Kim Campbell seems set to romp to victory in a June convention but many are starting to ask questions about the federal Conservative Party’s great new hope.
Pro-life leaders, in particular, are trying to decide how dangerous the current Defence Minister will be if, as the polls indicate, she is given a mandate by convention delegates to take over from Brian Mulroney.
The question whether she is any worse than the alternatives. The facts show Campbell sides heavily with the feminist wing of the party, stating publicly “I was raised to be a feminist.” MP Barbara Greene, a strong Campbell supporter, told CBC Radio that the leadership candidate is a “social radical” and most of what Campbell has said and done seems to confirm this.
She describes herself as a “committed and passionate pro-choicer.” In 1988 she left the B.C. Social Credit Party over its pro-life stance.
As Justice Minister she attempted to steer Bill C-43 the government’s last attempt at abortion legislation, into law. Pro-life groups strongly criticized the Bill as pro-abortion legislation. In Parliament she herself described the Bill as “consistent with the pro-choice position.” She told the Globe and Mail, “as a pro-choice woman or child-bearing yeas, I’m very comfortable with the bill.”
However, in spite of her supposedly impeccable feminist credentials, she gets criticized at feminist groups in Canada and felt their anger also over Bill C-43. Many, including Judy Rebick of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, have said her association with Toru policies over their last two terms in office means she is no friend of feminists.
Although some feminists distance themselves from Campbell another group of women considers the criticism from established women’s groups to be a smokescreen.
Gwen Landolt, of REAL Women of Canada, considers it a “ploy to make Ms. Campbell look more moderate then she is.”
“I am appalled at the Prime Minister and his Manipulations,” says Landolt. “This is supposed to be a democratic country but we have a political cult running Canada.”
Landolt and REAL Women have been very public in their denunciation of Campbell. Landolt had had an active media presence accusing the Tories of pushing through their candidates and hiding from Canadians her qualities many might find objectionable.
“Mulroney wants the dynasty to continue,” she says. “They don’t want her exposed. Everything she’s done has been a disaster.” Landolt and REAL Women which claims a membership of 50 000 across Canada, argue that it is time Canadians see her real colours.
Many pro-lifers, including Landolt, predict a Clinton-like flurry if abortion legislation under Campbell, spearheaded by the approval of the abortion pill RU 486 for testing in Canada.
Stephen Jaslevac, a director of with Campaign Life Coalition, predicts Campbell will transform the federal Tories “into another angry, intolerant, feminist party such as the NDP are and the Liberals are in danger of becoming.”
He says Tories, through fear of losing their seats in parliament, will be “supporting a very pro-abortion, anti-family feminist.”
“All members of the PC Party have a serious obligation to ask a lot of work questions about where Kim Campbell would lead our already hurting Canadian society,” Jalsevac says.
All indications are Campbell will be the next Prime Minister of Canada but she will have some opposition in the leadership campaign. Jean Charest, Patrick Boyer, Garth Turner and Jim Edwards have announced they will run against Campbell and her machine.