Brian Mulroney’s Tories swept back to power November 21 by a reduced majority of 169 seats in a federal election fought on the issue of free trade. Free trade easily dominated all other issues including abortion.
Anti-free trade sentiments were responsible for the Liberals returning in strength to the Maritimes and in Ontario, while boosting New Democrats numbers in Saskatchewan and British Columbia.
In the Maritimes, the Liberals increased from seven in 1984 to 20 in 1988; in Ontario they jumped from 14 in 1984 to 42 in 198. In Saskatchewan the NDP gained five seats over 1984, giving them ten MPs today. In British Columbia they jumped from 8 in 1984 to 19 in 1988.
New Democratic Party
The increase in NDP MPs from 30 to 43 is a serious setback for the pro-life movement. On July 28, 1988, the NDP voted against protection for the pre-born in a solid block and there is good reason to believe that they will repeat this performance in the future, only this time there will be 13 more of them.
What about the general trend in the country at large?
Nova Scotia may be used as an illustration of what happened in the Maritimes. Anti-protection MPs appear to have gone up from three to four; those for protection have declined from six to five; two MPs are of uncertain views. In other words, there is a slight weakening of pro-life strength in this province.
But there is a further change among pro-life supporters. There is also a shift from Conservative to Liberal MPs. Two pro-life PC MPs, Lawrence O’Neil (Cape Breton Highlands – Canso) and Mike Forrestall (Halifax) have been replaced by pro-life Liberals. But as the Liberals are in opposition, the change from two Conservative to two Liberal MPs reflects a weakening of pro-life influence in the Conservative Party. This, too, is a setback because the Conservatives are the governing party and determine the shape of legislation.
A similar shift is noticeable in the other Maritime Provinces. In PEI, a strong pro-life PC, Pat Binns (Cardigan), was replaced by Liberal pro-life supporter Lawrence MacAulay.
In New Brunswick, the Conservative Moncton MP, Dennis Cochrane, who voted for protection of life on July 28, has been replaced by Liberal George Rideout. In Newfoundland, pro-life PC Joe Price was defeated by Liberal Roger Simmons in Burin-St. George.
The same pattern holds for the other provinces where the Liberals gained many seats, Ontario. Here Liberals increased from 14 MPs in 1984 to 42 in 1988. After nominations closed, at least 20 new Liberal candidates identified themselves as willing to support legislation to protect the unborn. Three sitting Liberal MPs had done so earlier, Don Boudria (Glengarry), John Nunziata (York South –Weston) and Sergio Marchi (York West).
11 of the new Liberal candidates for office were indeed elected – Rex Crawford (Kent); Ralph Ferguson (Lambton-Middlesex); Jesse Flis (Parkdale-High Park); Jim Karygiannis (Scarborough-Agincourt); Tom Wappel (Scarborough West); Bob Kilger (Stormont-Dundas); Gilbert Parent (Welland-St. Catharines); Jerry Pickard (Essex-Kent); Jim Jordan (Leeds-Grenville); Derek Lee (Scarborough-Rouge River) and Albina Guernieri (Mississauga East).
But this gain of 11 new pro-life Liberals is offset by the defeat of ten PC MPs who voted for protection of life in July 1988:
Peter Peterson (PC) Hamilton West
Elliott Hardey (PC) Kent
Sid Fraleigh (PC) Lambton-Middlesex
Jim Jepson (PC) London East
Moe Mantha (PCP) Nipissing
Barry Turner (PC) Ottawa South
Aurele Gervais (PC) Timmins-Chapleau
Allan Pietz (PC) Welland-St. Catharines
John Oostrom (PC) Willowdale
Reg Stackhouse (PC) Scarborough West
In Manitoba, the situation has remained more or less the same as before the election, with the following two exceptions: Pro-life Liberal Reg Pagtakhan defeated NDP David Orlikow in Winnipeg North, and in St. Boniface pro-life Liberal Ron Duhamel defeated Leo Duguay, PC, who voted against protection for life last July.
Of Saskatchewan’s 14 seats, ten went to the NDP.
This sweep included the defeat of three strong pro-life Conservatives: Jack Scowen (MacKenzie), Bill Gottselig (Moose Jaw-Lake Centre) and John Gormley (The Battlefords-Meadow Lake), as well as that of Don Ravis (Saskatoon Humboldt) who voted for protection of the unborn in July 1988.
In Alberta the Progressive Conservatives held their own taking 25 out of 26 seats. Among the 24 PCs, 12 are prepared to seek full protection for the pre-born.
In British Columbia, finally, the NDP took 19 of the 32 seats, defeating two strong pro-life Conservatives, Cabinet Minister Gerry St. Germain (Mission-Coquitlam) and Ted Schellenberg (Nanaimo). One other PC who went down to defeat was Bob Briscoe (Kootenay West) who voted for protection in July 1988.
One province has been omitted. Not much can be said here because of lack of information. The PCs increased their seats from 50 to 62. In July 1988, eleven MPs voted for protection of life and all eleven were re-elected.
The results outside Quebec may be summarized as follows: In the Maritimes there was a net loss of one pro-life seat and a shift of five pro-life seats from Conservatives to Liberals.
In Ontario, there was a net loss of ten pro-life PCs and a gain of 11 pro-life Liberals.
In the Prairies there was a net loss of three pro0life seats (Saskatchewan) and a gain of two pro-life Liberals (Manitoba). In Alberta there appears to have bee a gain of one pro-life PC seat.
