In the early stages of this election campaign, there was much discussion in pro-life circles over the way in which economic issues were going to overtake moral issues as the prime subject of political debate.
I think we are fooling ourselves if we believe that abortion will ever become the major issue on which an election is decided. This is not at all the same thing as declaring that abortion is a non-issue. In fact, a candidate’s views on abortion should be the absolute qualifying factor for the voter.
As far as I am concerned, candidates’ promises – and party platforms which specify how a particular economic or social problem will be solved – area about as long lasting as the hot air in a balloon. Jean Chrétien may promise jobs, Kim Campbell may promise to eliminate the deficit, and we all know only too well that, once elected, a promise merely becomes another piece of campaign hype.
The economy is an important issue. A billion dollar deficit strangles the ability of any government to provide employment incentives, social safety nets and just about any of the publicly-funded services we all rely on. You do not have to be an economist to figure this out. Any man or woman who manages personal or family finances knows that you can only spend as much as you take in, sooner or later the credit runs out and then you really are in a mess.
A messed up economy affects just about every issue on the pro-life and family agenda. Pregnant women whose financial support is shaky or non-existent will conclude abortion is the only way out. Women who have to work outside the home need daycare (or an alternative to having to work outside the home). Poverty puts a strain on inter-personal relationships, leading to increased child abuse, spouse abuse and family breakdown. People on tight budgets cannot purchase goods, or eat out, and this affects business and employment.
I do not have the solutions to all of this (and I do not think most political hopefuls do). But I do know what type of person is most likely to come up with the right solutions.
If your candidate is solidly pro-life, you know that he or she is starting off on the right foot. Pro-life MPs will not slash healthcare budgets and force women to travel long distances at their own expense for life-saving breast cancer treatment; they will save health-care funds – and babies’ lives – through defunding abortion. Pro-life MPs will save money in our foreign aid programmes by withdrawing funds from organizations which promote and pay for coercive abortion and sterilization plans in the third world. Pro-life MPs will remove funding from pro-abortion and anti-family special interest groups.
Probably these measures would be just a drop in the bucket of the deficit, but they set the tone to frame initiatives on government spending around the pro-life agenda. I am sure most pro-lifers would be able to come up with more examples for kick starting the economy, while paying sown the deficit, without doing so at the further expense of families and the most vulnerable members of our society.
Just in case readers think that I am a closet Liberal, attacking Kim Campbell’s major campaign platform, I also have problems with Jean Chrétien’s promise to create jobs. Government employment programmes are created with taxpayers’ dollars; this proposal is pegged at $6 billion. So, are the Liberals going to raise our taxes, or are they going to increase the deficit? The proposed jobs are the public-works variety: upgrading waterworks, roads and sewers. These projects offer no lasting job security; once the road is done, the job is gone. The proposal is a band-aid one, aimed at getting in the votes without looking at the underlying issues.
In the absence of a pro-life political party, running enough candidates to form a government if elected, pro-lifers have to cast a vote for the individual pro-life candidate. When not one political party has workable solutions to our economic mess; pro-life MPs offer us the best hope for integrity and justice in the parliamentary arena.