On Oct. 19, Canadians chose to elect 184 Liberal MPs, 99 Conservative MPs, 44 NDP MPs, 10 Bloc Quebecois MPs, and a lone Green Party representative. The new Liberal government is led by arguably the most pro-abortion politician this country has ever seen, Justin Trudeau, the son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, who brought legal abortion to Canada in 1969. By Justin Trudeau’s diktat, all Liberal MPs must now adhere to the party’s new, strident pro-abortion orthodoxy, whereas two decades ago, nearly a quarter of the Liberal caucus was pro-life (to some degree).
We care less about the partisan makeup of Parliament than the number of pro-life MPs. The Trudeau government’s policies will promote abortion and presumably euthanasia and other immoral practices the Liberal Party insists is part of their progressive agenda (legalizing drugs and setting up brothels), and it will have friends and allies in the other parties. But parliamentarians are still free to vote their conscience, talk about the issues that are important to Canada, and advance a pro-life and pro-family agenda.
Unfortunately, due to retirements and losing nominations, we had only 58 pro-life incumbents seek re-election, We hoped, at a minimum, that they would be all re-elected and that retiring pro-lifers would be replaced by new MPs willing to protect the sanctity of human life. Alas, it didn’t work out that way. The Liberal wave helped defeat 23 pro-life MPs. Still, six new pro-lifers were elected, for a total of 41 confirmed, Campaign Life Coalition-green lit pro-life MPs, all in the Conservative Party of Canada. There are also a number of candidates who were yellow-lit, which means they are educable or pro-life and pro-family on some issues but not others. And despite the best efforts of CLC, some candidates were not rated. At the very least, it is fair to say that nearly half of the Conservative caucus is pro-life, if not more.
The final election results were not declared before some pundits in the media advised the Tories to shuck all semblance of social conservatism. Considering the sizable contingent within the caucus, this would be on its face unwise. No party can afford to ignore or, worse, dismiss half of its base.
Moral issues were barely mentioned in the campaign, aside from several cynical attempts by Justin Trudeau and NDP leader Tom Mulcair to attack Conservative leader Stephen Harper for not funding abortion overseas and permitting his caucus to include MPs opposed to abortion. Harper and the media largely ignored these attacks and it is therefore difficult to take away any lessons about social conservatism and the 2015 federal election.
The defeat of pro-life MPs is a setback for the pro-life movement and, more importantly, the more than 100,000 babies who die in the womb each year as a result of prenatal infanticide, tolerated in Canadian law and paid for by taxpayers. This injustice must stop. But barring a miracle, it won’t stop soon.
The Interim has always considered creating the political conditions for pro-life legislation to be a long-term project. We must elect a majority of MPs and have a prime minister who is willing to appoint pro-life senators. But even if pro-life legislation were to pass in both houses of Parliament, we will need a majority on the Supreme Court who will respect the duly considered law. Electing that majority is further away today than it was in the last Parliament.
We must resolve to work within all parties to select candidates and elect constituency association executives that can influence their party to enact policies and put forth the type of people who will defend human life from conception/implantation to natural death. This work begins today. For the Conservatives, it will include selecting a new party leader, and we hope that a credible, pro-life candidate stands in that contest to lead the party in the 2019 federal election.
For many of us, the aftermath of the Trudeau victory left us numb. But it is time to get over the disappointing results and get down to the difficult work of changing the political culture, one nomination at a time.