The pro-life movement has seen in the Reform party a hope for achieving the legal protection of life from conception to natural death. In fact, some pro-lifers have sought nomination to run for Reform in the election. I was one such aspirant and my experiences expose a flaw in Reform’s appeal to pro-lifers.
Attending the meetings of the riding associates, I found myself among concerned Canadians dedicated to reforming Canada. Conversations about fiscal concerns were prominent, as was the discussion on the need for moral restructuring. I felt free to discuss life issues and found encouragement, and in many cases awareness of the oft unknown forces threatening life and family. Even among the local riding officials, the pro-life cause was held in high regard.
The adversity came at the nomination selection committee meeting where the candidate is quizzed to determine suitability. The committee was made up of various riding officials, local members, and a head honcho from the Reform party executive.
After reviewing my credentials they decided that I was fully qualified for their recommendation to candidacy, except in one area. On the candidate questionnaire prospective candidates are required to fill out, one is asked to sign a one-page affirmation. I refused to sign it.
My objection was to the stipulation requiring candidates to agree to vote on moral issues (i.e. abortion, euthanasia), according to the wishes of a majority of their constituents. I presented my pro-life position and ensured them of my willingness to sign the affirmation if I could omit the section in question. That was unacceptable. The committee then informed me that due to my unwavering position, they could not recommend me as a candidate.
Although I could still ostensibly pursue nomination, I was also left with the impression that I need not bother. I did attend the nomination meeting as I felt it would a good opportunity to share the pro-life message. At the meeting the selection committee advised the crowd that I was not recommended by them for the candidacy, but did not elaborate as to why I was rejected.
Although I did not win the candidacy, some who have gone this same route, have earned the candidacy by hard work and perseverance. They would up becoming Reform Party candidates, despite the fact that the selection committee did not endorse them.
However, this policy demonstrates that if all goes according to Reform’s plan (i.e. all candidates sign the affirmation), no truly pro-life individual could become a Reform Party candidate. One cannot be truly pro-life and agree to vote pro-abortion, just as one could not endorse racism or murder if the majority approves of these practices.
I find it sadly amusing that the Reform Party leader, Preston Manning, who claims to be pro-life, would agree to vote pro-abortion if a majority of his constituents wished it; he would never dare to say he would vote for a return of slavery even if a majority of his constituents desired it. Hence, Preston Manning may be pro-life, but Reform Party policy prevents him from carrying out this noble conviction.