….where you got the idea this involves the third degree and a doctor’s approval, I don’t know.

          • Psychological information is just as important. I know intimately all about the process and what happens at a clinic. You are very wrong if you think they don’t assess your emotional and mental well-being prior to the procedure and that the physicians performing the procedure are some trained monkeys or robots with no vested interest. As for Canadian-born women who only want one man-child. Well that is truly a shame because that technology does not yet exist to assure anyone that they can pick and choose the attributes of their one baby. I am sure there are people out there who would like all their children to be tall, blonde and blue-eyed but that technology doesn’t exist either. Given that it is the male sperm that decides the sex of a child, maybe women should chose mates who have sperm that produces male fetuses.

          • Sorry, no.

            And yes, the technology exists.

          • So a perfectly legal act should be criminalized based on the motivations behind it?

          • When did I EVER say anything about criminalization? In fact if you read any of my earlier threads, I said that parliament does NOT have to get involved because physicians and accredited hospitals in this country are not performing sex-selection abortions.
            As for all your BS about sex-selection abortion being in anyway about a woman’s right to decide. We are talking here about woman who are so oppressed that they can’t even have their children if they are girls. Please don’t try to tell me that they are making the choices to not have girl children. This issue isn’t about abortion. Abortion is the right not to have a baby when you can’t/don’t want to. This is about bigoted gender-selection based on cultural bias. It is men who run this sick show and women are just pawns. Women aren’t making any choices. I suppose you think we should still allow women to ‘chose’ to have female circumcision surgery done to themselves here in Canada. Well we don’t because we are pro-girls.

          • So you’re saying that a woman never chooses to have a sex-selective abortion, that it is always the case of a man pressuring her into it. Is that what you’re going for here?

            You do realize we already have laws against that sort of thing going on, yes? That what is being discussed here is specifically the abortion. And that what you’re saying is essentially that the state should be allowed to decide for what reason a woman is allowed to terminate her pregnancy — control her own organs. Whether she was coerced into doing so is irrelevant. If you have a problem with the coercion, deal with that DIRECTLY.. not through the abortion angle.

            Christ, you do realize that your logic also works to argue that because men force women to wear the burqa that we shouldn’t allow women to wear it. That we outlaw it as a way of protecting them. It’s idiotic. Deal with the actual problem.

          • Legality of an act can & does depend on motivation. Killing out of self-defense, not culpable. Pr-meditated killing, culpable. Killing based on race, culpable + hate crime.

          • Those are situational, not motivational, and there is the requirement of evidence, judge, and jury to determine which of them it actually is.

      • This is what is called a stupid argument. And the reason it is stupid is because we all have things we don’t want our tax money spent on. So, the deal is, you won’t have any of your tax money spent on abortions and I won’t have any of my tax money spent on subsidies to big business. There! Problem solved.

        • You are right 2Jenn…except that the truth is that those who would abort all this girl babies will need some girls to procreate the next the generation of boys. How can you say that women are making choices about their own bodies when the truth is that girls are treated as disposable. Who is really making the choices for these women? Is it really so wrong that Canadian doctors should decide that the practice is unethical and decide not to participate?

          • Since none of that is happening….put a lid on it.

          • This comment was deleted.

          • Yawn.

          • No, not at all, healthcareinsider. I’m thrilled about that. My comment was to haphaestus, not your great comment.

          • I loved your comment about the castration….I am there.

          • i am not sure you know what the word “truth” means. Perhaps you meant to say “my irrelevant and illthought out opinion…”

          • Maybe you should do some research GFMD. There was an excellent editorial written about the imbalance already created in countries that only want boy children. It seems they are having a hard time finding girls to marry and procreate more boys for them. This editorial I believe was in the Canadian Medical Journal. It urges physicians in this country not to perform sex-selection abortions. I am pro-choice but I am pro-girl and I am not blinded by some ridiculous idea that physicians and hospitals in Canada need to offer a service that is completely bigoted against women. If that were the case, they would be condoning and performing female circumcision, which they aren’t.

          • This is exactly what I meant when I said yesterday it’s a slippery slope, and hi, as a NURSE, you know better. You have turned this argument into being about girl babies — no no no, we abort fetuses. They are NOT babies. The decision to abort is up to a woman and her doctor. And above all, since it’s clearly cultural, we need to educate new Canadians to show we value women as much as men in our culture. And that will take time. Hey, I’m having deja vu — haven’t we had this discussion before, in which you agreed about this being cultural, and needing years for change?

          • Patchouli, we certainly did converse. You wanted me to agree about cultural sensitivity and I am sorry if you thought I did. Instead I read an editorial in a Canadian medical journal about the shortage of women of marrying age in countries that do not value girl babies. Now you say this isn’t about girl babies. However, in my view, abortion is a service we offer for women who get pregnant at a time in their lives when having a child is not viable. This “new” service of offering people the opportunity to pick the sex of their child by aborting fetuses that don’t met the expectation is not really what the service was meant for and all I am saying is that physicians and hospitals are not comfortable providing the service for that purpose.
            They also were not comfortable providing the service of female circumcision so they stopped doing that quite a few years ago. I understand your belief that perhaps we could educate new Canadians to show we value women as much as men. I just disagree with your methods. I think the most direct way of educating is to role model. We don’t provide a service of ridding fetuses based on gender because we value both genders equally. We don’t mutilate female genitalia. This is Canada, we honor both sexes equally. Welcome.

  7. The bigger question for me is will Mulcair insist on using another whipped vote for his caucus on this motion as he used for Motion 312? I never understood why the “official” position of the NDP needed to be whipped if it is the “official” party position. Credit to the Liberals for allowing free votes on 312 as I suspect they will again allow in this case. Given that most gender abortions discriminate against the female gender it should be interesting if the NDP think that is OK or if that should be “condemned”.

    • THIS is the bigger question for you?! Not the fact that, as our Bank of Canada Gov leaves his position, what, two or three years early?, and we face another world recession, and OUR GOVERNMENT TELLS US we have to focus on the economy — YET continuously allows (encourages?) these divisive issues to take over the HoC so that we cannot talk about anything else — and whether or not oppo is whipped is your biggest question?

      It is not easy to make priorities.

      • It’s the media and people like you who are “forcing” us to talk about this. If you and your ilk don’t want to talk about it, why not simply agree that sex selection abortion is a terrible thing, as opposed to defending it?

  8. Everybody who is opposed to this motion needs to remember the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

  9. M408 IS indeed about discrimination. About discrimination against pregnant women. Want to protect women and girls, and end discrimination? Defeat M408.