Jim Edwards vows pro-life action if elected

Pro-life support is rallying around Jim Edwards as he makes his bid for the leadership of the federal Tories.  The Interim caught up with Edwards during his frantic schedule as he travels the country trying to round up delegates and get his message out.

He says the economy is dominating the debate among the leadership candidates but there are other issues which none of them will be able to leave untouched.

“Undoubtedly family issues will emerge whether from questions or otherwise,” he says.  “It’s an unstated issue out there already.”

Edwards is perceived by many in the party to be in third place behind jean charest and Kim Campbell.  Many commentators have been giving them the edge in the debates where he has fared better than the frontrunners.

He isn’t shy about stating his pro-life views and he adds that as long as the issue hasn’t been resolved, parliamentarians will have to deal with it.  He is realistic about the difficulties of implementing pro-life legislation through the Canadian political system.

“One shouldn’t raise false hopes,” he says.  “the Prime Minister alone can’t achieve this (a pro-life law).  We would have to see the composition of the next parliament.”

He sees an important part of any legislation to consist in counselling women who are faced with the decision to have an abortion.  Polls show a large majority of Canadians support informed consent laws which would give women information about their unborn child and warn of the psychological and physical dangers of having an abortion.

“Worthy of consideration is the education of young people about fetal development,” he says.

Edwards was a supporter of Bill C-43, the government’s last attempt at abortion legislation.  He calls the bill “imperfect but somewhat of a beachhead.”  He was probably influenced by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, who spoke of the bill in much the same words, and urged support for the passage of C-43.  That legislation was defeated in the Senate and he doesn’t underestimate the challenge of implementing a new law.  He says he would allow a free vote, including cabinet ministers, for any new legislation.

Edwards faces and uphill battle to win over delegates and become leader but sees hope now that the lustre of the frontrunners seems to have faded.

“Campbell-mania I don’t think ever existed,” he says of Kim, who has been considered the leader of the pack to replace Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

He says the media’s perception of who is leading the race and the composition of the delegates selected could be two different matters.  He is traveling across the country to as many ridings as he can reach which he admits is exhausting but necessary to win delegates.  One of the distinguishing features of his campaign is his passionate defence of bilingualism.

He considers the economy as being related to family issues adding that a feeble economy and high taxes put pressures on the family unit.  He also plans to make what he calls “law and order issues” a priority in his campaign.