38

Idea alert


 

Keith Martin says there’s already a framework for addressing maternal and child health internationally. And, as luck would have it, he helped write it.

Last summer, at the pre-G8 Conference on International Health in Rome, parliamentarians from around the world developed a concrete work plan to reduce maternal mortality called, “Strategic Investments in Times of Crisis.” This was given to the G8 and G20 leaders at their meeting a few days later.

The plan called for strategic investments in people’s access to primary care: basic surgical facilities, medications, a full array of family planning options, diagnostics, adequate nutrition, clean water, power, and most importantly, trained health care workers. With these assets in place, most obstetrical complications could be treated, along with 80 per cent of the medical problems one encounters in the emergency departments of developing countries. This includes major killers like gastroenteritis, which causes 2.2 million deaths per year, pneumonia, 2.1 million, malaria, 2 million, and HIV/AIDS, which claims more than 2 million lives per year.


 

Idea alert

  1. CBC Radio interviewed Bev Oda on this initiative last night. But first they interviewed Carolyn Bennet, who emphasized the role of access to safe and legal abortion and contraception as integral to womens' health.

    Needless to say, Bev Oda was dancing furiously to avoid questions on abortion and contraception related to Harper's initiative.

    Do you think Harper strayed close to this politically loaded topic accidentally, or is he trying to trigger an abortion debate?

    • the only person so far to bring up the issue is Iggy .. standard ol liberal fear and shmear. Harper is not the expert on Rovian tactics.

      • Funny, one actual Rovian tactic was to deny US support funding to any organization that had any links to making safe abortions available.

        It's quite reasonable to ask whether Harper intends to use this same tactic, considering Harper is personally pro-life and politically constrained by pro-life voters.

        • No, it's not reasonable to ask that question. It's just a cheap and transparently political ploy. Very Martinesque of Iggy to even bring it up.

          • So the Liberals should stand quietly by while Harper claims to be addressing womens' health while he silently ignores the requirements he personally disapproves of.

            Is that what you're saying?

          • So Canada shouldn't make generous contributions to clean water, inoculations, nutrition, and the training of health care workers in the third world unless they also fund abortions in the third world? Is that what the Liberals are saying?

          • Don't be ridiculous.

            Again, from the link above: "80 per cent of these maternal deaths are a result of just five entirely preventable or treatable causes: sepsis, hemorrhage, eclampsia, obstructed labour, or as a consequence of a septic abortion. "

            The PM hasn't said whether he's going to focus on just four, or all five of these causes of maternal deaths. It's a perfectly reasonable question and all the breathless hyperbole in the world can't change that.

            I want to know how Harper intends to spend my money.

          • I'll quote Keith Martin:

            "It would be a shame if the debate about abortion hijacks the larger issue of what we can do very simply to enable pregnant women to be able to deliver [babies] safely."

  2. "This includes major killers like gastroenteritis, which causes 2.2 million deaths per year, pneumonia, 2.1 million, malaria, 2 million, and HIV/AIDS, which claims more than 2 million lives per year."

    I think Martin should have been the Lib sent out to talk about Harper's women agenda. Iggy focusing on abortion was appalling – all the Libs contribute to debate is idea that Canada should be in business of killing black and other third world babies. If Canada did actually have a conservative msm, we would be discussing Libs and eugenics but that's another issue.

    I think Libs should be focusing on other, larger issues similar to what Martin has written and not focus solely on abortion.

    • "Libs and their love of eugenics"

      Slightly hyperbolic, don't you think?

      • I don't think so, no. First time Iggy raises abortion question is when we are talking about black babies. It is not a coincidence that Iggy/liberals think helping Africa, and other third wold countries, includes killing their babies.

    • "I think Libs should be focusing on other, larger issues similar to what Martin has written and not focus solely on abortion."

      From the link above:

      "Remarkably, 80 per cent of these maternal deaths are a result of just five entirely preventable or treatable causes: sepsis, hemorrhage, eclampsia, obstructed labour, or as a consequence of a septic abortion.

      The plan called for strategic investments in people's access to primary care: basic surgical facilities, medications, a full array of family planning options, diagnostics, adequate nutrition, clean water, power, and most importantly, trained health care workers."

