Thaddeus Baklinski


Bob Rae: Canada needs more Liberal ideals, like unrestricted abortion

Thaddeus Baklinski

MONTEBELLO, Quebec, September 6, 2012, ( - During the floundering federal Liberal Party’s Summer Caucus held in Montebello this week, interim leader Bob Rae exhorted the 35 Members of Parliament and 40 Liberal senators present to maintain “Liberal ideals,” including support for unrestricted abortion.

The Liberals were trounced in last year’s federal election, which saw the Conservatives under Stephen Harper win a majority, the NDP sweep into Official Opposition status, and the Liberal Party suffer its most devastating loss in history.

At their Wednesday planning session discussing strategy for their return to Parliament on September 17, Rae said women’s rights should not be subject to a private member’s bill, referring to Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth’s motion (M312).

That measure would have Parliament form a special committee to consider scientific evidence about the beginning of human life. The Liberals see this as ploy to introduce a debate on abortion.

“We are clear on this question,” Rae said. “The rights of women to choose, to have control over their own bodies, is not a right which is going to be taken away by the Parliament of Canada, and it is not a right which should be subject to some private member’s bill which is going to affect the rights of women to have choice, to have genuine equality, and to have full and complete access to the medicare and the health care that they need.”

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Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) National Coordinator Mary Ellen Douglas said that Bob Rae has taken his staunchly pro-abortion NDP roots with him into the federal Liberal Party—and that he totally misses the point of Stephen Woodworth’s motion.

“The motion has nothing to do with women’s rights,” Douglas told “It has to do with the humanity of the child.

“Even basic science tells us that life begins at conception,” she said. She called section 223 of Canada’s Criminal Code—a 400-year-old provision inherited from British common law, which stipulates a child only becomes a “human being” once he or she has fully proceeded from the womb—“horribly outdated” and said the law “needs to reflect accurate scientific evidence.”

Douglas remarked that the federal Liberals are not as much constrained into lockstep uniformity on abortion as are the federal Conservatives, and hopes that when Woodworth’s motion comes to a vote, Liberals MPs will take a stand for life.

The vote is currently scheduled for Wednesday, September 26.

“Although the party is totally pro-abortion, individual Liberal MPs have a voice and the ability to speak out when a matter of justice comes up,” Douglas said.

A video recording of Bob Rae’s speech at the 2012 Liberal Summer Caucus is available here.