Winnipeg-South Conservative outed as pro-life

The Canadian Press reported on Sept. 22 that Gordon Giesbrecht, the Conservative candidate in Winnipeg-South, posed an online video in 2009 comparing abortion to the Holocaust and 9/11. Giesbrecht, who was then president of Horizon College and Seminary in Saskatoon, said that the number of abortions committed globally “equals 9/11 every day” and that the annual abortion toll exceeds the number of victims of the Holocaust. He complained that few people, including church leaders, are willing to speak out against abortion. CP interviewed Giesbrecht’s campaign manager Olivia Baldwin-Valanis, who reiterated Conservative leader Stephen Harper’s vow not to re-open the abortion issue. The CP story also highlighted that Giesbrecht was given a “green light” by Campaign Life Coalition after he answered the group’s questionnaire as a candidate for the Tory nomination in May. Giesbrecht is running to replace Rod Bruinooge, the former chair of the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus, who is not seeking re-election.

NDP candidate ‘personally’ pro-life, Star aflutter

The Toronto Star reported that Scarborough-Rouge River NDP candidate K.M. Shanthikumar, a Christian pastor in the Tamil community, told a voter he opposed abortion and same-sex “marriage” and that if elected he would press the party leader Tom Mulcair on the issues. The Star’s source is a Liberal supporter who taped the telephone conversation with Shanthikumar and shared it with the paper. NDP senior campaign advisor Brad Lavigne told the paper that Shanthikumar signed a candidate declaration in support of the party’s pro-abortion and pro-SSM policies and that he would have to abide those policies in caucus: “Despite any personal views, he has accepted the position of the party on those policy measures.” Shanthikumar told the Star, “That is my personal life. My personal life is different than the party line, because when I stand by the party, I have to stand by the party.” In the recorded conversation he said, “What is not in the Bible, what the Bible is against, I am against.” A translation of the conversation, which was conducted in Tamil, also suggests that Shanthikumar would raise the issue in caucus: “If I win, it will be easier,” to bring up the topic. Lavigne said that while MPs are welcome to “discuss matters with the leader at any time,” the NDP “is unwavering in its commitment to a woman’s right to choose and to marriage equality.”

PEI might be forced to change abortion policy if Liberals win

Prince Edward Island is the only province that does not offer surgical abortion within its jurisdiction although it does pay for women who leave the island for abortions and it recently announced it streamlined the process to approve women obtaining out-of-province abortions. New Premier Wade MacLauchlan also said he would examine liberalizing chemical abortion rules in PEI. But the Summerside Journal-Pioneer reported that Liberal leader Justin Trudeau hinted in an interview with the Charlottetown Guardian that PEI might be required to offer surgical abortions in Island hospitals if he is elected prime minister on Oct. 19. “I recognize that Premier MacLauchlan has made positive steps in the right direction,” he told the paper, “but it’s important that every Canadian across this country has access to the full range of health services, including full reproductive services in every province in the country.” Trudeau did not answer the question of whether PEI would be financially penalized by Ottawa if it did not provide abortion services in provincially run hospitals on the Island, saying only “we’re a long way from consequences like that.”

Candidates dropped for social media history

The CBC reported that there was a “growing list of social media trip-ups” as opposition research and journalists unearthed past statements deemed offensive, indefensible, or incompatible with policy forced party headquarters to jettison candidates. The most famous might be Liberal Ala Buzreba in Calgary-Nose Hill for anti-semitic and allegedly homophobic comments made years earlier on Twitter. One candidate caught in controversy expressed pro-life sentiments. Blair Dale was dropped as the Conservative candidate in Bonavista-Burin-Trinity, after it was revealed that on Google+ and a dating website he mused about religion, drug use, abortion, and race issues. When blogger Robert Jago made the revelations public, Tory headquarters announced Dale was no longer a candidate. Dale said he could date a woman who had used marijuana and expressed exasperation with the discussion about the lack of lead roles for black actors. But Dale also said he thought evolution and creationism should be taught together in school so “students could hear both sides” and that abortion “depends on the case, not just for being irresponsible, but in cases of rape.” Party spokesman Stephen Lecce would not explain why the Conservatives dropped Dale as a candidate.