Noted pro-life and pro-abortion incumbents defeated

On June 3, the Tory government in Ontario won re-election, capturing 59 of 103 seats. For pro-lifers, the results were at best a mixed bag.

As The Interim reported in the months leading up to the election, the three major parties and each of their leaders were essentially pro-abortion. On family issues, the Tories had a generally disappointing record and the exceptions to that record certainly did not inspire great enthusiasm. But it seems that the media and many voters were unconcerned about moral issues.

The campaign was run largely on just three issues: education, health care, and taxes. Indeed these are important, but when compared to life-and-death issues like abortion and euthanasia, and the future of the family, they do not deserve a monopoly on political debate.

The one glitch that threatened the parties’ morality-free campaign was the Supreme Court decision in the M vs. H case, which gave same-sex partners the right to sue for alimony. This could have provided an opportunity to address moral issues, but after the three leaders each gave their support to the court’s decision, the question seemed to disappear.

In the end, the Tories won a majority of seats with a mere plurality of votes (45 per cent) while the Liberals won 34 seats and the NDP won 9. Furthermore, Premier Mike Harris may continue avoiding life and family issues by claiming he did not run on them and thus he has no mandate to address them.

Still, there were several pro-life victories. The PC Family Values Caucus (FVC) will see many of its members return. They have fought to make conscience legislation and parental authority in health care into issues which must be addressed by the legislature.

In London West, Bob Wood narrowly won re-election. He has been stellar in reading pro-life, pro-family petitions in the legislature, and has fought for local input on casinos. Likewise, in Kitchener Center, Wayne Wettlauffer won re-election after a tough nomination and election fight.

Also returned to Queen’s Park were Frank Klees (Oak Ridges), who has fought to have greater parental involvement in the medical affairs of their minor-aged children, and John O’Toole (Durham), in addition to other, more behind-the-scenes FVC members.

Still, some FVC members lost. Three lost because of the redrawing of the electoral map, which saw the number of ridings cut from 130 to 103. Frank Sheehan lost to pro-abortion NDPer Peter Kormos in Niagara Centre. In Chatham-Kent-Essex, Jack Carroll was defeated by Pat Hoy, a strong pro-life Liberal incumbent. In Scarborough-Agincourt, FVC chairman Jim Brown, perhaps the most active pro-life MPP, lost to pro-abortion Liberal finance critic Gerry Phillips.

The PC Party was unsupportive of Brown, who had earlier lost the Tory nomination in his home riding of Scarborough Southwest to MPP Dan Newman. His dedication will be sorely missed by pro-life activists who could always count on him in pro-life, pro-family legislative battles. Also, David Boushy lost in Sarnia-Lambton.

Although the Liberal Party as a whole has moved sharply to the left on moral issues in recent years, several pro-life Liberals also won re-election. Pro-life Liberal incumbent Tony Ruprecht edged out pro-abortion NDP incumbent Tony Silipo in the central Toronto riding of Davenport. Pro-life MPP John Cleary defeated one of the few pro-life cabinet ministers, agriculture minister Noble Villeneuve, in Stormont-Dundas. Also, solidly pro-life MPP Rick Bartolucci easily won re-election in Sudbury.

Few of the new MPPs seem pro-life or pro-family, at least according to the questionnaires they returned to Campaign Life Coalition. One exception to this was Tory candidate Frank Mazzilli, who won in the new riding of London-Fanshawe.

Basset, Boyd defeated

Five cabinet members will not be returning, either because of defeat or retirement. The disappointing attorney-general Charles Harnick and pro-abortion municipal affairs minister Al Leach both announced their retirement from politics before the election call. Along with the defeat of Noble Villeneuve and education minister David Johnson, pro-abortion citizenship minister Isabel Basset was defeated.

In London North Center, former NDP attorney-general Marion Boyd, who initiated the injunction against peaceful pro-life witnessing near abortuaries, was defeated by Tory intergovernmental affairs minister Dianne Cunningham.

There were two notable pro-life candidates who did not win. They were notable because they went against the grain and opposed their parties’ explicitly pro-abortion platforms.

Thane Christopher Heins ran under the Green Party banner in Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke and answered pro-life to six of the seven questions in the CLC survey. Heins said abortion is a form of genocide and a violation of the human rights of the child in the womb.

He told The Interim that abortion is inexcusable, and that despite what the Supreme Court says, “we must all answer to a higher court.” He said that abortion as a form of population control is obscene – “you wouldn’t start a war or kill someone to reduce the population,” he said – and that environmentalists who see population growth as a threat to the environment should “promote education, not murder.”

Also, Carleton-Gloucester NDP candidate Jamie Gallant was qualified in CLC’s Voters’ Guide as pro-life.

But despite the odd victory of pro-lifers in pro-abortion parties, pro-lifers are generally disappointed with the results. The pro-life MPPs are a minority in both their parties and the legislature. Furthermore, the FCP ran candidates in 37 of 103 ridings and won about 24,000 votes, a significant drop in support from the last two elections.

Ron Gray, leader of (federal) Christian Heritage Party, said in his post election communiqué, the FCP didn’t do well because of “the failure of the vast majority of Christians to unite behind a platform which addresses key concerns of all denominations of Bible believing Christians.”

Indeed, if Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Sikhs had cast their votes for candidates which represented their professed beliefs, the FCP (and other pro-life, pro-family candidates) would have swept the province.