Perhaps, the New Democratic Party should change its name to the No Democracy Party. The Interim has obtained the official party response to questionnaires sent by Campaign Life Coalition and Life Ethics Educational Association to all federal candidates and the NDP are requiring strict adherence to their pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia and pro same-sex “marriage” positions.

Windsor-area NDP MP Brian Masse apparently forwarded his CLC and LEEA questionaires to the party’s head office and his response was a reply written by Franz Hartmann, director of Caucus Campaigns, the party’s outreach branch to civil societies and NGOs.

Hartman said that “It is the policy of the Federal NDP for all candidate election questionnaires to be answered centrally.” Hartman said it would be helpful for CLC and LEEA to “note that the Federal NDP is guided by the following principles,” which included: “A commitment to women’s right to self-determination in every sense, with respect to reproductive choices, including her right to decide whether or not to bear children,” “A commitment for a suffering person to request and receive – in certain situations – physician-assisted death because the state has a duty to prevent undue hardship for its citizens” and “A commitment to same-sex marriage.”

Hartman concluded his letter: “All NDP candidates agree to adhere to these principles when they agree to accept the nomination from their riding association.”

In communication with a CLC researcher, Hartmann clarified the party’s position on adherence to NDP platform. He said that candidates, by signing on to run for the party’s nomination, agree to everything in the party’s 200-page book of policies and principles.

Campaign Life Coalition national president Jim Hughes told The Interim that it is unfortunate the NDP is taking a doctrinaire approach to life and family issues considering the diversity of opinion within the party on social issues. He wondered whether the party demands of its potential voters 100 per cent support in the same way it requires its candidates to support the NDP platform 100 per cent. “They won’t get many votes if they do,” he mused.

Indeed, many NDP voters are economic socialists and social conservatives, especially in the Prairies. The 1997 Election Voters Survey showed that while NDP voters were generally to the left of the other parties (excluding the Bloc Quebecois) on all issues, the differences were less pronounced on social issues. Some polling data indicates that as many as one-third of NDP supporters are pro-life.