Paul Tuns

On Dec. 11, Anaida Poilievre, wife of Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre, told French-language media outlet TVA Nouvelles, “We are pro-choice,” in the latest attempt by the Conservative leader to distance himself from his pro-life past.

Anaida Poilievre explained, “We have spoken out on this. I am a woman from Quebec, I grew up here. And it’s part of my values.”

The declaration echoes her husband’s assertion during the 2002 Conservative leadership debate when he called himself “pro-choice” and “pro-choix” on abortion.

Pierre Poilievre has tried to paint himself as socially liberal noting that he opposes restrictions on abortion and supports same-sex “marriage” – saying at the 2023 Conservative national convention that his father is “gay.”

As an MP, Poilievre did have a pro-life and pro-family voting record between when he was first elected in 2004 and 2020, when his name came up as a potential future Conservative leader. Since 2020, his record has been mixed. He voted against a private member’s bill to criminalize coercing an abortion and for a government bill that would ban so-called conversion therapy which criminalizes medical, religious, or parental interventions for children who have same-sex attractions or are confused about their gender identity. Yet, he has also voted against the government’s bill expanding euthanasia and for a private member’s bill that would add penalties for assaulting a pregnant woman.

In 2023, the Conservative leader said if his party formed government in the next election, he would repeal euthanasia for those suffering solely from mental illness. He also supported right-of-centre premiers in New Brunswick and Saskatchewan – Blaine Higgs and Scott Moe – in their efforts to protect parental rights when it comes to children who want to use a different name or pronouns from their biological sex. Yet, he also directed his caucus members to refrain from commenting on the Million Person March for Children in September, a nationwide protest against gender ideology being propagated in schools.

Since 2020, Campaign Life Coalition, has rated Poilievre as a red light because he has stated categorically that he will oppose all abortion legislation and if he became prime minister, he would “ensure” no pro-life legislation is enacted.

Campaign Life Coalition Youth tweeted in response to Anaida Poilievre’s comments, “The abortion debate has never been closed. There is no right to abortion in Canada. Pro-abortion politicians are not supportable.”

The Christian Heritage Party tweeted in response to the interview: “There are many things that differ us from the Conservatives but on this issue we stand alone. The CHP will always defend innocent human life from conception to natural death. We are the only Pro-Life Party at the federal level. Choose life, choose @CHPCanada.”

Despite Poilievre’s repeated assertions that he would not support pro-life legislation, an Abacus Data poll released Dec. 18, found that 15 per cent of Canadians said a Conservative government would “definitely” “make it harder for women to have an abortion,” while another 24 per cent said they “probably” would. Considering that nearly a quarter of respondents said a Conservative government “definitely” or “probably” should make abortion more difficult to obtain, the expectation that a Poilievre government would act on the matter is probably held by a number of pro-life voters; that is, there is both hope and fear that a Poilievre government would restrict or ban abortion.

Jack Fonseca, director of political operations for Campaign Life Coalition, said Poilievre’s comments to the French press do “not affect our election strategy” as CLC will continue to “work at nominating and electing the maximum number of pro-life candidates through this current election cycle.”