OTTAWA, July 5, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – While speculation runs rampant over the reasons for the resignation of Bev Oda, who had been Heritage Minister, Minister for International Cooperation and head of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) has said that whatever the reasons, her resignation is good news for unborn children.
Mainstream media are pointing to scandals over lavish personal spending at taxpayers’ expense and deceptive maneuvering in funding decisions as head of CIDA, Canada’s overseas aid agency, as the catalysts for Oda’s departure.
The National Post summed up some of those aspects of Oda’s political career by noting that in 2006, she was forced to repay $2,200 to taxpayers for incurring $5,500 in limousine expenses at the Juno music awards in Halifax. Two years after that, she was accused of hiding a further $17,000 in limo expenses. In 2011 while attending a conference in London, England, she upgraded her hotel to the luxury Savoy, and hired a $1,000-a-day limo to take her back to hotel where the conference was being held.
However, Campaign Life Coalition said that Oda’s extreme pro-abortion views within the Conservative government are just as scandalous as her financial misconduct.
In 2010, Oda spoke against Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision that Canada would not pay for abortions in developing countries as part of its G8 maternal health initiative.
Initially Oda had herself announced that “Canada’s contribution to maternal and child health may involve various interventions, including family planning, which includes the use of contraceptive methods. The details remain to be determined; however, Canada’s contribution will not include funding of abortions.”
In September, 2010, however, Oda made a statement saying the Canadian government was open to funding abortion under its G8 maternal health plan, despite a previous vote in Parliament not to fund abortion as part of the Harper government’s $1.1 billion health initiative. The announcement was made in an interview with the Ottawa Citizen’s Elizabeth Payne. “As long as it is legal within the country and it’s a legal procedure,” Oda said. “If we were asked to help in that way, we would do that.”
In the same month, Oda made a statement that CIDA was considering re-funding International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), after the organization’s three year $18 million grant expired in December, 2009. IPPF began complaining in February that they were relying on “reserve” funds because the government had yet to respond to their application for renewal.
Oda told the Ottawa Citizen that the government supported IPPF and wanted to work with the world’s largest abortion provider, despite the Harper government’s promise that they would not be funding abortion overseas. “We have a proposal before us right now and are considering it,” she said.
Subsequently, Bev Oda’s press secretary, Justin Broekema, confirmed that IPPF would receive $6 million over three years towards work related to sex education and contraception in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Mali, Sudan, and Tanzania.
“She should have been asked to resign at that time,” said Jim Hughes, National President of Campaign Life Coalition. “Other ministers were removed for far less arrogance and disobedience. In addition to this, her scandalous misuse of taxpayers’ money shows very clearly that this Minister should have been removed years ago,” added Hughes.
“The Prime Minister claims to not have a hidden agenda on abortion but when it comes to pro-abortion ministers and their agendas he looks the other way, “ said Mary Ellen Douglas, National Organizer for CLC. “Oda has been notorious in her pro-abortion position.”
Campaign Life Coalition is asking supporters to write to the Prime Minister to urge him to appoint ministers who have a true concern for maternal and infant health both in the developing world and in Canada.
Today a spokesman for the Prime Minister’s office confirmed that former Toronto Police Chief and Member of Parliament for Vaughan, Julian Fantino, would replace Bev Oda as Minister of International Cooperation in what was described as a minor cabinet shuffle.
Campaign Life Coalition’s evaluation of Fantino on pro-life issues is still pending, because the politician has not answered CLC’s evaluation questionnaire despite several requests. However, CLC points out that it is notable that “as police commissioner he gleefully marched in the homosexual Pride parades.”
Contact information for Prime Minister Stephen Harper and all federal MPs is available on the CLC website here.