Welcome to 1998. Many of us are probably still considering our New Year’s resolutions, and how to readjust our lifestyle and priorities. Hopefully, for each of us, that includes a commitment to be at least as involved – if not more so – in the important pro-life and pro-family issues of the day.

And there are some important issues to address at the federal political level.

Liberal Senator Stanley Haidasz has introduced Bill S-7 (now in Committee) which would “amend the Criminal Code to prohibit coercion in medical procedures that offend a person’s religion or belief that human life is inviolable.”

Protection issue

It addresses the lack of protection against coercion experienced by health care workers – especially nurses. Nurses for Life has engaged in a valiant effort for many years to get Parliament to address this basic human rights and constitutional issue. Hopefully, all this work is finally paying off.

Nurses for Life and Campaign Life Coalition have engaged a two-pronged strategy on this front. In Ontario, a similar bill is being introduced at the provincial level.

A welcome third-prong would be the introduction of a Bill in the House of Commons. Contact your own MP or your favorite pro-life MP to recommend such action.

Reform MP Garry Breitkreuz has again introduced a motion calling for a referendum on defunding abortion. Opinion polls in at least three provinces – Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan – indicate substantial opposition to taxpayer funding of abortion, yet none of these provinces have respected the wishes of their citizens by ending such funding.

If a national referendum produces majority opposition to taxpayer funded abortion, Mr. Breitkreuz wants the federal government to pressure the provinces to respect the results, with the threat to withhold transfer payments for health care from those provinces which ignore the request.

Mr. Breitkreuz’s motion has yet to be drawn for debate, but he anticipates broader support this time around when it is debated. Let your MP know that you expect him/her to support this motion, even if only for the sake of fiscal responsibility.

Several incidents have increased the level of debate around euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide. The leniency given to Robert Latimer sent a devastating message to all Canadians – especially those with disabilities – about the value placed on innocent human life by our justice system.     Saskatchewan’s Justice Minister announced an appeal of the court decision on December 17.

New Democrat MP Svend Robinson’s motion calling for a committee to study euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide is scheduled for another two hours of debate. The first hour of debate, in November, produced decisive opposition from the Liberals, Reform and the Tories.

Make sure your MP understands the issue and is prepared to vote against this motion. Encourage them to put their views on record by taking part in this debate.

Liberal Senator Anne Cools lashed out at judicial activism recently, implicating the Liberal Cabinet and the judiciary in a conspiracy that undermines the role of Parliament: “Bill C-16 is the product of a newly formed cooperation between an unbridled executive and an interventionist court.”

C-16 was introduced to accommodate a Supreme Court ruling that overturned long-standing law-enforcement practice regarding the need for warrants to pursue suspects. The ruling apparently threatens 2,757 cases in British Columbia alone.

Senator Cools says this Supreme Court ruling reflects a “quantum leap” in judicial activism.
It is not simply a matter of ruling legislation unconstitutional or reading something into present legislation: it is an “order” to Parliament – and order “under threat” – to introduce legislation where none has existed previously.

As such, the Supreme Court is violating the constitutional division of authority, argues Senator Cools, and therefore this ruling should not be recognized by Parliament.

This is the first time the issue of judicial activism has been directly confronted in Parliament, says Senator Cools, and is, therefore, an essential step in addressing this issue effectively.

Reform MP Maurice Vellacott is taking aim at the Court Challenges Program through a Motion demanding the end of funding for this group, which provides taxpayer dollars to primarily feminist and homosexual court actions against the government.

Funding deadline

The present funding commitment from the Liberal government ends on March 31. The money is handed out by the department of Canadian Heritage. Tell your MP to support Mr. Vellacott’s motion. Also call Heritage Minister Sheila Copps, to express your opposition to this funding.

If his motion is not drawn in time for debate before March 31, Mr. Vellacott wants to pursue other means to challenge any new commitment the Liberals make to fund this Program with taxpayer dollars.

(Tim Bloedow, one-time aide to former Reform MP Sharon Hayes, will contribute a regular column on politics for The Interim).