      Sounds like they're well within Martin's material. Harper has a real problem here – access to abortion and contraception is a real factor in womens' health worldwide. Regardless of one's position on abortion, it's perfectly appropriate for an opposition party to ask about it, considering Harper's constraints on the topic.

      • "it's perfectly appropriate for an opposition party to ask about it, considering Harper's constraints on the topic."

        Since we so rarely agree about anything, I thought I would say that I concur with you about appropriateness. One of the reasons msm focuses so much on polls/horse race is because msm and many other Canadians have declared most important topics off limits, that we can't discuss them. Raise taxes to cover deficit? No, too controversial. Discussion about health care system when Premier has to go elsewhere? No, too controversial.

        List is endless, really. One of the reasons why I follow American politics is because pols discuss the issues. Canadians talk amongst themselves about this bigger issues but msm and pols maintain silence. I would welcome abortion debate, or just about any other debate that deals with weighty matters, in Canada.

        • I'm glad, and not surprised that we agree – a fulsome debate is always healthy.

          Frankly I'm so gobsmacked by your offensive hyperbole that I'd rather not find myself sharing any side of any debate with you at the moment.

        • Some people always take the low road, regardless of whether you concur with them or not.

    • 1) Iggy talked about reproductive rights in general and then contraception and "termination of pregnancy" specifically, so his questions are not as single minded as you present.

      2) This "new initiative of Harper's is so lacking in substance (unlike what K. Martin has detailed) that it smacks of hastily conceived, focus-group-and-poll-driven chicanery meant to change the channel and appeal to the base.

      3) Given that the Bush-era USA sabotage of reproductive rights at home and abroad was cloaked in exactly this kind of disguise and that the Harper regime are known fellow travelers with the Bush miscreants, it was either savvy (or courageous – if Harper succeeds) of Iggy to raise the issue.

    • From your link:

      "This has nothing to do with abortion, or gay marriage or capital punishment, in case those are going to be [Mr. Ignatieff 's] next arguments on this issue," –Dmitri Soudas

      "What kind of mindset is that that you have to start killing unborn babies in order to help people?" – Tom Flanagan

      Such huffing and puffing. I asked above, and still wonder: did the Conservatives blunder into this, or is this a deliberate attempt to trigger an abortion debate?

  3. I agree with Martin, it would be a shame if people's ideological positions get in the way of providing women the support they need. I also agree with Martin that unsafe abortions are a major factor in womens' health.

    And if Harper is spending my money, I want to know how and I want it justified by data.

    • Don't most of the 80,000 annual deaths linked to unsafe abortions occur in countries where abortion is illegal, so Canada can't do much about those deaths anyway?

      As for unsafe abortions in countries where abortion is legal, wouldn't training health care workers and providing medical supplies help reduce unsafe abortions as well as fighting disease and improving obstetrical care?

      The larger issue here is the hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths during childbirth, and the millions of women and children who die every year from preventable diseases and lack of access to supplements and medicine.

      Ignatieff's focus on abortion seems like a misguided effort to change the channel for political gain.

      • I say again: ask a public health professional how to improve womens' health, and they will include access to safe abortion and contraception as necessary.

        Ignatieff isn't changing the channel, he's addressing the elephant in the room: does our evangelical, right-wing politician intend to limit the application of public funds to the aspects of womens' health that he's personally comfortable with?

        The larger issue: if Harper only intends to fund a fraction of the items required to improve womens' health, then he needs to say so. It's not his money, it's public money.

        • I am a public health care professional. You do NOT speak for me. Yes, I do support EDUCATION and contraception regarding family planning, but I DO NOT support abortion as a solution NOR NECESSARY for women's health. Are you familiar with post-abortion syndrome? This is an event that occurs 2 to 10 years following an abortion and results many times in a crippling depression for many women. This is also part of "women's health'', although not well publicized. TJ, if you are not a woman, be honest enough and please do not pretend to be an expert on women's health.

  4. It's a deliberate attempt by Ignatieff to trigger a debate about abortion. He's the one who brought it up. Perhaps he's trying to resurrect the old Harper=Bush shtick.

    • Ignatieff's comment is certainly fair game; he might already be wishing he had left the abortion topic alone, or at least raised his concerns in a different manner.

      OTOH, Soudas' and Flanagan's comments seem to be deliberate attempts to stoke the Ignatieff flame into a large fire.

