Ontario Tories, October 1984
The Ontario Tory leadership race is under way. Candidate Dennis Timbrell declares that he accepts the federal law on abortion (Section 251 of the Criminal Code). However, he opposed abortion on demand and any further liberalization of the abortion law.
The Attorney General Roy McMurtry, appeals the November 1984 jury acquittal of Morgentaler, but only after tremendous pressure from pro-lifers.
On December 10, Morgentaler reopens his Toronto abortion “clinic.” Police start round-the-clock protection. Pro-life pickets begin, while waiting for the government to set bail conditions that would close down the abortuary. (Today, they are still picketing…).
The Conservative leadership convention, to be held on January 27, is given as an excuse for inaction on the part of the government to close the abortuary
Ontario Premier Frank Miller announces that he supports the existing law. “I don’t like, nor believe in abortion,” he says. But adds, “I have to have that there has to be a right of choice.”
Leadership candidate Larry Grossman refuses to give his personal position. Instead he states that politicians “must not impose their own personal morality on the public…” This statement, of course, is the standard reply of politicians who accept abortion.
On February 12, 3,000 pro-life supporters demonstrated in front of Toronto’s Harbord Street demanding that it be closed. 100 police are on hand.
The following day, Mr. Miller is reconfirmed as premier, he forms a new cabinet and declares he is opposed to abortion clinics. However, he thinks that hospitals should speed up their process for committing abortions.
Solicitor General, John Williams, a known pro-life supporter, while in charge of the police, fails to convince Attorney General Robert Welch to take action against the Morgentaler abortuary. Welch is known to be holding the Attorney General post only for a short time, until his retirement from office.
An election call in Ontario provides a new excuse for the provincial government not to act on the Morgentaler abortuary.
Premier Miller announces that “abortion should be available to women all across the province and hospitals should be encouraged to meet the goal.” Added the premier, “We’re lucky in Ontario, in that there are a fair number of hospitals to do them. That’s the key thing – you encourage them to do them.”
May 2, 1985
The Ontario Conservatives lose the election ending a 42-year-long Tory rule.
The Ontario Tory party holds a leadership convention again, this time to elect a successor to ex-premier Frank Miller.
Leadership candidates Alan Pope and Larry Grossman speaking on CBC’s open-line Radio Noon about Catholic hospitals, offer the opinion that hospitals should be forced to accept abortion facilities.
Pope (Cochrane-South) says, “I think it is clear that a condition of public funding must be that therapeutic abortions be made available.” Pop later apologizes for his remarks.
Larry Grossman (St. Andrew-St. Patrick, Toronto) who won the leadership one week later, said “there is no point forcing it (an abortion committee) on Catholic hospitals unless there is no alternative.” When confronted by angry listeners, he softened this by suggesting that compelling of hospitals could be avoided by better “organization of services.”
Opposition leader Larry Grossman supports the NP sponsored Bill 7, which adds “sexual orientation” to the provincial Human Rights Code. In supporting this legislation he repudiates the majority of Conservative MPs who spoke strongly, and voted, against the Bill
Brian Mulroney wins a landslide election victory. He favours “better and more equal access” for abortion.
The Prime Minister appoints Stephen Lewis, former Ontario NDP leader and out-spoken pro-abortionist, as Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations. Pro-abortion Walter McLean (Waterloo) is named Minister of State for Women’s Affairs.
The “Jury for Life” postcard blitz (following Morgentaler’s jury acquittal in Ontario the previous November) is an outstanding success. Over one million postcards are delivered to Prime Minister Mulroney’s office. There is no acknowledgement – formal or informal.
McLean, appoints pro-abortion Sylvia Gold to a seven-year term as the president of the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women. His ministry denies funding to REAL Women’s pro-life, pro-family group.
A parliamentary committee chairman Patrick Boyer (Etobicoke-Lakeshore), begins cross-country hearings. The committee solicits the views of individuals and interested organizations on changes in legislation to comply with Section 15 of the Charter, the “equal rights” section, which cam into effect that April.
The Equality Committee, which has seven members, five of whom are Conservatives, tables its unanimous report, Equality for All, in the House of Commons. The report acknowledges that abortion is “relevant” to the equality section of the Charter. However, it makes no recommendations of the subject, noting only that the committee had heard “deeply felt and clearly divided views.”
Among the 85 recommendations are: that the religious character of the Sunday law be removed; that common-law marriages be recognized as equal to legal ones; that “sexual orientation” be added to the Canadian Human Rights Code as a prohibited ground of discrimination; that alternatives be considered for the Christian holidays of Good Friday and Christmas.
Flora MacDonald (Kingston-The Islands), Minister of Immigration addresses an Inter-American Women’s group in New York. “The right to reproductive choice is under siege,” she says, “Fundamentalists depict women as morally immature being whose only proper role is a domestic one, subservient to male authority.”
The federal government passes a new no-fault divorce bill which makes divorce quicker, cheaper and easier. The waiting period for uncontested divorces is cut from three years to one, or granted immediately with evidence of adultery or physical cruelty.
John Crosbie Minister of Justice, agrees that “sexual orientation” should become “a prohibited ground of discrimination.” He proposes that homosexuals be allowed to join the RCMP, the armed forces and all other federal services.
External Affairs Minister Joe Clark defends his wife, Maureen McTeer, regarding her decision to become an honorary director of the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League. Her decision, he says, “was reached after much thought and consideration on her part, and I fully support her right to hold that opinion and to express it freely as an individual Canadian citizen.
Justice Minister John Crosbie introduces tough new amendments to the Criminal Code which will outlaw child pornography and curb “adult” porn. The proposed legislation dies when parliament prorogues in September.
Secretary of State David Crombie (Toronto-Rosedale), refuses REAL Women a federal grant. In 1986, the federal Tories gave between $11 and $12 million to feminist organizations, many of which support abortion and lesbianism. In a letter in response to an enquiry, Mr. Crosbie states, “I can assure you that no group received assistance in support of projects that advance their stance on the right-to-life issues.” (REAL Women’s application for funding was for pro-family work).
The Secretary of State’s office suddenly revokes approval for a grant made to the pro-family Alberta Federation of Women United for the Family, a retroactive contribution to help cover the costs of their 1986 conference.
Despite the efforts of Gus Mitges and other hard-core pro-life Tories, the motion to amend the Charter to guarantee the right to life of the unborn child, was defeated by a vote of 89 to 62. Of the pro-life votes, 56 were conservative, the remaining five were Liberal. The pro-abortion members of the Cabinet voted in force – but where were the Cabinet members who call themselves pro-life?