Responding to demands to address what were perceived to be “women’s issues,” the Reform Party of Canada recently assembled a women’s work group to help formulate a position.

This initiative, however, fell short of universal acceptance.  Many party members raised their hands in alarm, not only due to the basic concept which was seen in several quarters as divisive, but because of resource material circulated before the meeting.

The stridently feminist musings of the pro-abortionists such as Barbara McDougall (Minister of Immigration), Rosemary Brown (once touted as an NDP leadership possibility), and Monique Begin (former cabinet Minister during the Trudeau reign) were distributed together with policy statements from the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, the women’s section of the left-wing National Farmers’ Union and the Federation du Quebec pour le Planning des Naissances.

Winnipeg lawyer Mary Lamont, a founding member of the Reform Party, was shocked by the material, stating, “I’ve been involved in the Reform Party from the start and I’ve always thought of it as a strong conservative party.”

However, National RPC chairman, Dianne Ablowczy was quoted a saying, “A lot of people think this is a real conservative party.  That’s not the case.  It’s a reform party, a populist party.  It wants to represent real views of real people, not to enlist one side or the other.  If anything, it wants to bring the sides together to seek a consensus.”

Party policy chief Steve Harper stated that “…this is an open party.  The membership sets the agenda.”

It is the “referendum” mind-set within the Reform Party which concerns pro-life observers, who remain unmoved by party leader Preston Manning’s protestations that while he acknowledges the sanctity of human life from conception onwards, he cannot force his morality on others.

For its part, Campaign Life Coalition rejects policy on moral and human rights issues being formed on popular opinion.