By Interim Staff

Pro-life officials will monitor the establishment of a new association dedicated to raising population, family planning and reproductive choice issues among Canadian MPs and Senators. The Canadian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (CAPPD) met in late April to invite membership and to discuss objectives. A similar organization of Parliamentarians was in force until 1993, but was disbanded with the calling of that year’s election.

The group is led by pro-abortion Liberal MP Jean Augustine (Etobicoke-Lakeshore) and Senator Landon Pearson. In an April 16 letter to all MPs and Senators, Augustine said CAPPD is “essential to Canada’s involvement in global and national population issues.”

According to material distributed by Augustine’s office, the organization has national and international objectives. These include efforts to raise population issues among legislators, working with international development offices and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in areas of reproductive health, and alerting MPs and Senators about research into population changes and “sustainable development.”

U.N. context

More disturbing to pro-family elements, is the group’s aim to review population and gender policies in the context of the United Nations conferences in Cairo and Beijing. Pro-life groups have long criticized these UN gatherings for promoting anti-family agendas and for working to shut out any traditional views on marriage, sex education and the family.

Pro-life groups also see terms such as “reproductive choice” and “sustainable development” as United Nations jargon for abortion, contraception, sterilization and a host of anti-population programs.

Donald McFarling, an assistant to Jean Augustine, told The Interim that the incentive for the formation of population study group comes from Augustine and the Liberal party itself. He said membership in the parliamentary group is open to all parties, but to date only Liberals have participated in planning sessions.

McFarling also said a consultant with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has met with Augustine’s staff to get the parliamentary association up and running. Gwen Landolt, national vice-president of REAL Women of Canada, called news of the parliamentary committee on population “alarming.”

She said the objectives outlined by CAPPD reflect those pursued by Canadian delegations at the last several UN Conferences. She added that Augustine was part of the Canadian contingent to UN meetings in Istanbul and Beijing.

“These agendas are being pursued by elite groups of feminist extremists without the support or knowledge of the Canadian people,” Landolt told The Interim.

She expressed concern that the population-based programs advocated by United Nations organizations become policy without any public debate.

“Population-based policies never has a consensus,” she said. “They are not acceptable to the people of the developing world, but they are often held out as a condition for receiving foreign aid dollars from western governments.”