Pro-lifers say the party aggressively promotes abortion, while claiming to be ‘family-friendly’

The Ontario NDP released its election agenda in late February and despite claims that the party is “family friendly,” it contained nary a word about abortion or gay rights.

The much-heralded, yet quite empty, “Six Commitments” party platform seeks to undo much of the Tory government’s spending cuts. It will repeal the PC’s education Bill 160 and bring back local control of school boards, increase education and health care spending, increase the rights of unions, bring in some worker-protection laws (including an increase in the minimum wage), and bring back previous rent controls.

In an interview with The Interim, Sheila White, a special adviser to party leader Howard Hampton, stayed on message, avoiding the “controversial” issues that pro-life and pro-family voters care about. White adamantly stressed that the priority of an NDP government would be to see that the six commitments outlined in their platform will be addressed when resources are available. When asked directly about abortion, White said, “We are a pro-choice party.” She noted that last fall, the NDP asked for unanimous consent to ask the federal government to spend more resources to protect abortionists, because “in November … a lot of doctors tend to get shot.”

White said an NDP government would not repeal the bubble zone measures, instituted by the party during Bob Rae’s time in office, which outlawed peaceful pro-life picketing near abortuaries. Nor would the NDP remove abortion as a taxpayer-funded service, which would save $25 million a year.

The NDP also supports “equality” for homosexuals, White said, noting that when the party was in power and the issue came up, all of its MPPs were expected to support same-sex rights. “Everybody but one supported it, and he isn’t around anymore,” White laughed.

She criticized the Liberals for their flip-flop on this issue and wondered why their leader Dalton McGuinty now supports comprehensive pro-gay legislation. She said he is “borrowing” policy from the NDP’s platform. “As my mother used to say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

Despite its record, the NDP maintains it is the party that represents families. Mary Ellen Douglas, president of Campaign Life Coalition Ontario, said the NDP “can hardly call themselves family friendly,” noting its “stridently pro-abortion policy against the most vulnerable member of the family” and its “promotion of the homosexual lifestyle to the detriment of the family.”

Douglas said that the NDP’s support for abortion belies its history of “fighting for the little guy” and its social gospel roots.