Campaign Life Coalition has finalized plans for a federal election, expected in early June.
The official election strategy has been formulated, and will centre on evaluating each candidate for his or her position on pro-life, pro-family issues. The results of a questionnaire will be made into an information kit which will be made available to voters throughout the country.
The questionnaire contains seven questions on candidates’ stands on abortion, euthanasia, new reproductive technology, and related issues. The kit will also include a survey showing how sitting Members of Parliament voted on life issues.
Sue Hierlihy, director of CLC’s social research office, suggested best way for pro-life voters to go is to support the strongest pro-life candidate regardless of party affiliation. “None of the mainstream parties is officially pro-life, so it’s best that voters seek out the most pro-life candidate,” Hierlihy said. “That might not be possible in some ridings.”
This election, Campaign Life Coalition will print and distribute window signs for pro-life families to display on their front doors or windows. The window signs, which proved popular in the last federal election, identify pro-life households and urge would-be politicians not to bother knocking if they do not support the right to life.
Campaign Life Coalition’s board of directors fine tuned election strategy at a February 18-19 meeting in Toronto.
Coalition national organizer Mary Ellen Douglas of Kingston said a Liberal return to power would not bode well for pro-life aspirations in light of their record on life issues.
She said a January meeting with Liberal MP Peter Milligan proved demoralizing. “He told us the Liberal party is not committed to bringing in any new legislation dealing with protection of the unborn,” Douglas told The Interim.
Douglas said the recent case of an Ottawa-area woman who shot her unborn son in the head with a pellet rifle and was cleared of all charges, has not made any impression on the Liberal party.
“The average person on the street knows that there is a tremendous vacuum regarding protection of unborn children, but that seems to be lost on the federal government,” she said.
Speculation in Ottawa is rampant that Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and the Liberals plan to capitalize on apparent disarray in the Reform and Progressive Conservative party ranks to win a second straight majority.
Despite some disunity within the Liberal Party, and fallout from broken promises over the GST, the Liberals remain high in opinion polls. Hints of an election intensified recently when speeches by the Prime Minister in Quebec and Ontario contained plenty of campaign-life rhetoric. Anticipating a summer or early fall election call, the Reform party recently put candidates and supporters on campaign footing.
The latest date for the Liberals to call an election is September, 1998, although an election is anticipated on June 2 or perhaps June 9.
Campaign Life Coalition and pro-life supporters across the country are especially disappointed in Prime Minister Chrétien’s performance, particularly around life issues. Despite some personal affability, the prime minister has shown an authoritative, intolerant side, especially in dealing with MPs who fail to toe the party life on all issues. He has also failed to show a strong sense of moral leadership, preferring instead to take his cue from opinion polls and persistent special interest groups.
“It’s hard to understand where his popularity is coming from,” Douglas told The Interim. Some note that Chrétien at one time encouraged pro-lifers to join the party and work for change from within.
Despite the invitation, the Prime Minister seems intent on securing link-minded candidates, going so far as to parachute them in to Liberal party nomination meetings.