Green Party candidate repudiates pro-life position
Mark Vercouteren, Green Party candidate in Chatham-Kent-Leamington, stated he supported abortion after it was reported he had previously indicated he was pro-life in Campaign Life Coalition questionnaires from previous elections, including the 2018 provincial election. He said he “doesn’t remember” signing the questionnaire. Vercouteren issued a statement, “you have my word I would never veer from the position of the Green Party of Canada supporting the right of any woman to a safe and legal abortion.”
Scheer attacked for ‘pro-life’ position at French-language debate
The first question in the TVA French-language debate saw Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh attack Conservative leader Andrew Scheer for being unclear in his abortion stance. Scheer said if elected his government would not reopen the abortion issue but dodged questions about his personal views about abortion and was unclear what his backbenchers might be allowed to do in terms of private members bills and free votes. Blanchet said Scheer’s stance was “ambiguous.” Trudeau said to the Conservative leader: “Answer me this: do you believe women have the right to choose.” Scheer replied that “Canadians can have confidence … I will not reopen it. Nothing will change on access.” Trudeau said that, “We are seeing that the three of us are aligned with the values of Quebecers and we have a fourth, a Conservative party, that is not aligned with either women’s rights or LGBTQ rights.”
Singh said, “It was not acceptable to have a man talk about the rights of women.”
Archdiocese of Toronto federal election debate
The Archdiocese of Toronto held a federal election debate from a Catholic perspective with representatives from each of the five major parties: Garnett Genius (Conservatives), Dan Turcotte (Green), Matthew Green (NDP), David Haskell (People’s Party), and Francesco Sorbara (Liberal). Former CBC host Don Newman moderated and Cardinal Thomas Collins opened the even with a reflection on public service. There were opening and closing statements and in between five policy areas debated. During the opening remarks, Genius said the Conservatives would end the attestation for the Summer Jobs program but no other candidate addressed life or family issues.
The third topic was human dignity, with Sister John Mary of the Sisters of Life asking in a video package, “How would your party tackle these issues (of abortion and euthanasia) from conception to natural death?” Green said his party’s position on those issues are clear, that the NDP supports abortion and euthanasia, but said that there should be a national palliative care strategy. Sorbara said he goes to church and “I personally support a woman’s right to choose,” and “that as far as I understand, no party will be reopening the abortion debate in Canada.” He stressed that the Liberals support social programs. Haskell said that only the People’s Party allows its members to speak freely about moral issues and that Conservatives have turned its back on pro-lifers. Turcotte affirmed his party’s support for abortion rights and said the Green Party’s universal pharmacare program would ensure access to birth control which, he implied, would decrease abortion.
But it was Conservative Party representative Genius that elicited cheers from the largely pro-life audience while at the same time sewing confusion. He began with a quip about how Pope Francis would not be allowed to run for the Liberals, a reference to Justin Trudeau’s 2014 diktat that candidates for the party could not be pro-life. He said Conservatives defend the conscience rights of people and repeatedly said that if elected an Andrew Scheer government would rescind the abortion attestation for the Summer Jobs program. He also said while the government would not reopen the issue, pro-life MPs would be able to “advocate” for the issue, while not clearly stating what the meant. Would Scheer allow backbenchers to bring forward legislation? Genius would not say.
Newman interjected at this point, saying “abortion is really, probably, I would say the biggest issue for most Catholics; you haven’t given much comfort to Catholic in the room. And I’m wondering why then any of them should be voting for you. Any of you.”
Green Party candidate dropped for pro-life views
The Green Party dropped Marthe Lepine as candidate in Glengarry-Prescott-Russell after it was reported she left pro-life comments on Catholic websites. Lepine explained, “My Catholic view is that abortion is a bad thing. I understand some people feel like they have no real choice … it should be avoided as much as possible.” Lepine told the CBC she was dropped as a candidate because of her views on abortion and called the move “flagrant discrimination because I’m Catholic.”
Conservatives dump pro-family candidate
The Conservative Party of Canada dropped Burnaby North-Seymour Tory candidate Heather Leung for making what were characterized as homophobic comments. Leung said her comments taken a 2011 video from when she was a school trustee election were “lost in translation.” Leung refused to apologize, however, for criticizing the LGBTQ+ agenda including saying that homosexuals “cannot reproduce” they must “recruit more people and more people into their camp,” which she argues is the reason for the aggressive promotion of homosexualism and transgenderism in schools. Because Leung was dropped after the cut-off date for changing the ballot, she was listed as a Conservative but a party spokesman said she would not sit with caucus if she won. Leung finished third with about 20 per cent of the vote.