We believe in freedom of conscience and religions, and the right of Canadians to advocate, without fear of intimidation or suppression, public policies which reflect their most deeply held values…

From Reform Party policy
The Blue Book 1991

This policy statement, along with the personal views of Reform leader Preston Manning and its sole M.P., Deborah Grey, have led many Canadian pro-lifers to see the Reform Party as a suitable pro-life party.  Many pro-lifers may vote Reform in the next election.

However many other pro-lifers, including Ottawa’s Anne Hartmann, President of the Northern Foundation, have had some degree of difficulty in pinpointing the party’s stance on abortion.

Attempted inquisition

Mrs. Hartmann took up the quest of finding out where the Reform party stands on abortion.  However, she met with a dead end in Thomas E. Flanagan, the Reform Party’s Director of Policy, Strategy and Communications in Calgary.

Mr. Flanagan had written Mrs. Hartmann objecting to a pro-life article which he had assumed she had written.  “Although I hadn’t written the article, and wasn’t familiar with it, I was curious as to why he would object to a pro-life article,” said Mrs. Hartmann.  She went on to add that over the past months many people had been contacted by Mr. Flanagan in an “attempted inquisition into their religious beliefs, their associates, and their private lives.”

She feels that the policy director is trying to quash any possible ties between the party and the pro-life movement.  Though she admits that the party as a whole cannot be judged by one individual, Hartmann does worry about Reform’s habit of ridding itself of unfavorable “extremists” and replacing them with politically correct moderates.

Pro-lifers welcome?

With this in mind Mrs. Hartmann wrote to Preston Manning telling him of Mr. Flanagan’s actions and asking him, among other things, whether pro-lifers were welcome in the Reform Party.  An adequate reply was not forthcoming and, in her mind, the jury remains out as to Reform’s stand on this issue.

Mrs. Hartmann maintains that the only way to resolve this dilemma is for Reform Party members or prospective voters to write Preston Manning and ask him whether his party is prepared to treat pro-lifers with respect accorded to its other members.

The time to unearth Reform’s stance on life should be now and not after the next election, says Hartmann.  It is unwise to become a member of a political party and then suffer disenfranchisement when deemed politically incorrect by that party.