Any time I write an article or letter about political parties or politicians I am attacked by upset pro-lifers. I sometimes feel like the guy at parties who accidently punctures the decorative balloons.
When I give a speech which refers to the Liberals and their anti-life agenda, or to the Tories with their funding of the pro-abortionists and radical feminists, somebody always complains. Either they feel that I have been too positive and given them too much credibility or been too negative and not given them their due.
Several months ago I wrote about Bob Rae and his NDP government in Ontario. The first criticisms came from two clergymen who, it seems, support the socialist agenda. I discovered that pro-lifers in their parts of the country had never heard anything pro-life from either of them by word or by deed. Others who contacted me to complain that I was anti-NDP, strangely enough, are not on the mailing lists of their local pro-life groups and, at CLC, we have no record of any overt support for the unborn or for our efforts.
Since December, I have been reporting on the growing interest in the Reform Party and have pointed out that they don’t have a pro-life policy. Furthermore, Reform candidates must hold a referendum on moral issues such as abortion and capital punishment and, if elected, must vote according to the wishes of their constituents on these issues.
Over the years it has been possible for pro-lifers to vote for political candidates who profess to be pro-life, despite the lack of a pro-life policy within their parties. On the federal scene, when votes were taken in the House of Commons on abortion, many politicians voted in opposition to their parties or withstood party pressure to have them vote against pro-life motions.
The Reform Party MP does not have that option. Party Leader Preston Manning last week in Thunder Bay stated his opposition to abortion except to save the life of the mother. That is certainly one of the strongest statements in the last 20 years by a party leader in defense of the unborn. Only CHP leader Ed Vanwoudenberg has consistently spoken in opposition to abortion – and his party has a solid pro-life platform.
But even Preston Manning would have to vote pro-abortion if directed by referendum by his constituents to do so. I am puzzled why a man of obvious principle would agree to such political pragmatism.
Any referendum on abortion would be preceded by a virulent pro-abortion media campaign the likes of which we can only begin to imagine.
Take for example the recent media distortion of Life Chain. Reports from across the country – from Alberta and B.C. – seemed quite positive, despite a few obvious attempts to discredit the pro-lifers.
In Southern Ontario, over 20,000 people lined city streets holding signs proclaiming ABORTION KILLS CHILDREN. In rural or smaller communities, media coverage was fair in its reporting. But in Toronto, it was another story entirely.
Despite a press conference at the end of Life Chain; despite three separate press releases to the media over a two-week period; despite the presence of media spokespersons on the Life Chain routes, this is what occurred:
Globe and Mail –no coverage.
Global TV – no coverage as far as I know.
CBLT (CBC)-TV – interviews taped – did not appear – no coverage.
CITY-TV – fair and accurate coverage.
Broadcast News – fair and accurate radio coverage.
CFRB Radio – fair and accurate radio coverage.
Toronto Sun newspaper – fair and accurate coverage.
Toronto Star newspaper — columnist Rosie Di Manno interviewed two young women who were spokespersons for the event but preferred to print an interview with a 67-year-old man. She portrayed participants as mostly women past child-bearing age and children too young to understand the issue, claimed hundreds instead of thousands attended, and so on. The only news account was in early editions – it was deleted from later editions, although the Di Manno column stayed in all day.
CFTO (CTV) – reported that only hundreds and not thousands turned out.
So the media bias in favour of abortion on demand would result in fear tactics, lies and hate mongering which would prevent a fair referendum. Supporters of the Reform Party would merely have succeeded in electing a party which refused to make protection of the most vulnerable of Canadians – the unborn – part of their party policy.
I do not oppose the Reform Party but I certainly oppose this policy of governing by popular support regarding abortion. Most people in our society hold political parties in higher esteem than any church or fraternal organization. These parties represent the sacred cows of present day society. Too bad the Reform Party does not have the courage to take its name seriously.
Jim Hughes is the national president of Campaign Life Coalition.