By Mike Schouten, Campaign director, weneedalaw.ca.
In past federal election campaigns, it would have been laughable to suggest that pre-born human rights would be a probable issue to be discussed by party leaders. The 2015 campaign may well be different. Liberal leader Justin Trudeau seems intent on discussing the issue at every opportunity. He hasn’t backed down from his unilateral decision last year to force all members of his caucus to vote pro-choice. In spite of criticisms from both within – who can forget MP John McKay’s “bozo eruption” comment – and outside his party, Trudeau has stood by his position.
While the Liberal leader’s pro-choice stance is principally the same as all the party leaders, he clearly went farther than any other with his ‘no choice but pro-choice’ declaration; he has essentially bound the consciences of all Liberal members on a moral issue. What is not surprising is that, in taking this seemingly dictatorial stance, Trudeau has not lost support. In other words, his edict was not a bozo eruption.
The Liberal leader and his advisors have built political capital by taking a traditionally divisive issue and turning it from a losing one into a winning one. A number of tactical decisions have led to this and one of them is the consistent use of the term ‘reproductive choice’.
Even though reproductive choice cannot possibly include abortion – a procedure which terminates an already reproduced human being – using the term allows Trudeau to avoid the use of the ‘a’ word. It is a slight-of-hand that has, for the most part, gone unchallenged.
Misinformed supporters listen to Trudeau’s declarations as if somehow a woman’s right to equality is founded solely on her ability to terminate the life of her pre-born child. On the other hand, a large component of the Conservative party base grows increasingly frustrated by a Prime Minister who is too afraid to counter the mistruths Trudeau promulgates.
The result is that we remain a country with an immense legal void when it comes to the protection of rights of children at any stage before birth. This legal void continues to result in real life tragedies for Canadian families.
Editor’s note. This appeared at weneedalaw.ca