To Ontario pro-life voters, the main task of the June 8 provincial election was to get rid of the New Democrats.
It seemed this was uppermost in the minds of all voters as Mike Harris and the Progressive Conservatives were swept into Queen’s Park with a strong mandate to clean up the five year mess left by the NDP.
Harris’ tough talk on welfare and his promise to cut taxes and reduce government spending were obviously the key issues which won the hearts of many voters. His stand against special privileges for homosexuals and a promise not to open any more abortion “clinics” won him support from many pro-lifers.
Campaign Life Coalition leader Jim Hughes expressed elation at the fall of the NDP and the failure of the Liberals. “Rae and his government were enemies of the family and the Liberals were not much better,” he said.
He also clamed that CLC was upbeat about the Tory victory. “We are encouraged by Harris’ statements regarding informed consent and no new abortuaries. We’re hoping to convince the new government to de-fund abortion and to drop the lawsuit (against 16 pro-life activists initiated by the NDP).”
While businesses wait for tax relief and government employees wait to see if their jobs will be safe, pro-lifers are waiting to see whether Harris will prove to be a relief from NDP antagonism.
It does not take an astute political analyst to determine that the Tories will be more tolerant to the pro-life message – just how much so remains to be seen.
A Campaign Life Coalition pre-election survey indicates that provincial groups may be able to effectively lobby the new government. Of the 82 Conservative elected:
- 9 are pro-life without any exceptions
- 26 will support an end to government funding of abortion “clinics”
- 17 will support an end to OHIP coverage of the abortion procedure
- 26 responded positively to informed consent for women seeking abortions
- 31 appear to be educable in terms of the pro-life issure
Lost in the Tory sweep was the Family Coalition Party who saw the percentage of the party’s vote diminish from 1990. FCP leader Don Pennell said that his party had little chance: “The Tories capitalized on a North American swing toward the right: the Republicans in the U.S., the federal Reform Party, and the Conservatives in Alberta and Manitoba.”
He did not say whether he would stay on as a leader though he felt that after three elections, “new blood might be needed.” The FCP will stay on as Ontario’s fourth largest party, monitoring how well the Tories are able to keep their promises.