Why did Rona Ambrose vote in favour of Motion 312? - Macleans.ca

Why did Rona Ambrose vote in favour of Motion 312?


Tim Powers suggests Rona Ambrose’s mistake is in not explaining herself.

Ms. Ambrose made a mistake around the vote on M312. For me, the mistake wasn’t the supportive position she took, though as someone who is pro-choice I wouldn’t have voted for M312 if presented the opportunity. The mistake was her lack of full public communication as to why she decided to take the position she did. Her single vote-related tweet noting her view that she opposed sex-selective abortions wasn’t enough.

As I said earlier on Twitter, I’m not sure there was anything inherently wrong with her vote—as some seem to be arguing—but I think she should be willing to explain that vote, just as any politician should be willing to explain themselves. (To my reading, her tweet actually only begs for more explanation: if no law is needed, why vote in favour of a motion that might have resulted in changing the law?)


Why did Rona Ambrose vote in favour of Motion 312?

  1. Not to give this cockamamie tripe any more indulgence than it deserves, but her mistake lay in not speaking out against the motion unless it was specificually reworded to meet her supposed concern, rather than in failing to make mealy-mouthed exculpatory crap after taking action.

    • I don’t remember her speaking out in the debate phase – does anyone else?

  2. I’m against banning abortion but she really doesn’t need to explain herself over this. It is beyond silly toaccuse anyone against abortions of misogyny: let the woman vote with her conscience and stop berrating her about her beliefs!

  3. The people hurling disgusting accusations at Ambrose for voting her conscience are the ones who ought to explain themselves. Ambrose doesn’t owe anyone anything. Pro-Life is not an inherently male position, and whether one is Pro Life or Pro choice, that does not preclude having the debate being proposed. I’m Pro Choice and I would welcome such a debate.

    Coyne got it exactly right on Twitter. She’s the Minister for Status of Women, not the Minister for Enforcing Feminist Orthodoxy.

    • I would have thought a politician owes a relatively transparent explanation for their political actions, but that’s just me. So far, she ain’t cuttin’ it.

      • She’s not voting for any kind of law or bill, or money decision…just a personal opinion on whether to have a debate on when life begins, which one can have from either side of the abortion fence.

        Jesus, you people complain that Conservatives hate democracy, then when they vote to have a debate on something instead of not, they get attacked for that too.

        As far as I am concerned, no further justification is necessary if all you are voting on is to debate something. Ambrose does not owe any more explanation for her vote than anyone else did who participated.

        • My expectation is that any MP should be ready to explain any vote in the HoC. Because they’re representing me on every vote, not just those regarding bills, laws or money decisions.

          Maybe if the parties were switched around you’d feel differently.

          • Read my comment again. “Ambrose does not owe any more explanation for her vote than anyone else did who participated.” I mean everyone…from all parties. All they are voting on is whether to have a debate, which may ultimately come to nothing. I don’t require an explanation from anyone supporting debate instead of limiting it or eliminating it. Usually it’s the rest of you people who complain when the Conservatives limit debate on something. I guess when the NDP or Liberals do it it’s fine.

            If the debate produces a bill that might actually affect something, then an explanation might be in order.

          • “You people?” Seriously?

            My comment stands – Rona should be able to explain her vote because she voted as an elected representative. Not only that, she voted as the Minister for Status of Women on an issue that’s extremely relevant to women.

            And let’s not play the “it’s just about a discussion” game, as though this debate had no potential to impact abortion rights. We’ve had decades to watch the pro-lifers in the US chip away at abortion rights from every conceivable angle, and have learned that every single discussion has a potential impact.

          • It was a free vote, so technically she was voting simply as the MP for her riding.

            I personally wanted the debate because I think it’s absurd that the legal rights of late-stage-gestation children is determined on the basis of geography. If a preemie has legal rights, then so should a child of equivalent age within the womb (except where those rights would conflict with the right of the mother to make decisions about her own health).

            I think there is a way to recognize certain rights for the unborn without impinging on a woman’s right to choose. I think we need debate and discussion in order to get there. And yes I fully expect the extremists on both sides of the debate will howl to prevent this; they each want 100% victory over the other camp.

            But anyone who believes in democracy should be ashamed to associate with the groups that misrepresented the contents of Motion 312 in order to shut it down. I “congratulate” those groups on sinking to Harper’s level.

