Question Period Live

QP Live: Justin Trudeau talks more about abortion

Your daily dose of political theatre

Adrian Wyld/CP

Adrian Wyld/CP

Asked about abortion, the average parliamentarian deploys one of three answers: a) defend a woman’s right to choose, and say little else; b) oppose abortion vehemently, and vocally, and publicly; or c) immediately run in the opposite direction. Justin Trudeau, the free-wheeling Liberal leader, isn’t the average parliamentarian. He decreed that Liberals are officially a pro-choice party, despite its historically mixed views on the subject. He said candidates in the next election would be expected to tow the line. Today, Trudeau told reporters that a bunch of guys in the House of Commons shouldn’t legislate away a woman’s right.

I don’t know that there’s anyone in this country that is in favour of abortions. But what I am very much in favour of is a woman’s right to make that determination on her own, in consultation with the medical community, in consultation with whoever she chooses to consult…It is not for a room full of predominantly male legislators to take away those rights from women.

Trudeau’s earlier comments found no fans in the Catholic establishment; indeed, they courted veiled threats from powerful clergy. His stridently pro-choice stance will undoubtedly repel a bunch of socially conservative voters (who were probably not Liberals, anyway). But today was no gaffe. Trudeau is as pro-choice a legislator as it gets, and he got there by rejecting the traditional terms of the debate—and forcing an issue most people avoid at all costs.

Maclean’s is your home for the daily political theatre that is Question Period. If you’ve never watched, check out our primer. Today, QP runs from 2:15 p.m. until just past 3. We livestream and liveblog all the action.