That's a no - Macleans.ca

That’s a no

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The government having previously said that its maternal health initiative had nothing to do with capital punishment nor gay marriage, that it did not want to reopen the debate on abortion, but that it was not closing the door on any possibilities, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Cooperation did stand in his place this afternoon and announce that “Canada’s contribution will not include funding abortion.”

And so, nearly three months after the fact, Michael Ignatieff has an answer to his question.

Official transcript from QP after the jump.

Mme Johanne Deschamps (Laurentides—Labelle, BQ): Monsieur le Président, cette semaine, les ministres du Développement du G8 se réunissent à Halifax afin d’harmoniser leurs politiques à l’égard de la santé maternelle et infantile. On sait que ce gouvernement s’oppose idéologiquement à l’avortement et qu’il voudrait bien exporter ses valeurs conservatrices à l’international. Est-ce que le gouvernement va mettre de côté son idéologie et reconnaître que les mesures de planification familiale, incluant l’avortement, contribuent à améliorer la santé des femmes et des enfants?

Hon. Jim Abbott (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation, CPC): Mr. Speaker, my minister is hosting the G8 development ministers in Halifax today where this issue will be discussed. We will be leading the discussion at the upcoming G8 summit on child and maternal health. We are focused on how to make a positive difference to save the lives of mothers and children in the developing world. Canada’s contribution to maternal and child health may include family planning, however, Canada’s contribution will not include funding abortion.

Mme Johanne Deschamps (Laurentides—Labelle, BQ): Monsieur le Président, le gouvernement conservateur a demandé l’aide de la Norvège afin d’établir sa stratégie à l’égard de la santé maternelle et infantile dans les pays en voie de développement. Le conseiller spécial de la Norvège insiste pour dire que les mesures de planification familiale, incluant l’avortement, sont essentielles à une telle stratégie. Est-ce que le gouvernement conservateur va écouter ce judicieux conseil et prévoir des ressources afin de donner la liberté de choix aux femmes?

Hon. Jim Abbott (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation, CPC): Mr. Speaker, it is getting a little tiresome to have the opposition always trying to score cheap political points on the issue of abortion. We are giving the opportunity to all our G8 partners to assist us in promoting maternal and child health. The standard practice is each country makes its own domestic decision which areas it will focus on. Our government has no intention to reopen the abortion debate in Canada. We will work with our partners on this important issue.