But a number of his caucus are pro-life
On Oct. 2, a near-majority of the bare majority of Ontarians who voted, elected Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal Party to power. Pro-life and pro-family citizens are worried about what the next three to five years hold, although many wonder how it could get much worse.
Yes, Dalton McGuinty is pro-abortion. He also favours special rights for homosexuals. But over the past decade, Ontario has not scaled back the abortion regime; indeed, former premier Mike Harris broke a promise not to increase the number of abortuaries in the province. In 1995, there were five. Today, there are six.
Furthermore, under the Harris Tories, the province capitulated to the courts on special rights for homosexuals, with Bill 5 exceeding even what the courts had ordered in terms of additional rights the legislation gave to homosexual couples. The Harris government also did not reign in the Ontario Human Rights Commission, which promoted the homosexual agenda.
Despite the gravity of these issues – abortion, homosexual rights, the threat to democracy posed by activist courts and extra-judicial outfits such as the OHRC – the Ontario election focused on economic issues, education, electricity and leadership.
Pro-life and pro-family voters were looking for leadership on their issues, but did not receive any from the three mainline parties. On abortion, there was no discernable difference among the Liberals, Progressive Conservatives and NDP. The NDP is officially pro-abortion – that is, not only do its leaders signal strong pro-abortion support, the party’s platform includes a commitment to abortion on demand. The other two major parties have leaders that are pro-abortion, although the parties have no official policy on the issue. The NDP supports the homosexualist agenda, including same-sex “marriage.” McGuinty has repeatedly said he supports same-sex “marriage,” a position consistent with his advocacy of expanded rights for homosexuals as early as 1998. For his part, former premier Ernie Eves opposed same-sex “marriage” after initially supporting it, but nonetheless did not offer to do anything to actively oppose re-defining marriage.
Prior to the election, the Canadian Family Action Council determined that the three major parties were “indistinguishable on many other issues as well, including funding for abortion clinics and abortions, funding for daycare, funding for special interest groups and support for the out-of-control Ontario Human Rights commission.”
That is why many pro-lifers are grateful for the presence of the Family Coalition Party. The FCP ran candidates in almost half the ridings – 51 of 103. LifeSite director Steve Jalsevac told The Interim that the “pro-life movement is very appreciative of the efforts of the Family Coalition Party for bringing the life and family issues as a first priority to election debates.” He also said the FCP allowed “pro-life voters the opportunity to vote to protect human life.” The FCP garnered more than 35,000 votes, a remarkable 45 per cent increase from its 1999 total.
Campaign Life Coalition, the political arm of the pro-life movement, said that the FCP was the only party committed to protecting innocent human life from the moment of conception. But it also urged supporters to look closely at the individual candidates because all parties, including the NDP and Green Party, had candidates that CLC qualified as pro-life or pro-life with exceptions.
Campaign Life Coalition was able to determine that at least a half-dozen new Liberal MPPs are pro-life, although it is uncertain at this stage whether the number of pro-life MPPs has changed much. CLC president Jim Hughes expressed disappointment at the loss of several pro-life MPPs, including Tories Garry Guzzo, Wayne Wettlaufler and Bob Wood and Liberal John Cleary (who retired). CLC Ontario president Mary Ellen Douglas told The Interim that the organization is still analyzing the data collected from its questionnaires. About one-third of candidates responded to the questionnaires, with about an equal number of pro-life and pro-abortion candidates. Douglas said that the questionnaires will be extremely helpful in working with MPPs in the future and that CLC looks forward to the opportunity to advance pro-life legislation.
The Liberals have 72 seats, the Progressive Conservatives 24 and the NDP seven. The Liberals garnered 46 per cent of the popular vote, but just over half of the voting-age public bothered to vote. One pro-life political analyst told The Interim that the low voter turnout – a mere 54 per cent – reflected the electorate’s lacklustre reaction to the options it was given. The rise of parties such as the Green and FCP also indicates a growing intolerance of politics as usual, as well as the need for government to address real issues. While the media belittle such parties as minor and insignificant, it is these small but growing parties that have the most comprehensive policy platforms. The FCP is far from a single-issue party, with well-developed programs on healthcare and education reform, tax policies and measures to deal with crime.
On Oct. 2, the Tories lost more than half of their seats, but political observers note that the caucus has moved rightward. Consequently, some pro-life conservatives see hope for the party’s future in likely leadership candidate Jim Flaherty, who is rated pro-life by CLC. Ernie Eves is expected to step down early next year and a leadership convention called for next June. Right now, Flaherty is the front-runner.
There are numerous other potential candidates, including former health minister Tony Clement, former minister of northern development, Tim Hudak, and former Mike Harris aide and Canadian Alliance leadership contender Tom Long. None are considered pro-life.
CLC’s Hughes said that the Progressive Conservative party cannot ignore pro-life voters and warns that it will not be elected if it takes pro-life conservatives for granted. “You can’t expect pro-lifers to vote for a party that is not offering them anything,” he said.
NDP leader Howard Hampton’s political future is also up in the air. However, neither he, nor any likely leadership challenger, are pro-life.