|A number of socially conservative resolutions were passed by the 2,000 delegates at the Conservative Party policy convention in Winnipeg, Nov. 14-16.
More than 90 per cent of delegates voted for P-203, a resolution removing authority from the Canadian Human Rights Commission to regulate, investigate or adjudicate complaints related to Section 13(1), which governs hate complaints under the Canadian Human Rights Act and which jeopardizes freedom of speech, religion and the press.
Ezra Levant, a former Conservative Party activist and journalist who is a leading critic of human rights commissions, said the message is clear: “The party?s grass-tops activists … support freedom of speech and thought and now see the Canadian Human Rights Commission for what it is: a violator of rights, not a protector of them.”
Delegates also passed resolution P-207, which seeks additional charges for anyone who harms or kills an unborn baby while attacking a pregnant mother. It does not recognize the unborn child as a separate victim, but treats pregnancy as an aggravating factor in sentencing when violent criminals assault a pregnant woman.
John Hof, president of Campaign Life Coalition B.C., told LifeSiteNews.com that pro-life activists have to take this resolution for what it really is – one seeking to protect pregnant women and not unborn babies.
Following the vote on P-207, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson reiterated Prime-Minister Stephen Harper?s commitment not to re-open the abortion debate. “The prime minister has indicated on a number of occasions that he will not reopen the issue.” He did say, however, that the party was willing to change the Criminal Code to help protect pregnant women.
Cecilia Forsyth, western vice-president of REAL Women of Canada, said Conservative Party activists defeated resolution P-210, which would add a new clause to existing policy that would, on the one hand, call for “the respect for the freedom of religious organizations to maintain the traditional definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman,” but would also remove a clause stating: “that Parliament, through a free vote and not the courts, should determine the definition of marriage.” It would also remove a clause stating, “A Conservative government will support legislation defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
Activists also upheld a policy recognizing that parents “are in the best position to determine the care needs of their children” and a resolution supporting income-splitting for the purpose of taxing families, thereby eliminating the so-called marriage penalty in taxing incomes.
Social conservative leaders say the constellation of resolutions passed and defeated show that pro-life and pro-family policies resonate among the grassroots of the Conservative Party. Yet, they understand that Stephen Harper can choose to ignore the directives from his party.
Campaign Life Coalition national president Jim Hughes told The Interim he hopes the leadership of the party hears the grassroots. “If the Conservative Party is the big tent it claims to be,” Hughes said, “it must listen to and act upon the concerns of its social conservative base.”