Members of Liberals for Life, with the assistance of Campaign Life, took an active part in the recent Liberal Leadership Convention in Ottawa.
On the first day, Friday (June 15) they distributed a flyer, which pointed out that under the present Canadian abortion law, over 1,000,000 unborn babies have been destroyed. It also pointed out that a pro-abortion stand would not win the so-called “women’s vote.” This statement is based on the fact that women vote according to their social and economic background, not according to their sex.
Saturday, prior to the voting of the leadership candidate, another flyer was distributed, outlining each candidate’s position on abortion. Although none of the leadership candidates was pro-life, it was important to ensure that the most pro-abortion of all, Donald Johnston (who is in support of abortion-on-demand) did not win the nomination. Because of his radical position, it was decided that Donald Johnston should be targeted. It was an enormous success. This was the first time that targeting has been used at a leadership convention.
The flyer entitled – Who Shall Lead? – listed Mr. Johnston as being in favour of abortion-on-demand, and noted that all the other candidates, Turner, Cretien, etc., support the existing law.
Thousands of these flyers were distributed throughout the convention hall. It caused a tremendous furor among the Johnston supporters, who accused Liberals for Life of working for another candidate.
Although few people believed that he had the support to win, there is no doubt that Johnston lost many votes by this publicity. Convention observers estimated that Johnston lost a minimum of 100 delegate votes as a result of the flyer.
On the second ballot, John Turner won the leadership, with 1,862 votes. Chretien received only 1,368 votes. Johnston’s support had fallen to 192 votes.
Liberals for Life at the convention observed that younger Liberals were tremendously supportive o f the pro-life cause, as were the over-45-year-olds. When the flyers were distributed, these two groups were supportive and offered congratulations. However, the middle groups (aged 30-45) reacted negatively and could not be dislodged from their pro-abortion attitude.
Significantly, the “women’s share” of the vote was the largest it has ever been at a Liberal Party convention. Over 40 percent of the delegates were women. An effort was made to mould these members into effective voting bloc but it failed.
The women voted like other delegates, by choosing between the man they liked and the man they thought was the winner.
The election of the party executive, including that of a pro-abortionist Iona Campagnola as Liberal Party president, drew little interest.
The women were more concerned about economic policy, long-time loyalties and beating the Progressive Conservative, than about feminist “women’s issues.”