      I wish that all three of them would turn it down a notch or two.

    • "He's the one who brought it up."

      Uh huh. And Harper, apropos of nothing, drops his dirty bomb schtick and introduces womens' health as a G8 focus.

      Harper knows perfectly well that access to abortion and contraception are a major factor in womens' health. He also knows that his fellow rightwing evangelical, George W Bush, caused a huge international outcry by restricting funding to organizations that provided or even counseled abortion services.

      If you think Harper blundered into this, you're really fooling yourself. Harper put an elephant in the room, just begging for someone to ask about it.

      As for Iggy, you could argue that he walked into a trap. You could argue that his strong pro-choice language was too big a step. But to ask whether this money will be spent in line with public health data is not to "trigger" a debate.

      • Harper put an elephant in the room, just begging for someone to ask about it.

        This is patently ridiculous. The last thing Harper needs is for the Liberals to jump back on the "Harper is a scary social conservative" bandwagon, and to start flogging gratuitous and inaccurate comparisons to George W. Bush.

        Remember Paul Martin's desperate last minute gambit in which he said he'd revoke the notwithstanding clause in order to safeguard a woman's right to choose from that scary Mr. Harper? Similar tactics here.

        The idea that Harper was secretly inviting an abortion debate is even more laughable given that it was Ignatieff who surprised everyone by taking the most aggressive pro-abortion stance of any Liberal leader ever. Not even Martin would have insisted Canada must include abortion funding as a key component in any health care funding package for women and children the third world. He wouldn't have gone that far.

        Nice "trap", btw. It's amusing how the word "trap" figures prominently in so much misguided political analysis these days.

        • You're fooling yourself if you think Harper didn't anticipate this. Harper, the Master Strategist:

          – chose an issue in which abortion and contraception feature prominently.
          – chose an issue which ignited an international debate when Bush played games with funding
          – left the question of abortion and contraception unaddressed.
          – When asked about it, sent Soudas out on the offensive, slobbering and snarling and still not addressing the issue

          Like I said above, you can question whether Iggy's response was over-the-top. But to deny Harper's role (deliberate or naive) in putting an elephant in the room is ridiculously short-sighted.

          Incidentally: "The idea that Harper was secretly inviting an abortion debate is even more laughable given that it was Ignatieff who surprised everyone by taking the most aggressive pro-abortion stance…" is a logic failure. Read it again, and think about it.

          • Obviously we're not going to agree about Harper's motives here.

            -Perhaps Harper chose to help the world's poorest women and children because of personal moral and religious convictions.
            -Perhaps Harper wants to establish a legacy by making a positive contribution to thousands of lives in the third world.
            -Perhaps Harper's wife and children feel strongly about this issue, and encouraged him to choose it.
            -Perhaps Harper feels that it's an issue that will be popular with most Canadians, and it will benefit him politically.

            All these seem more plausible than "perhaps he chose this issue because was trying to put an elephant in the room as part of a cunning trap".

            I'll reword that sentence to clean up the logic:
            The idea that Harper was secretly inviting an abortion debate by not mentioning abortion is laughable. Given that Ignatieff's over-the-top pro-abortion response surprised his own office and many in his own caucus, it's unlikely that Iggy's rash foray into the abortion debate could have been anticipated by Harper, let alone planned as some sort of three-dimensional chess move.

          • I think each of Harper's potential motivations that you list is feasible but not exclusive of the potential motivation I'm talking about. I don't doubt that he genuinely wants to help women, but I doubt he missed the political implications of this issue.

            I don't think it's feasible that Harper failed to forsee an abortion debate as a result of this, given that foreign aid and access to abortion and contraception have long been an issue for evangelicals. If he saw it coming, my question is whether he hoped to dodge the debate or trigger a debate.

            "The idea that Harper was secretly inviting an abortion debate by not mentioning abortion is laughable."

            That's not what I said – you're being obtuse. Try again.

          • I don't think it's feasible that Harper failed to forsee an abortion debate as a result of this.

            I have no idea what Harper foresaw, but I don't agree that an abortion debate was inevitable. Under a different Liberal leader, it might have been completely avoided. Harper has tried his best to avoid the issue during the past four years, to the chagrin of a small but vocal segment of his base. There's no reason to think this would change now.

