Yes or no -

Yes or no


Meanwhile, the government still won’t clarify its foreign policy on abortion.

When asked yesterday if there is a federal government policy against funding groups that facilitate abortions in developing countries, a spokesman for Bev Oda, the Minister for International Co-operation, refused to give a direct reply.

“As we have said many times, the G8 initiative on maternal and child health is about making a positive difference and save the lives of mothers and children in the developing world, not about reopening the debate on abortion,” Jean-Luc Benoît said in an e-mail. Asked to offer a yes or no answer to the question of whether the government would give money to a group that facilitates abortions, Mr. Benoît simply reiterated his first response.


Yes or no

  1. The PM was clear – they aim to support maternal and child health using cost-effective approaches. That's agnostic on contraception and abortion (which seems to be Canada's traditional position) – and this is for a G8 initiative where most/all members have that position. It's not like there's a debate between politically viable alternatives here. The Liberals introduced this topic but don't have a party position on abortion either. What exactly are Canadians supposed to discuss? The only outcome of the Liberal's behaviour has been to stir up pro-lifers to press the government and the Liberal party to restrict abortion access. Why did Canada need that?

    • i suspect it has nothing to do with agnosticism, traditional or not, and everything to do with politics. Given the track record of this gov't i doubt anyone will be shocked or surprised if they do all they possibly can to not fund any abortion in developing countries, using their preferred under the radar techniques. At the same time they're hoping not to alienate female voters in this country and keep the base happy…good luck with that when the ngo's begin to howl.

      • The NGOs will only howl if the funding is cut. Keep the funding and there's no story – unless the Liberals manufacture a story as they've done here, leading to a risk that abortion funding would be cut (or decisions at least delayed until the attention dies down) to satisfy pro-lifers (which seems to be why Planned Parenthood prefers that there be no story). This is a pretty gross display of tactical politics by the Liberals – risking a poor policy outcome in the hopes of swinging some pro-choice votes to their column. And the Liberals overlooked the pro-life votes they've been getting (even though Szabo pointed that out to them in the media the same day Ignatieff introduced this topic).

        • I agree the politics on the part of the libs is pretty crass. However, i wont hold my breath on funding restrictions to the ngos.[ note this article is about refusal to clarify a position] We've seen similar under the radar stuff from these guys on R&D and Kairos i believe [ wasn't here some mention of cuts to aids funding too?] If no funding is cut then presumeably there wont be a problem – we'll see.

        • Actually, Planned Parenthood would prefer there be more of a story on this because Harper has already, quietly and with little attention, cut 98% of its funding.

          Harper is already out there implementing some social conservative policy in areas like this so the risk is, by not drawing attention to it and not asking the questions they are asking, Harper continues apace unabated.

          Harper prefers no debate because he wants no scrutiny.

  2. Sigh…it's another day, another opportunity to look foolish. Yesterday the libs looked real bad. The gov't it appears feels left out. This should have been the aim of a "competent" liberal motion.[ a sensible and effective motion would have merely asked the gov't to confirm they support all the provisions of the document they have signed in our name – let them hang themselves eventually if they elected to. Not to worry libs, it only took the gov't 24hrs to join you in the parade of clowns. But it's our intelligence they insult , right.

    • Seconded.

  3. I agree with Coyne that Parliament needs to debate abortion, but for this reason: procurement of abortion is still a crime. What constitutes procurement? It could be that a foreign policy to fund abortion is contrary to our domestic criminal code.

    • There is no law on abortion in Canada. It is not part of the criminal code.

      "Section 287 of the Criminal Code is the abortion provision drafted by Pierre Trudeau and passed in 1969. Prior to 1969, taking steps to cause an abortion was an offence liable to life imprisonment..In 1988, the Supreme Court of Canada decision R. v. Morgentaler, declared this entire section to be of no force or effect because it was held to violate section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms…The end result, then, is that there is no criminal regulation of abortion in Canada."

  4. Way to fence-sit on contentions issues, dear government. Laurier would be proud.

    • This is not fence-sitting…they are hiding their actions by the use of carefully phrased words.

      I must say though, that despite the refreshing change within the past months, maybe if the media had focused more on what the CPC actually does rather than what they say, they would have realized the Orwellian doublespeak long ago instead of giving them carte-blanche for 4 years (no offense Macleans)…

  5. I think Cons are fudging the issue because they don't want to alienate social cons yet. I was wondering if Cons are doing the things that Wells wrote about last week to give them some cover with base when they once again bottle making a proper decision that will please conservatives.

    You will be able to knock me over with a feather if Cons actually stop funding third world baby killers.

    • I think Cons are fudging the issue because they don't want to alienate ordinary Canadians on this issue yet. I was wondering if Cons are doing the things that Wells wrote about last week to give them some cover with base and this is just more of the same incremental, away from the spotlight, small social conservative change to longstanding Canadian and international policy without having to have a public debate about changing longstanding Canadian and international policy .

      You will be able to knock me over with a feather if it turns out Cons actually do intend stop funding third world hospitals and health clinics that help women and children and, at the same time, provide safe abortions.

    • "You will be able to knock me over with a feather if Cons actually stop funding third world baby killers."

      Stop defaming our troops like that.

  6. Why do they need to clarify something that our country apparently has no policy on. This non-policy has been policy for successive liberal-conservative governments.

  7. There is another section of the criminal code that criminalizes procurement of abortion as an act that corrupts morals. The Morgentaler ruling does not render that section unenforceable.

    • Procuring an abortion is dealt with in section 287, which was section 267 at the time Morgentaler was decided. So that's struck down.

      There is another section (163) which deals with advertising abortions, Viagra and other things, as well as selling crime comics, and is a summary conviction offense. I could check if that was struck out by Morgentaler but I think I'll content myself with getting some crime comics out of the library…

  8. All due respect Aaron…..I think you and your ilk are asking the questio the wrong way.

    We HAVE already been providing abortions and contraception as a part of a complete maternal health program.

    Perhaps what you should be asking….is 'So can we assume that there will be no change in Canada's current maternal health care commitments which means that abortions and contraceptives will still be a part of the plan?"

    Then for a follow up…."when will the NGO IPPF who is one of the lead NGOs for the G8 who provides this care going to get their funding renewed?"