On Oct. 3 the Ontario Coalition of Abortion Providers and the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada held a press conference to endorse the Liberals and NDP claiming that Tim Hudak threatened access to abortion in Ontario because he indicated he supported defunding abortion back in the 1990s. Campaign Life Coalition responded by sending a telephone voice blast to more than 60,000 Ontario families on their data base urging them to vote for the identified pro-life candidate in their riding and if there was not one, to vote for the Progressive Conservatives.
Initially, some supporters were concerned about the apparent partisan change in direction of CLC and while a handful or irate supporters said they wanted off the pro-life group’s mailing and telephone list, eventually those backing the move out-numbered those who were opposed.
CLC Ontario president Mary Ellen Douglas noted in the telephone message “Dalton McGuinty publicly and proudly supports a woman’s choice to have an abortionist kill her unborn child. So does the NDP,” before adding that senior Liberals admitted to wanting to reintroduce a radical sex ed program. The strategy, as outlined by CLC, was “try voting first for a known pro-life candidate” regardless of party but that if one did not exist in the riding, “vote for the Progressive Conservative candidate.”
CLC national president Jim Hughes told The Interim that many of those who were upset understood the strategy when it was explained to them because they missed or ignored the first part of the message: vote pro-life. That meant if there were candidates for the Family Coalition Party or a pro-life Liberal, that supporters should vote for them, but where there was no identified pro-life candidate, to stop the pro-abortion and anti-family Liberals and NDP, it was necessary to vote PC. “If pro-abortionists were afraid of the Tories,” Hughes explained, “it was good strategy that unless there was a pro-lifer running, to vote for the PCs.”
Hughes reported that many supporters “applauded us for taking a pro-active approach” but he said that CLC stayed true to its traditional message of first supporting pro-life candidates regardless of party. CLC identified several pro-life Liberals with Mario Sergio (York West) and Joe Dickson (Ajax-Pickering) winning re-election, but Lou Rinaldi (Northumberland-Quinte West) lost by 1.4 per cent to PC Rob Milligan, who did not respond to CLC’s questionnaire.