            That's why I think your suggestion that he was "setting a trap" for Ignatieff is nothing but unfounded speculation. You keep assuming that Harper thinks like an evangelical, but the reality is that Harper thinks like a pragmatic politician.

          • So we agree to differ. I don't think there's any way a conservative, pro-life politician could choose to bring international aid for women to the nation and not even think of the abortion/contraception link. Especially given Bush's history on this exact topic.

            "…nothing but unfounded speculation."

            Of course it's speculation, unless you have some direct line into the PM's office or brain. Sheesh.

            Look at the very first comment on this post. It was me, saying "Do you think Harper strayed close to this politically loaded topic accidentally, or is he trying to trigger an abortion debate?"

            Then I asked, early in this thread: "I asked above, and still wonder: did the Conservatives blunder into this, or is this a deliberate attempt to trigger an abortion debate?"

            Your response: "It's a deliberate attempt by Ignatieff to trigger a debate about abortion."

            Who's traffic in unfounded speculation here?

          • Of course it's speculation, unless you have some direct line into the PM's office or brain. Sheesh.

            You're focusing on the wrong word. We all know it's speculation. You should be focusing on the adjective. Speculation can be well-founded or unfounded. Your suggestion that Harper "wanted" or "invited" an abortion debate clearly falls in the latter category.

            Who's traffic in unfounded speculation here?

            Congratulations for putting your speculation in the form of a question, at least at first. You answered your own question later, though:

            "If you think Harper blundered into this, you're really fooling yourself. Harper put an elephant in the room, just begging for someone to ask about it."

          • So typically Liberal! Does it occur to you that Canada respects the sovereignty and the will of other nations and PERHAPS the question of population control/abortion might be offensive to their culture? Is our support therefore contingent on whether they follow a certain agenda (i.e. Liberal) for their culture — thus population control?
            The larger issue is not the personal ideology of either Harper or Ignatieff, but how the gov't. of Canada represents itself to third world countries. Think outside the box T.J.

  5. Well it seems that Doc Martin has done some extensive work on international health and should be the party's spokesperson. I received via twitter a link to his website (http://www.keithmartin.org) for his National Post op and the G8 Plan to reduce maternal mortality…good stuff. Thanks Dr. Martin for keeping the debate focussed on the main issue on maternal care and all wedge tactics by the government to make this a national debate on abortion should not be given air time.

    • Hey Plato,
      I have been in Keith's riding for 17 years. He does write lots of great letters. That's about it. In 17 years he has never effectively followed up on ANY of the great causes he proposes to stand for– but it does sound good!

  6. So far I’ve not heard anyone mention how very sad it is that as money is being slated for maternal health — abortion — that cheapest and most profitable way to ‘deliver’– abortion – that makes the news news.

  7. Ignatieff an Evil Heart and Low Quality for Prime Minister Part 1____As I said last night Michael Ignatieff is a baby killer and that makes him a potential murderer in my eyes! The only time my family and I advocate abortion is when the pregnancy threatens the very life of the mother! Otherwise, who are we that we should make the decision to take a life?____I certainly wouldn't vote for a man and party that play humanist reasoning on life and hold life in such a cheap low regard!____A lot of Elitists are in favor of Eugenics and that is why I, my family, friends would never vote for Michael Ignatieff, how secure can anyone feel with a leader who has the basic belief that life is expendable for the better deal of not having a responsibility toward a child?____In contrast, Prime Minister Harper, stated he is very concerned for the children in third world countries as well as Canadian children!____

  8. Part 2 – As I said previously this fact in it's self tells you the in depth of Michael Ignatieff's attitude and value to the lives of Canadian citizens, if he would deny an infant life, how less important would a voters desires and needs be to a man and party that supports Eugenics policies?

    We have enough of that type in the world already, look up President Barak Obama's Science Czar – John Holdren also a Liberal Democrat, look up David Rockefeller and his desire to reduce world population to five hundred million people, this is the kind of ill regard for humanity that you would be voting to lead you country should you vote Liberal! They call it progressive, I call it Draconian! It is obvious to me that Michael Ignatieff does not have one Iota of the Lord's Love in his heart! If the heart is not good that is not the man I want to see as Prime Minister of Canada!
    Check out what Government is doing behind your back at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VebOTc-7shU

Sign in to comment.