Among a list of 145 supposed Conservative broken promises, the Liberal Party charges the Harper government with breaking its promise not to raise the abortion issue:
144. A Conservative Government will not initiate or support any legislation to regulate abortion.
Government Action: Broken. The Conservative government further isolated Canada from the rest of the developed world and breaking with 25 years of Canadian tradition through its refusal to include the full range of family planning options in its maternal and infant health initiative.
I am not defending Stephen Harper’s position on abortion which I find unnecessarily cowardly. He has always stated that he has no intention of bringing up the abortion issue. Again, just last night Harper told the CBC’s Peter Mansbridge when asked “would you re-open the abortion issue?”:
No, no. Look, Peter, I have spent my political career trying to stay out of that issue. It’s one on which people, including in my own party, have passionate views. They’re all over the map. And you know, what I say to people, as you know, many people I know are pro-life. What I say to people, if you want to diminish the number of abortions, you’ve got to change hearts and not laws. And I’m not interested in having a debate over abortion law.
A lot of pro-lifers have contacted me today distraught at Harper’s position, but it is the same position he has taken for nearly a decade. As he states very, very clearly: “I have spent my political career trying to stay out of that issue.”
The Liberals say the Harper Conservatives promised not to “initiate or support any legislation that regulates abortion” but most voters would understand that to mean only Canadian criminal law and not how Canadian foreign aid dollars are spent. The Liberals are stretching to score points with radical feminists in the base of their party and to insinuate that the Conservatives have a hidden agenda. It isn’t going to work.
Campaign Life Coalition has expressed its disappointment at Harper’s remarks and urged all elected officials, regardless of party, to not be afraid to debate the issue.