With this editorial, we conclude our series surveying the reasons why each of our nation’s national parties should adopt, wholeheartedly, a pro-life platform, and why they should all defend the unborn from the menace of abortion. Having made cases for the Liberals and the New Democrats (and even, in a separate editorial last month, the Greens and the Bloc), we come finally to the Conservative Party of Canada.
In this case, the reasons are obvious to the point of being tautological. The Conservative Party’s raison d’être is to conserve—to hold fast to the laws, mores, and traditions which have endured in the past so they might remain for the benefit of those yet unborn. But, of course, to benefit from the riches of tradition, citizens first need to be born. Thus, besides being a truly radical affront to the social norms of civilized society, abortion is also, by definition, a practice that deprives the conservatives of the constituency about which they should be most concerned: the citizens of the future.
Right-of-centre political movements and organizations can admit a wide range of opinions—differing on policies related to the size of government and aspects of its purview—but about something so fundamental as the right to life and time-honoured social norms, there should be, on the right, an absolute, unshakable consensus. Indeed, given the unique challenge that abortion represents to traditional values and the explicit and existential threat it presents to the conservative constituency par excellence, the unborn, one would expect pro-life voices on the right to be loud, unapologetic, and unified. This, of course, is not the case.
But why not? Why is opposition to prenatal infanticide a position about which the Tories are so embarrassed, and which they tolerate with postures ranging from faint-hearted concurrence to outright opposition? Why are pro-lifers a constituency to be placated at preliminary points in political cycles and diminished, disowned, and disavowed after donations have been received, volunteer hours have been given, and endorsements have been pledged? Why is our national right-of-centre party so afraid to oppose the legal murder of infants in the womb?
To raise these questions is all but to answer them: the Tories have always deferred to defaults of Canadian culture, conforming themselves to the comme-il-faut conventions of the political class in particular and of our country’s cultural elites more generally. From the time when the mainstream discourse first shifted, in the 1960s, so that abortion became a “right” to be conceded, to the present contention of the zeitgeist that preposterously pretends that abortion is something to be celebrated, the Tories have left the moral high ground empty.
The compressed historical sketch that informs this indictment of the Tories necessarily omits the historical mention of the many ardent, indefatigable advocates for the unborn who have worked under the various banners of right-wing Canadian parties—as politicians, staffers, party members, and rank-and-file voters. It would, of course, be grossly unfair not to acknowledge the pro-life presence at all levels of our country’s conservative parties in their various incarnations, and to note, as well, that the Conservative Party of Canada is the last remaining political party in Parliament which the pro-life position is even viable given the platforms and leadership of the other parties.
Canadian pro-lifers can be grateful for some kind of shelter within a mainstream political party. But the presumptions that make our position seem like a political liability are certainly false: the true strength of the pro-life electorate in Canada has never been determined precisely because the media projects a false consensus on this issue. Thus, not only is the pro-life position more of an asset than many Tory members might be inclined to think, but pro-lifers, above all, should be constantly reminding the Conservatives of this fact.
Indeed, pro-life positions in this country have become all but untenable in mainstream political discussions only because their logic remains unarticulated. In fact, wide swathes of radicalism—from sex education curriculums to ever-expanding euthanasia policies—advance because the most obvious emotion that they elicit is never expressed in public: namely, moral outrage and disgust. Recent years have demonstrated just how powerful those emotions can be as purely political forces. The shrill, rebellious energy which was released in the wake of both the death of George Floyd and the putative discovery of “mass graves” in Canada and, shortly thereafter, the vocal vilification of those who chose not to receive Covid vaccines are just three examples of moral outrage and disgust being weaponized in the service of political agendas in the realms of social justice and public health respectively.
But, to these examples, there is no galvanizing conservative analog to cite. When, earlier this year, a full-term baby was aborted in a Montreal hospital, even the nurses who regularly participate in late-term abortions were scandalized. The “human interest” in a case where the humanity of the child was denied and destroyed proved too powerful even for the Canadian media to ignore completely. But no conservative leader took up the cause with the passion that it deserved. It seems as if anger and indignation only enter into our political discourse when they can serve as the tools of those who would dismantle our society and its norms. They are never publicly expressed as the motivating feelings of those who seek to save it.
It does not need to be this way. Traditional values can be defended, and outrageous and odious moral obscenities—of which abortion is only the most obvious—can be opposed. There is no need to be grateful for one national party’s mere toleration of our position when the moral instincts of the entire country are not as far gone as the media would have us believe. The truth, after all, is on our side, and this sheer fact is one around which our political parties and our public discourse should align.
The future is, by definition, pro-life. Even if only one of the major political parties is even tolerant of this position now, the truth of abortion’s horrible reality cannot be denied forever, and its disastrous moral, spiritual, economic, and demographic consequences cannot be endlessly ignored. Indeed, abortion has caused our country irreparable damage from which we are already suffering grievously. In the end, the truth will emerge, and its revelation will come sooner than anyone thinks. When it does, we will need courageous political leaders to face the challenges it presents, to guide through the crises it has precipitated, and to bring us into an era when abortion is, at last, truly a thing of the past.