Ontarians will head to the voting booth on June 12, but pro-lifers are looking at the candidates, leaders, and parties, and finding very little they like.
None of the party leaders are pro-life according to Campaign Life Coalition and no party platform features anything remotely pro-life or pro-family.
Tim Hudak was once deemed supportable by CLC back in the late 1990s when as a member of the Mike Harris Progressive Conservative caucus he affixed his name to a petition calling for defunding abortion when he submitted it in Queen’s Park and voted for Bill 91, An act to restore the right of parents to be notified of medical treatment planned for their children. Since then, however, he has done nothing for the pro-life cause. After winning the PC leadership in 2009, he said he would not rein-in the Ontario Human Rights Commission and Ontario Human Rights Tribunal after hinting he would during the leadership campaign. In July 2011, when questions arose about the petition from nearly 15 years earlier, he told the media, “let me be clear: we are not reopening this debate … just like the federal Parliament, we would not be reopening that issue.”
Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne is Canada’s first openly lesbian premier and she has seven anti-life or anti-family votes and positions according to CLC’s ratings. As Dalton McGuinty’s education minister, she pushed a radical sex education plan that the premier eventually was forced to drop after a public backlash. She was also instrumental in pushing for Bill 12, the government’s equity in education law which pro-family activists such as Gwen Landolt of REAL Women and Charles McVety of Canada Christian College say promotes pro-gay educational reforms under the guise of anti-bullying.
NDP leader Andrea Horwath’s voting record is anti-life and anti-family according to CLC’s ratings. In 2010, she even criticized the federal government’s policy of not funding abortions overseas as part of its maternal health initiative. She and two other female NDP MPPs, Cheri DiNovo and France Gelinas, stood up in the provincial assembly with papers marked with the letter X placed over their mouths as part of the party’s protest against the Harper government’s G8 maternal health initiative.
Campaign Life Coalition encourages pro-lifers to support their local pro-life candidate. However, fewer candidates are replying to CLC’s questionnaire or answering direct questions about specific abortion-related issues such as removing the procedure from the list of publicly funded health care services.
CLC’s Jeff Gunnarson told The Interim, “it is vital that grassroots activists within the riding contact all the candidates to ask them where they stand on abortion and abortion funding.” He said the exercise serves a number of goals, including getting information that can be shared with your friends and family, as well as Campaign Life Coalition. Gunnarson explained another benefit of voters asking the candidates about abortion is that “it lets the candidates know that voters still care about the issue and can lead to conversations that educate them.”
With fewer candidates willing to go public that they are pro-life and reports that the Liberal Party has produced a statement for all candidates committing them to support abortion, CLC is hearing that many pro-lifers are confused about what to do in this election. “On the one hand is a Liberal Party that has aggressively promoted homosexuality in the schools and passed a secret law to hide all abortion statistics from the public,” Gunnarson notes. “And on the other is a Progressive Conservative Party publicly committed to doing nothing to reverse any of these egregious policies.”
Gunnarson said CLC has received calls and emails from supporters wondering what to do. “As miserable as many of our supporters feel about the Liberal government and all its ‘boondoggles,’ pro-abortion leader, and aggressive, immoral sexual education programs, CLC urges voting for the pro-life candidate not the party.” He said, “Kathleen Wynne won’t always be leader and we need solid pro-life MPPs to swell the ranks of the Liberals and all parties in order to work toward the goal of a majority pro-life position.”
Gunnarson estimated that voters in about one in five ridings might have an identifiably pro-life candidate on the ballot, including two Green Party candidates. He pointed to Ajax Pickering as one where pro-life voters will have a choice between a pro-life Liberal, MP Joe Dickson, and a pro-life PC, challenger Todd McCarthy.
As The Interim went to press, the Family Coalition Party had six confirmed candidates: Irme de Vries (Perth-Wellington), Gerry Marsh (Halton), Nabila Kiyani (Mississauga-Erindale), Daniel Sullivan (Brampton-West), Marinus VanderVloet (Lambton-Kent-Middlesex), and Andrew Zettel Huron-Bruce).