The time span after the P.C. Leadership Convention is too short for us to see in perspective how the outcome will affect the pro-life issue, and to evaluate our successes and disappointments. Because there was no truly committed pro-lifer as a candidate in the leadership race, it was decided that Tories for Life would have three main objectives in Ottawa: to ensure that the fate of the unborn life and the other lives at risk be seen as a key issue which will not go away; to recruit more members for Tories for Life; to work to defeat the most pro-abortion persons.
We distributed thousands of ‘collector’s cards’ of Tory M.P.’s who have spoken out for the unborn. One side of the card has the Member’s (or Senator’s) photograph, the reverse has a quotation from Hansard. We hope the cumulative message will have its effect. (Photographs of other pro-life M.P.’s arrived either late, or not at all. We hope to include these in a second series.)
With the exception of a few people to whom the word “life” is anathema, the cards were much admired and were a great success. We began distribution early on Thursday morning and just after 1 p.m. we were being interviewed ‘live’ on radio about Tories for Life, sandwiched between Walter Baker and Flora Macdonald. We also distributed handbills, in both French and English, stating our aims and objectives, and containing a form requesting further information.
We worked quietly to direct votes towards the candidates with the most favorable stance on pro-life issues.
How well we succeeded only time will tell. The locale of the convention with its expansive area, its many entrances, the very tight security, which excluded all but those registered from inside the barricades (the observer fee was $250) made our task difficult. However, in the cause of the unborn, difficulties are only there to be overcome, as our contingents from S.W. Ontario, Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston, Alberta and Saskatchewan showed. One liberal M.P., there incognito said, “My word, you Tories for Life are well organized, you are everywhere.” The latter, however, was an illusion. We could have used dozens more helpers. We did, however, meet other members of Tories for Life, not working with the team, who carried the fight into the Policy sessions and to the candidates. There was no doubt that abortion was a major concern in the debates.
What of the new leader? Many pro-lifers were disappointed that Crosbie did not win. They felt, after hearing all the candidates that he was the best man in that he was committed to vote to tighten the law, to forbid abortion except where the life of the mother is at stake. We hear that on Sunday on radio Mulroney said that he was pro-life, (but we do not know how he will act). We also know that Clark stated in the Policy Session that he saw no reason to change the present law. However, he added, he was concerned that abortion was not equally available to all women in Canada. Obviously, 67,000 abortions per year are not enough.
One very encouraging note was struck by an older P.C. delegate who asked us if we ever asked for financial help. We replied that only once have we done so. His answer was “Write to me: I’d love to give a donation.” That remark made up for many snubs from pro-abortionists.