Well, the MPs are back from their Christmas break, and although there are no left-related bills on the front burner for the government, there are several private members’ initiatives that you need to be aware of when you are speaking with your member of Parliament.

By the way, although members try to be in their ridings as much as possible on Fridays, there are entire weeks set aside periodically for MPs to devote to their constituents and riding work. By the time you read this, the next “break” will be a two-week period starting on April 6. You and your friends can already be making plans to meet your MP during this two-week period.


Perhaps you can set up a “mini-lobbying” strategy, whereby a number of people could try to schedule separate meetings throughout this period. This will send a message to your member that he or she should be spending more time thinking about these issues and about the pro-life position on abortion and euthanasia.

I have a few other important thoughts about MP meetings at the end of this article.
Abortion- and euthanasia-related initiatives on Parliament’s agenda at the moment of course include Svend Robinson’s motion to strike a committee to look at euthanasia with the intent of bringing forth new legislation. It was debated for a second hour immediately on the return of the MPs to the House of Commons after their Christmas break.

There is one more hour of debate left, after which there will be a vote on the motion. It is not supported by the government, but that does not mean it will not pass. We have hopefully all learned by now that you don’t take anything for granted in this battle. Call your MP and let him or her know that you expect a vote against this motion.

We have found an MP interested in introducing conscience-clause legislation in the House to complement Senator Stanley Haidasz’s bill in the Senate (which is still stuck in committee). Reform MP Maurice Vellacott had not yet introduced his private member’s bill on this issue upon the writing of this article. Call Campaign Life’s national office or the local office in your province to receive an update on this process or call Mr. Vellacott’s office at (613) 992-1899.

A private member’s bill (C-247) to outlaw cloning, introduced by Bloc MP Pauline Picard, was debated in the House on Feb. 17. We aren’t anticipating any serious opposition to the intent of this bill. During the first hour of debate, though, recommendations were made to improve it. In particular, Maurice Vellacott argued that the penalties for breaking such a law should be strengthened by including a mandatory prison sentence rather than simply a fine. This bill is votable after two more hours of debate, which will take place over the next couple of months. Mr. Vellacott is preparing a legislative summary on the bill. If you want more information about it, call his Ottawa office.

There are no other pieces of pro-life legislation to report on at this time. Garry Breitkreuz’s motion on defunding abortion still remains in the “pool” of motions and bills waiting to be drawn for debate.

Mr. Breitkreuz is distributing a petition along with his motion. Call his office at (613) 992-4394 to request your copy, or contact a CLC office.

There is still no indication that the government wants to touch the issue of euthanasia, but public events, embraced by the mainstream media, continue to keep the issue in the news, putting pressure on the government to act.

Each time Nancy Morrison’s case moves forward it gives the pro-euthanasia forces another opportunity to present their case to the public through the flattering media. We will see the same thing happen again when Robert Latimer’s new trial date arrives.

Since a growing number of politicians seem disinterested in the views of their constituents, it becomes increasingly important for us to step further out of our comfort zones and actually go to visit our MPs instead of just writing to them or filling out petitions.

If you have never visited your MP and feel nervous about it, contact your provincial Campaign Life Coalition office and they will try to arrange for somebody with experience to go with you.

Also, when you make arrangements for meeting with your MP, Campaign Life would like to know about it, preferably beforehand, because we will be able to tell you what we already know about him and suggest to you other information that we would like to gather so that you can use your time with your MP most effectively.

Solid information

We would also like you to write up a report about what the MP’s views are on the questions you ask him. It is vitally important, for the sake of the pro-life movement and the children whose lives we are trying to protect, that we be as efficient as possible. To do that, we need to receive as much solid information as we can from you about your MP so that we can make it available to others and so that we don’t duplicate other people’s efforts.

Not only is this important strategically, it also enables us to exercise good stewardship with the funds you have entrusted to us.

(Tim Bloedow writes a monthly Ottawa watch column for the Interim, and serves as a part-time lobbyist for Campaign Life Coalition).