The preoccupation of pro-life and pro-family people in federal politics these days is the Canadian Alliance leadership race, so much so that pro-life leaders have had to fend off allegations that they are shifting from their traditional non-partisan stance. For the longest time Canada’s pro-life movement has endorsed or rejected individual candidates, whatever their party affiliations, based on their track records and responses to questionnaires.
Campaign Life Coalition, representing the political wing of the movement, has stayed away from giving exclusive endorsements to political parties. This is necessary for at least two reasons: first of all, it makes possible a grass-roots coalition of people who share the same views on life issues although they may represent a wide diversity of positions on other issues; secondly, it increases their ability to communicate with and influence MPs across party lines.
That being said, it will probably always be true that one party will have more pro-life MPs than all the others. That is certainly the case today, with the Canadian Alliance Party having a noticeably larger number of vocal pro-life politicians than any of the other parties in the House of Commons. Pro-lifers didn’t plan it that way and they aren’t going to apologize for the current state of affairs. Rather, they would like to see the number of pro-life MPs increase in all the parties, including the CA.
The fact remains that at least two of the candidates for leadership of the CA have strong personal pro-life views and have a track record that, though imperfect, does demonstrate a willingness to publicly affirm and defend their views. One doesn’t have to wade through a mountain of confidential memos or sit up all night taping secret meetings to be able to figure out that pro-life Canadians, particularly those who have a broader interest in the CA, would like to see one of those two individuals as the leader of the party.
Because work in the CA leadership campaign doesn’t have to take place at the expense of support for other parties, even people who would vote for other parties in an election may find themselves working for one or another CA leadership candidate. I wasn’t active in the pro-life movement at the time, but I am sure that a similar dynamic was in evidence when Tom Wappel ran for the leadership of the Liberal Party. Let’s just hope that this time around more pro-lifers get involved, backing their preferred candidates so that both pro-life CA leadership candidates don’t suffer the same fate as did Mr. Wappel in his run for party leadership.
Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s denials aside, a Liberal leadership race may also become a reality in the near future. Wouldn’t it be something to have a pro-life candidate appear again for that race? Then we could all get involved in that campaign as well. What would Canada be like with at least two parties in Parliament being led by pro-lifers?
We probably won’t find out if we don’t get involved and stay committed to our pro-life beliefs.