Socreds for Life, a newly formed pro-life lobby group within the Social Credit Party in British Columbia, was well received by delegates at the recent leadership convention at whistler. The group, consisting of 15 Party supporters and delegates and organized by Campaign Life B.C., was present at the convention handing out flyers and buttons, and speaking to delegates.
The flyer, entitled “A Reasonable Proposal,” highlighted four facts to show that the abortion issue is not just a federal matter but was also provincial:
- The provincial government funds all abortions even those for convenience.
- The provincial government funds agencies which do abortion referrals.
- The Ministry of Health has taken over the democratically-elected hospital board in Surrey, B.C., to force the hospital to provide abortions against the majority wishes of the community.
- Recently, the Attorney General of B.C. refused to allow a case to proceed in the B.C. courts. The case sought to define the word “health” in the present abortion law so as to reduce the numbers of abortions for convenience.
The flyer pointed out that with 13,000 abortions each year in B.C. things had gone too far and asked the delegates not to forget this vital issue.
Patricia Clarke, President of Socreds for Life, said she was delighted with the response from the delegates. She said, “Most people were warm and receptive to us and we were able to get our message across. On the second day, after people had a chance to read our flyer, we started to receive compliments, such as, ‘Glad you are here’, and ‘I’ve read it and I agree. Thank you.’ We think we made a good impression on the Party by showing that the issue can be dealt with publicly to the Party’s advantage and not to its disadvantage as was earlier thought to be the case.”
According to the group’s organizer, Paul Formby, the lobby effort prevented the candidates in the race from side-stepping the issue by saying it was a federal matter. He said, “our presence also gave moral support to pro-life delegates to press all the candidates on the issue. We created a very good image with a reasonable proposal that something could be done provincially.”
Although Bill Vander Zalm was the favourite of most pro-lifers at the convention, Socreds for Life did not endorse him or anyone else. Formby said “None of the front runners made pro-life commitments. However, if we were asked what candidate we thought was most pro-life, we would tell them.” He admitted that it was hard to tell whether their efforts had any impact on the outcome of the convention. He said that most pro-life people already knew where Vander Zalm stood on the issue anyway. As for the first runner-up Attorney General Brian Smith, Formby said there was concern in the pro-life movement that he might win. He said, “Generally the movement was angry with him for blocking court efforts in the Carruthers-Whelton case to tighten up the abortion law…Nevertheless, our main purpose there was simply to present a good image along with the reasonableness of our cause and to ask the delegates not to forget our issue when they voted. We feel we were successful in carrying out our task and we are very happy with the delegates’ response.”
Next, Socreds for Life hope to meet with Premier Vander Zalm in order to see what can be done to remedy the abortion problem in B.C. Patricia Clarke said, “Now is our chance to make some real headway. We can only expect real change if we give our new leader strong grass-roots support in the Party.”
For more information write Socreds for Life C/o 5480 B Avenue, Delta, B.C., V4M 1V6.