Despite almost no public demands, Canada’s former Health Minister took it upon herself to investigate ways of bringing the abortion pill RU-486 into the country.

The Interim has learned that in November of last year, then-Health Minister Diane Marleau received a letter from B.C. NDP Health Minister Paul Ramsey asking that the federal government seek ways to introduce RU-486 to Canada. “I believe that it is time for Canada to make this choice available to women,” wrote Ramsey.

The letter, obtained by Campaign Life Coalition B.C.’s John Hof under the Freedom of Information Act, was written under pressure from the pro-abortion movement in B.C., an interest group which Ramsay’s government strongly supports.

Ramsay, who was most recently in the news as the author of Bill 48 legislation which banned pro-life activity (later struck down by the courts), quoted an except from the British Columbia Task Force on Access to Contraception and Abortion Services, which urged him to, “expedite the application to the Health Protection Branch for evaluation of RU-486 for licensing purposes.

In Marleau’s response to Ramsey, also obtained under freedom of information, the Health Minister wrote that she was “aware of the status of RU-486 around the world” but that the abortion pill’s manufacturer had not approached her to test it in Canada.

However, she went on to write that, “officials of my Department are investigating possible arrangements between interested parties to initiate clinical trials of the drug in Canada.” During this time, she added, “you (Ramsey) may wish to explore the possibility of . . . inviting the Population Council to take on the sponsorship of a clinical trial with RU-486 in Canada.”

It was this part of the letter which dismayed pro-lifers.

“We have worked so hard to keep RU-486 out of the country and now it turns out our Health Minister has been secretly scheming to bring it in,” said Mary Ellen Douglas, National Co-ordinator for CLC.

“It seems by the nature of her letter that Marleau is giving the green light to begin testing in Canada,” she said.