Media Release — For Immediate Release June 11, 2004
Most New Candidates Likely Anti-choice Too, Says Pro-Choice Group
VANCOUVER — At least 86% of all Conservative Party incumbents are publicly anti-choice on abortion, while only about 12% of Liberal Party incumbents are anti-choice, according to a pro-choice group in Vancouver.
"We checked the voting records of all MP's who voted in favour of last October's private member's motion M-83, which was an attempt to define abortions as not medically necessary," said Joyce Arthur, spokesperson for the Pro-Choice Action Network. The group also reviewed anti-abortion websites to determine which MP's attended anti-choice rallies or conferences, publicly spoke out in favour of anti-abortion measures, or gave anti-choice answers to past election questionnaires put out by the anti-abortion movement.
"It would be naïve to assume that most of the new candidates for the Conservative Party are also not anti-choice," noted Arthur. "This is the old Alliance Party in disguise, and it's still a harbour for right-wingers. Look at Russ Hiebert, the Conservative candidate for South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale. In that riding, pro-choice Conservative incumbent Val Meredith was ousted by an organized group of Christian fundamentalists, who helped Hiebert win the nomination."
Arthur said it was "despicable" for Conservative MP Ontario's Cheryl Gallant to publicly compare abortion to Iraqi terrorists beheading an American prisoner. "But the Canadian public needs to know that this is not an abnormal view in the anti-abortion movement, and probably not the Conservative Party either," said Arthur. "Gallant was just unlucky enough to have her comment picked up by the media."
The Network is urging voters to find out where their candidates stand on the issue of abortion. "If you care about preserving women's equality and their right to control their own lives, it would be very unwise to vote for the Conservative Party," said Arthur.
(The following is a listing by name of all known anti-choice incumbent Members of Parliament, both Conservative and Liberal.)