In British Columbia pro-life lost three MPs and gained none.
Total: A net loss of 20 PC pro-life MPs; a gain of 17 new Liberal pro-life MPs; and increase of 13 new NDPers who, as noted, vote against life as a rule.
Also to be included in this summary are the retired MPs. Of the 44 MPs who decided not to run again in this election, 18 had voted for protection of life on July 28, and 12 against. (Fourteen of the retiring MPs didn’t vote). This makes for a net loss of six.
In general, then, there appears to be fewer recognizable pro-life MPs and a reduction of 20 committed pro-life MPs among the Conservatives.
There are also some good developments from the pro-life point of view, of course among defeated MPs who have defended legalized killing of the unborn in the past are Ray Hnatyshyn, the PC Justice Minister, from Saskatoon; Lucie Pepin, Liberal (Outremont); Jennifer Cossit, PC (Leeds-Grenville), Marion Dewar, NDP, former Mayor of Ottawa, running in Hamilton Mountain; Michael Cassidy, NDP, in Ottawa Centre, and David Daubney, PC, in Ottawa West; NDP David Orlikow and Cyril Keeper in Winnipeg, PC Flora MacDonald in Kingston, NDP Lyn McDonald, (Broadview-Greenwood), PC Claudy Mailly, (Gatineau-La Lievre).
Prince Edward Island
Cardigan: Lawrence MacAulay (Lib)
Egmont: Joe McGuire (Lib)
Hillsborough: George Proud (Lib)
Cape Breton Highlands-Canso: Francis G. Leblanc (Lib)
Cape-Breton-The Sydneys: Russell MacLellan (Lib)
Dartmouth: Ron MacDonald (Lib)
Halifax West: Howard E. Crosby (PC)
South Shore: Peter L. McCreath (PC)
Fundy-Royal: Bob Corbett (PC)
Miramichi: Maurice A. Dionne (Lib)
Abitibi: Guy St-Julien (PC)
Beauce: Gilles Bernier (PC)
Chicoutimi: Andre Harvey (PC)
Drummond: Jean-Guy Guibault (PC)
Gatineau-La Lievre: Mark Assad (Lib)
Hull-Aylmer: Gilles Rocheleau (Lib)
Kamouraska-Riviere-du-Loup: Andre Plourde (PC)
Montreal Duvernay: Vincent Della Noce (PC)
Montreal-Lachine –Lac-St. Louis: Bob Layton (PC)
Montreal-Laval: Guy Richard (PC)
Montreal-Outremont: J. Pierre Hogue (PC)
Montreal-Verdun-St. Paul: Gilbert Chartrand (PC)
Pontiac-Gatineau-Labelle: Barry Moore (PC)
Quebec-Est: Marcel R. Tremblay (PC)
Robeval: Benoit Bouchard (PC)
Temiscamingue: Gabriel Desjardins (PC)
Bruce Grey: Gus Mitges (PC)
Don Valley East: Alan Redway (PC)
Erie: Girve Fretz (PC)
Essex-Kent: Jerry Pickard (Lib)
Glengarry-Prescott-Russell: Don Boudria (Lib)
Huron-Bruce: Murray Cardiff (PC)
Kent: Rex Crawford (Lib)
Kitchener: John Reimer (PC)
Lambton-Middlesex: Ralph Ferguson (Lib)
Leeds Grenville: Jim Jordan (Lib)
Markham: Bill Attewell (PC)
Mississauga East: Albina Guernieri (Lib)
Mississauga South: Don Blenkarn (PC)
Niagara Falls: Rob Nicholson (PC)
Parkdale-High Park: Jesse Flis (Lib)
Scarborough-Agincourt: Jim Karygiannis (Lib)
Scarborough-Rouge River: Derek Lee (Lib)
Scarborough West: Tom Wappel (Lib)
Stormont-Dundas: Bob Kilger (Lib)
Timiskaming: John A. MacDougall (PC)
Victoria-Haliburton: Bill Scott (PC)
Welland-St. Catharines Thorold: Gilbert Parent (Lib)
Wellington-Grey-Dufferin Simcoe: Perrin Beatty (PC)
York North: Michael O’Brien (PC)
York South-Weston: John Nunziata (Lib)
Dauphin-Swan River: Brian White (PC)
Portage-Interlake: Felix Holtmann (PC)
St. Boniface: Ronald J. Duhamel (Lib)
Winnipeg North: Reg Pagtakhan (Lib)
Souris-Moose Mountain: Len Gustafson (PC)
Swift Current-Maple Creek-Assinboia: Geoff Wilson (PC)
Athabasca: Jack Shields (PC)
Calgary Northeast: Alex Kindy (PC)
Crowfoot: Arnold Malone (PC)
Edmonton North: Steve Paproski (PC)
Edmonton Southeast: David Kilgour (PC)
Edmonton Southwest: Jim Edwards (PC)
Elk Island: Brian O’Kurley (PC)
Lethbridge: Blaine Thacker (PC)
Medicine Hat: Bob Porter (PC)
Peace River: Albert Cooper (PC)
St. Albert: Walter Van De Walle (PC)
Wetaskiwin: Wille Littlechild (PC)
Fraser Valley East: Ross Belsher (PC)
Fraser Valley West: Robert L. Wenman (PC)
Surrey-White Rock: Benno W. Friesen (PC)