Campaign Life Coalition vice president Jeff Gunnarson, said, “overall, the pro-life-and-family movement had a hugely successful convention,” despite missing out on what he called “the top prize” of deleting Article 65. That article, added to the policy handbook in 2016, commits a Conservative government to not introducing any legislation on abortion,
CLC endorsed seven resolutions in the social policy breakout session and urged the defeat of another. Only the ten most popular resolutions in each breakout went to the full convention floor. All seven of CLC’s policies made it to the plenary. A palliative care resolution that did not explicitly ban euthanasia was defeated in the breakout sessions.
Of the seven policies that made it to the full convention, five were passed: opposition to ideological litmus tests for summer jobs programs, banning abortion in any maternal and child health aid programs, legislation to guarantee neo-natal care for babies who are born alive, opposing the expansion of euthanasia to minors and persons with psychological suffering, support for a national palliative care strategy that excludes euthanasia, and condemning compelled speech, such as that imposed by transgender ideology Bill C-16. The born-alive infant protection resolution passed 63-37 per cent and opposition to expanding euthanasia passed 62-38 per cent. The other votes were deemed passed by a hand-vote.
Conservative MP Cathay Wagantall (Yorkton-Melville) spoke for the resolution banning abortion from maternal foreign aid, criticizing the Trudeau government’s $650 million spending on abortion and advocacy abroad as an attempt “to socially engineer other nations’ values.”
Newfoundland and Labrador delegate Patrick Hanlon spoke in favour of “delete 65,” which would make the party neutral on abortion. Hanlon said unlike the Liberals and NDP, the Conservatives “allow caucus members free votes without litmus tests.” Wagantall said the party should “get some guts” to address abortion on those issues on which there is broad support in caucus and the public, including partial-birth abortion, and sex-selective abortion. The resolution was defeated 806-700, or 53-47 per cent. It was the only vote the chairs announced the exact vote.
CLC’s Gunnarson told The Interim, “we added pro-life policies to the Party’s policy handbook, thus making it a more pro-life document.” But Gunnarson also said while the policy handbook is more pro-life, voters should still give utmost consideration to local candidates and whether or not they are pro-life before supporting them.