B.C. New Democrats under rookie leader Mike Harcourt won a solid majority government October 17, gaining three-quarters of the province’s ridings, while the governing Social Credit Party under Premier Rita Johnston plummeted from 41 to 7 seats.

Much agonizing over this election had gone on in the ranks of Christian voters.  The newly-formed Family Coalition Party (FCP) of B.C., had candidates in only eight ridings.  Because it was not perceived to have a chance of winning, most pro-lifers clung to the Socreds or shifted to the provincial Reform Party in ridings where this party had candidates.

Mike Harcourt himself drew the battle lines.  He openly and repeatedly stated that if elected he would open abortion clinics all across the province.  One would think that no pro-life Christian, no person really caring about children, women or families, could vote for the pro-abortion NDP’s.  Yet, as the record shows, the NDP swept a province tired of the ruling Socreds.

Liberal leader Gordon Wilson had no chance of winning until his effective performance in the televised debate in the week of October 9.  HE demanded to be included in the televised debate and accused the CBC of discrimination.  With the helpful backing of the media, his party came second with 17 seats, replacing the Social Credit as the official opposition.

Mr. Wilson refused to stray from his party’s stand that abortion should be allowed in the first two trimesters and outlawed except in life threatening situations in the third trimester.  This would not spare the lives of any children.

Rita Johnston took over the office left vacant when pro-life Premier Bill Vander Zalm resigned earlier this year over allegations of influence peddling.  Although Mrs. Johnston said she was “into families,” nevertheless she acknowledged that she supported a women’s ‘choice’ for abortion.

Her feeble position on the abortion issue caused pro-life voters to feel betrayed by a party they had always supported.

“Lots of good people in the Socred Party have worked very hard and would be very hurt to know that many voters will not support their candidates because of this issue,” stated Heather Stilwell, a B.C. resident and past president of Alliance for Life.

“We have been caught with no plan for this election [and] not enough pro-life candidates in the individual ridings to hold it all together; whatever happens is our own fault,” she admitted.  Mrs. Stilwell believes that there is a lack of political awareness on the part of the pro-life movement.

Meanwhile, the results for the Family Coalition Party (FCP) were very disappointing.  With many pro-lifers clinging to Social Credit, the small group of activists and their supporters were unable to make an impact.

What follows are the voting tallies for the eight FCP candidates:

Kathleen Toth (Oak Bay) – 166 votes (out of) 27,501

David Bentley (Nanaimo) – 143 votes / 21,104

Thomas Aussenegg (North Saanich & Islands) – 90 votes / 25,057

Dr. Gus Cunningham (Parksville Qualicum) – 143 votes 22.866

John Onderwater (surrey Cloverdale) – 250 votes / 22,054

Paul Formby (Delta North) – 137 votes / 20,631

John O’Flynn (Vancouver Kensington) – 201 votes / 17,934

Total: 1,305

Party leader Kathleen Toth told The Interim that the poor response was “due in part to the fact that FCP was not yet four months old when we went to the polls.

“We were able to organize only nine constituency association and nominate only eight candidates.  The other reason was, of course, the fact that most pro-life voters in B.C., did not vote for us; they seemed to harbour some misplaced allegiance to the Social Credit Party in spite of the fact that the party policy on abortion was crystal clear once Mr. Vander Zalm was gone.”

Mrs. Toth said she had hoped that many of the Life Chain supporters would have wanted to become members or vote for the party.  But it was not to be.

Nevertheless, she said, FCP will definitely carry on.  “We certainly intend to continue now that the hard work has been done. Because a referendum on voter-initiated referenda passed by 82 per cent, we can see FCP being a catalyst for spearheading the collection of signatures to stop Medicare funding of abortion.  This is only one project that would be an obvious one for FCP during the next four years.

She added: “The TV journalists have been fair and accurate in their reporting.  Because of the referendum question, they are anxious to keep in touch, so that will be an asset.