          • Right now we have the best system possible. When the other side comes along and says ‘we’d like to open negotiations”, it’s not undemocratic to say NO.

          • Who gets to decide what the “best system possible” is?

            When your answer is “me”, and any variance from that answer is “undemocratic”…you don’t believe in democracy, you believe in dictatorship, with you as dictator.

          • Any determination should be made by weighing the public, experts and stakeholders. In a matter like this, where were talking about incredible violations of a persons own body, the stakeholders (ie, woman decididng whethter they have an abortion) are going to be the main one.

          • Wait a minute…are you “Holly Stick” in disguise?

          • At the moment Stephen Harper is not allowing the discussion – take it up with him. How many times did he say he wouldn’t let the subject be opened up? I believe he’s got what ‘ you people’ call a mandate on this.

          • Ah, but wanting to shut down even the option to ask the question IS undemocratic. And quite a number of posts on here lately by the pro-choice side have stated exactly that: i.e. that the debate is closed and must never be reopened.

            That is a far cry from a democratic approach. That’s pure, unadulterated dictatorship in action.

          • democratic doesn’t mean you get to keep talking about stupid crap as much as you want. Canadians are proud this attack on women’s rights was defeated.

          • “Some” Canadians, you mean. Possibly a majority – but without a poll, who can say for sure?

            But your statement implies that anyone who thinks differently is unCanadian. That is a rather Harperlike statement (and almost verbatim what Emily said to me the other day) – very surprising, given the source. Thanks for calling me a traitor for not sharing your hivemind.

            And BTW – what may be stupid crap to you may be a very important issue to someone else. So yes, in a democracy we do get to keep talking about stupid crap until both sides tire of the discussion. Yiu can plug your ears and walk away, but you can’t force the other person to shut it.

            That’s democracy. That’s free speech. Deal with it.

          • oh you can talk all you want on comment boards, pulbic and private. that’s free speech, that’s deomocracy. Those principles take a back seat when people try to use their beliefs to take away others rights in the house, others are right to shut them down.

            You’re entitled to your beliefs about when abortion is right or wrong. don’t impose them on others. That is just as much democracy as what you were saying.

          • Pssst. I’m pro-choice (in the sense that I agree in the right to choose; I just personally wouldn’t choose abortion – though as a male any choice by me is purely theoretical).

            But there are holes in the law that need addressing, and ideally we should discuss them first – not just draft something and push it through.

            We have a kind of legal vacuum, and until we have some sort of law the issues will be discussed ad nauseum and we will get periodic attempts like this one to address the problems the vacuum causes.

            I personally think we are better off with a law than without. People like me would be much more supportive of the pro-choice side if there were at least some protections for the unborn against negligent or deliberate harm if the mother has chosen to go through with the pregnancy.

            So you see, there really are pro-choice people who want a discussion; who want a law. If you don’t want to participate, that’s your choice. But do not presume to speak for me.

          • Bravo for not choosing abortion, Keith.
            I’m likewise proud of the fact that I choose not to jump on the back of a deer and tear its throat out with my teeth (though not being a cougar my choice is purely theoretical).

          • idiot

          • Don’t be too hard on yourself.

          • I understand the case you are making wrt the legal vacuum that exists today, and I’m not, out of hand, against having the discussion for which you are advocating.

            But I also have suspicions that at least some (and more likely many) of the supporters of the motion do not intend to limit themselves to filling that legal vacuum. I’d suggest that at least a handful of folks “know” that that is the case. So I have a small amount of sympathy for “cutting off the debate” right here and now.

            Ultimately, though, I’d be willing to have the discussion, and if the case for the status quo or at best a tightly defined law that fills the vacuum is as strong as those supporters claim, then it should be able to withstand the scrutiny of that discussion.

            What say you about M312 supporters? Are they all truly trying to address the legal vacuuum, or are they using this as a Trojan horse?

          • I think it’s a mixed bag. I think the originator of the motion more than
            likely intended it as a Trojan horse. But I think that, even if the
            motion to have the discussion had passed, the best they could hope to
            achieve would be something similar to what I propose. I have serious
            doubts they’d be able to accomplish even that much.

