The motion of Gus Mitges (Grey-Simcoe) which seeks the agreement of the House of Commons to consider amending the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to explicitly protect the unborn child received the first of five hours of debate on Friday, November 21. The debate in the House of Commons was attended by ten Members of Parliament, the Acting Speaker and six pages, five spectators and six security guards. Friday afternoon at five o’clock is not an easy time to draw a crowd in the House of Commons.


Dr. Mitges spoke eloquently in his defence of the unborn child and his steadfast opposition to abortion. He spoke of the intrinsic value of each human life, and the catastrophic results of a utilitarian ethic which sees persons in terms of their economic worth. Mitges asserted that abortion, infanticide and mercy killing have a tendency to follow one upon the other, and suggested that those who favour legalized abortion could not guarantee that this would not lead to other forms of murder.


Speaking against the motion were Dan Heap (Spadina), Anne Blouin (Montmorency-Orleans), Jim Manly (Cowichan-Malahat-The Islands), Don Boudria (Glengary-Prescott-Russell), and Francois Gerin (Megantic-Compton-Stanstead).


Charles-Eugene Marin (Gaspe), a doctor of psychiatry, spoke of the negative effects of abortion on the medical profession and on the patient. He stated that he felt that it was a tragedy to treat unborn human life with total disregard, for reasons of expediency.


After 59 minutes of debate, Mitges motion was dropped to the bottom of the Order of Precedence for Private Members’ Business in accordance with Standing Orders of the House of Commons. The debate will continue in one-hour segments throughout the winter and spring. As this is a “votable item,” a vote must be called after a total of five hours debate.


The motion has been endorsed by Alliance for Life, Campaign Life and Coalition for the Protection of Human Life. All of these groups have asked their members ans supporters to write to Members of Parliament to seek approval of the motion.