MP Mark Warawa’s motion to condemn sex-selection abortion was declared non-votable March 21 in the ongoing joint effort by Canada’s Conservative government and opposition parties to keep the abortion debate out of Parliament.

The question was brought up unexpectedly at the Sub-Committee on Private Members’ Business on the day the government released its budget for 2013, meaning parliamentary reporters are “locked up” and unavailable to report on the issue.

The sub-committee vote, believed to be at the instigation of the Prime Minister’s Office, was unanimous.

At the sub-committee, which reports to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, members argued that this Parliament had already taken up the issue, claiming that M-408 and M-312 were both on abortion, and thus cannot be taken up again under parliamentary rules. They also argued that the motion was a matter of provincial jurisdiction because it concerned an issue of health.

The chair of the subcommittee is Dave MacKenzie (CPC, Oxford) and the other members are Scott Armstrong (CPC, Cumberland – Colchester – Musquodoboit Valley), Stéphane Dion (Lib, Saint-Laurent – Cartierville), and Philip Toone (NDP, Gaspésie – Îles-de-la-Madeleine).

Warawa can appeal the decision to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. If needed, he can then appeal to the Speaker of the House with the support of five other members representing “the majority of the parties in the House.” If this appeal is deemed to be in order, the Speaker calls a vote of the MPs by secret ballot.

Motion 408 states: “That the House condemn discrimination against females occurring through sex-selective pregnancy termination.”

Campaign Life Coalition youth director Alissa Golob told The Interim that pro-lifers will continue to press parliamentarians on the matter saying “even if the committee doesn’t want to deal with the issue, Canadians deserve the chance to debate the matter.”

 Parts of this article originally appeared March 21 at