          • So, you are sayin, along with 203 MP’s that a full term baby(hours from being born) is not a human and technically, because we have no law at all in Canada, can still be aborted? This is why we need the discussion

          • Harper could have passed this if he’d wanted to – so blame him. Why would you expect those that believe in a woman’s righto to choose to go along with this obvious strategy to move toward banning abortion?

          • Yes, he could have – and therefore it was clear from the beginning by the way he handled things that it could not pass. I never thought for a moment that it would.

            I also think that it would be extremely hard, if not impossible, to pass a law in this country at this time that would ban or restrict abortion.

            But there is an injustice out there that needs addressing – and can be easily addressed – but hysteria on the pro-choice side is preventing even a discussion on this. I think anyone who pretends otherwise is deceiving him or herself.

            I’ve discussed my primacy of rights idea on here many times, and I suspect you have read it – so I won’t repeat it again here. I think it’s a win for the pro-choice side; it’s certainly an approach that would win over more fence-sitters than the current, frankly illogical and unsupportable claim made by many in the pro-choice camp that human life begins at birth.

          • Funny how the people who scream the loudest against media bias are often the ones making the dumbest excuses for thier own side.

          • Amazingly enought, that’s not even the guys comment.

        • She needs to explain how she thinks a discussion on when life begins would draw attention to the possible problem of sex selection abortions.

          • OK; she ought to clarify that, as her one-liner is remarkably muddy. But to John’s point, she didn’t really have to say even that much.

        • Well put, John! A debate is simply that; a debate.

          The way many pro-choice advocates have reacted (trying desperately yo shut down any debate and being deceptive about what the PMB actually called for), I’m increasingly left with the impression that they don’t think they have a winning argument.

          • Given the motion, and the current state of Parliament in Canada, they don’t.

            If the motion had passed, the CPC dominated committee would almost certainly have found that humanity begins at conception, for lack of a better definable time. As soon as that happens, our homicide laws kick into gear and abortion is illegal, without any debate on the actual issue.

            M312 was not the debate to be having. Not now. The debate first needs to be on the primacy of rights. Get those enshrined first, then we can look at changing the definition.

          • Ah! Another primacy of rights supporter! Welcome aboard Thwim!

          • Always have been one, but never had the right words to describe exactly what I was thinking until I saw your comments. Thanks for that.

        • First time I’ve heard a motion described as a personal decision. Nice try. And yup, when they use disingenuous tactics to attack abortion rights, i certainly do complain. Loudly.

  4. Happy coincidence that the very thing – that is ‘full public communication’ – that Mr. Powers faults Minister Ambrose for not doing is exactly the service Mr. Powers provides for a living.

  5. I agree with this, we aren’t mind readers.

    • …nor should we need to be when dealing with how our MPs represent us on the floor of the house of commons.

  6. Aaron, I’m going to put the question in my response to TJCook to you directly. You are very quick to complain when the Conservatives move to limit debate on matters in Parliament.

    When the NDP and Liberals vote to squelch debate on something, why is it that you feel the Conservatives, specifically Rona Ambrose, must now explain why they want a debate? Why do you not request why the NDP and Liberals take the “undemocratic” step of limiting or eliminating debate on a topic?

    • There’s a difference between ending a debate and refusing to begin one, esp. when the only reason people want to have it is to restrict abortion.

      • Restrict abortion? So you, along with 203 MP’s are OK with not calling a full term baby(hours from being born) a human and can still be aborted, because we don’t have any law in Canada. You’re sick.

        • Now they’re aborting babies in the labour units???

  7. Who Cares? I Hate The Media!

  8. Ona Ambose’s ministy has nothing to do with this. Talk about someone moe wothy, like Leona Aglukkaq.

    • Had to undestand you.

      Next time you’e at the gocey stoe, buy an R. They’e cheap at Safeway.

      • I believe ToysUs has them as well…

  9. I fully support Motion 312, and with very good reason. The present interpretation of the abortion laws are archaic. I felt my babies kicking inside me. Heck, they even had the hiccups on occasion. They didn’t just become living beings at birth. I am the doting grandparent of a little girl whose birth mother chose differently. The world without our granddaughter would have been much poorer if she was considered not worthy of being born

    • Still waiting to hear the good reason. Did your emotional clap-trap get you so teary eyed you forgot to put it in?

  10. Is there no room for a free vote in a democracy by the way I am pro-choice