Dooms'DAY' in Canada: Abortion Rights Threatened by Alliance
Media Release — For Immediate Release November 20, 2000
from Pro-Choice West (A coalition of abortion rights groups across western Canada)
VANCOUVER: Stockwell Day is trying to hide the fact that his Alliance government would take steps to destroy abortion rights in this country, says Pro-Choice West, a coalition of pro-choice groups across western Canada.
"Day's recent refusal to explain his party's platform for citizen-initiated referenda shows he has a clear agenda to dismantle abortion rights in Canada," said Joyce Arthur, a Vancouver spokesperson for Pro-Choice West. "He's told the public that abortion is not an issue for him, but meanwhile, he's been giving a wink and a nudge to anti-abortionist groups." Here are some Alliance answers to a questionnaire by Campaign Life Coalition, June, 2000:
- "I would undertake measures that will allow Members of Parliament" to introduce anti-abortion legislation, and "would support any pro-life measures brought forward" by them.
- "I would continue to initiate broad public discussion of the protection of innocent human life."
- "I would like to see legal protection of all innocent human life in Canada."
- "I believe that all human beings possess an inalienable right to life. I do not support abortion or euthanasia, and I would personally favour measures to protect human life in Canadian law."
- "I believe that this obligation [of MP's to vote as per their constituency's wishes] cannot bind legislators to vote in favour of measures which would abrogate inalienable human rights, such as the rights to life, liberty, and property."
In the questionnaire, Day also stated he supports cutting taxpayer funding of abortion, and committed himself to supporting "conscience clauses" allowing health care workers to opt out of providing reproductive health services.
Melanie Anderson, a Calgary spokesperson for Pro-Choice West, says that Day has a proven record of trying to impose his personal religious values on the public. "Day spearheaded a failed initiative to defund abortion when he was a Cabinet minister in Alberta," said Anderson. "He also supported 'conscience clause' legislation to allow health care workers to refuse to provide reproductive health services." Anderson also noted that both Day and his wife Valorie continue to support the Red Deer and District Pro-Life Association in Alberta.
"Now that Day wants to be Prime Minister of Canada, he's keeping quiet about his right-wing views," said Anderson. "But based on his record and his strong anti-abortion beliefs, it would be naive to think he's going to shelve his moral views out of respect for Canada's pro-choice majority."
"Day claims he won't impose his views on the Canadian people, but in fact, he owes plenty of favours to right-wing anti-abortion groups, like Campaign Life Coalition, which helped elect him as Alliance leader," said Chris Melnick, a Winnipeg Pro-Choice West spokesperson.
On the issue of referendums, Melnick said, "Human rights should never be decided by majority vote, and legal abortion is a fundamental human right. Not only can referendums trample on human and minority rights, they are a cowardly way for a politician to avoid leadership on contentious issues."
Barb McWatters, a Regina Pro-Choice West spokesperson, said, "Besides a referendum, there's many actions that Day and his anti-abortion government could take to restrict abortion." She listed just a few of them:
- Eliminate national health care standards by removing the federal government's ability to monitor and enforce them, which would allow provinces to not only defund abortion, but privatize Medicare and create a two-tier health care system
- Appoint an anti-choice Health Minister, Justice Minister, and Solicitor General.
- Delist abortion as a medically necessary procedure, allowing provincial governments to opt out of funding abortion.
- Appoint anti-choice judges to the Supreme Court of Canada.
- Change the Criminal Code and the Constitution to give rights to fetuses.
- Invoke the Charter of Rights "notwithstanding" clause to override court decisions on abortion that "conflict with the intent of the government."
- Use the Prime Minister's office as a bully pulpit for anti-choice propaganda.
- Encourage anti-choice terrorism and harassment against abortion providers and their staff through inaction and silence.
"Day's Alliance government would be a disaster for women's right to choose abortion," said McWatters. "Day's so-called 'agenda of respect' is Orwellian double-speak. He just needs the votes of moderates to help him get elected. But once he's on top, he will impose his reactionary views on the public and destroy public health care and abortion rights in this country."
For background information on Day's record and what he could do as an anti-choice Prime Minister, please see: