Don Getty understands oil. He is learning to understand agriculture. But he does not understand the abortion issue and it shows. Wallowing in a sea of slogans, Mr. Getty is trying to please supporters on both sides of the issue and as a result is pleasing neither.
Speaking to an Evangelical Minister, the candidate said that there was “No way” that he would allow Morgentaler to set up in Alberta. On a CBC talk show, in response to a question by Jeff Malley of Calgary Coalition for Life, Getty said that abortion was “A matter between a woman and her doctor.” To the Edmonton Journal he said that he was “More or less in favour of the status quo.” However, Mr. Getty would give no firm promise to keep out abortion clinics. He said he would wait until the occasion arose and then see if, in fact, the law was being broken.
This extraordinary series of statements has drawn criticism from Campaign Life Alberta, the Alberta Federation of Women United for Families, and the Alberta Status of Women Action Committee. Mr. Getty probably wishes he had stuck to the economy.
A lot of Getty support comes from the Evangelical Christian community, which sees him as the candidate most likely to be kind to independent Christian schools. Pastor Wayne Webster of Grace Bible Church admits to organizing a phoning campaign to get local PCs out to vote for the Getty slate at delegate selection meetings. There have been complaints from other candidates about the “instant Tories” that the Getty machine is recruiting, particularly since many of these new party members are recent immigrants, some of whom seem to have difficulty reading and writing English.
“Personally opposed” variety
Predictably enough, the accusation of anti-semitism has been leveled at the Getty campaign. However, it rests on no firmer ground than the feeling that any opposition to the position of Ron Ghitter on Christian schools must be “veiled” anti-semitism. Nobody has had the bad taste to accuse Mr. Ghitter of “anti-Christianism.”
Julian Koziak is presently Minister of Municipal Affairs and is therefore not as politically rusty as the other two candidates who have both been out of politics for some time. On a radio talk show Mr. Koziak’s answer to a question about abortion was of the “Personally opposed but…” variety. He is a Catholic of the Byzantine Rite and claims to follow Church teaching on abortion. He has indicated that he would have to prosecute if an abortion clinic were to set up.
At the last Provincial election, Mr. Koziak was endorsed as a pro-life candidate by Campaign Life Alberta. However, he has the reputation of being a weak Minister. It is alleged that when he was Minister of Education the bureaucrats in his department gave the Christian schools a hard time, and the Minister refused to intervene. Whether or not this is so, it is certain that those Evangelical Christians who have their own private schools are backing Don Getty.