WINKLER, Manitoba (LifeSiteNews) — People’s Party of Canada (PPC) leader Maxime Bernier announced today that if elected as an MP in an upcoming June byelection in Manitoba, he will introduce a private member’s bill to try and ban late-term abortion.
“Our governments regulate almost everything in our lives, including such ridiculous things like plastic straws. But there is a complete legal void when it comes to killing unborn human beings,” said Bernier at a press conference today.
Max Bernier’s Abortion Policy Announcement https://t.co/V7GGFsi751
— PPC HQ – People’s Party of Canada (@peoplespca) May 17, 2023
“Today I am announcing that if elected MP for Portage-Lisgar, I will table at the first available opportunity the Protection of Preborn Children Act, a private member’s bill to amend Section 287 of the Criminal Code.”
Bernier noted that his bill would limit the legal availability of abortion to “24 weeks maximum, and outlaw late-term abortions” unless the mother’s “life or health are at risk, there has been rape or abuse, or if the baby has a lethal abnormality or no brain function.”
“You cannot argue that it’s ‘my body, my choice’ in such cases. There is another body, another sentient human being involved, almost fully developed. Freedom is one of my core values,” he said.
“But it doesn’t include supporting the freedom of a mother to kill her fully developed baby, before or after it is born.”
Bernier admitted that not “everyone” will be pleased with the bill as it does not go “far” enough, but argued a law must be first put in place before more severe restrictions on abortion can be considered.
“I am aware that not everybody will be satisfied with this bill. Many people would prefer stronger restrictions, such as those in most European countries. And I agree that we should debate them too,” he observed.
“But we need to start somewhere. And from a position that is so strong that our opponents won’t be able to reject it or attack it without looking like depraved individuals with no moral conscience,” he insisted.
The full text of Bernier’s Protection of Preborn Children Act is now listed online.
Last Friday, Bernier first announced he will run in the upcoming Manitoba by-election in the federal riding of Portage-Lisgar, promising to fight for traditional family values against a society “overtaken by evil,” including “transgender madness.”
In the 2021 federal election, the local PPC candidate for Portage-Lisgar, Solomon Wiebe, had the best results of any PPC candidate in the country, getting about 22% of the vote. However, he was up against the popular Candance Bergen, former interim leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.
Of note is that the Portage-Lisgar area is where Bernier was arrested after holding an outdoor rally in 2021, in defiance of COVID-related dictates.
Yesterday, LifeSiteNews got advanced confirmation from Bernier’s spokesman, Martin Masse, that Bernier would be making the announcement today.
At the press conference today, he was joined by Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson, a former PPC candidate and “prominent advocate for common-sense social conservatism.”
Bernier noted that the Protection of Preborn Children Act was written by both Thompson and another former PPC candidate, Paul Mitchell.
Thompson, at the press conference, said the bill is needed because the current Conservative Party of Canada has shunned pro-lifers to the corner.
“Canada continues to say nothing about it [abortion],” said Thompson.
She noted that she was rejected for running as a Conservative MP because she opposed gender surgery for minors.
“We have been distraught at our nation’s refusal to protect the unborn…there has not been one bill protecting children…Why do we disregard life so easily?” she said.
“I am so grateful and very, very proud to stand with Maxime Bernier, there is no one like him in this country.”
Late-term abortion is ‘abhorrent’
Unlike in the United States, abortion in Canada exists in a legal vacuum since being decriminalized over thirty years ago. This means. as noted by Bernier, there is, and never has been, a “legal right” to abortion in Canada.
The 1988 Morgentaler decision saw the Supreme Court of Canada throw out the last remaining abortion law on the basis that it was unconstitutional. Since then, there exists no federal law regulating abortion, and thus the practice is permitted through all nine months of pregnancy, however, the ability to introduce a law is possible.
According to Bernier, the Montreal newspaper La Presse, in a report from 2019, revealed that more than 20 Quebec women were sent every year to the “few clinics in the U.S. offering late-term abortions ‘without restrictions.’ The Quebec government covered all the costs,” he noted.
Said Bernier of this “legal void,” there is no legal obstacle in Canada to have “an abortion at any stage in the pregnancy—including in theory up to minutes before a child is born.”
“Yes, it’s perfectly legal to kill a fully developed unborn baby during the third trimester of a pregnancy, a baby who would be viable if born prematurely,” he noted.
“When you raise this issue, people will say that it may be technically legal, but that it never happens except in very rare circumstances when the child has fatal deformities or the life of the mother is threatened. That’s simply not true. Although statistics are hard to obtain because of their controversial nature, we know that such late-term abortions happen in Canada.”
Bernier noted that he finds this fact “abhorrent” and added that if more than 20 late-term abortions “with both the mother and child in good health” are practiced in Quebec alone every year, “there must be more than that in all of Canada.”
“I find this abhorrent. It’s the same as allowing infanticide. Whether there are few or many is irrelevant anyway. A murder is a murder and it should be outlawed.”
According to Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) website, abortion has killed over 4 million preborn babies in Canada since its legalization in 1969, which is roughly equivalent to the total population of the province of Alberta.
Bernier on life and family issues
While Bernier, who served as former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s industry minister and then foreign affairs minister, has historically been focused primarily on economic and immigration issues, in the last two years he has come out more strongly in favor of socially conservative policies.
Bernier himself chose not to get the COVID shots and criticized the fact that every government in the country went along with vaccine passports.
Bernier has noted before that he opposes late-term abortion, and last year blasted the late-term killing of unborn babies as “abhorrent” and akin to genocide.
However, Bernier has expressed that he is not completely against abortion in the early stages of pregnancy, but would allow his MPs to vote along their consciences with respect to life issues.
The PCC itself has no official party stance on abortion other than the newly announced Protection of Preborn Children Act.
The nation’s top pro-life and pro-family group, Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), has given Bernier a C-plus grade, noting he has a mixed voting record on such issues.
CLC notes that Bernier opposes euthanasia, but has in the past voted against pro-life bills during his tenure as a Conservative MP, including one bill which sought to study when a child in the womb becomes a human being, and another bill which sought to protect pregnant women from coercion to abort.
CLC does observe, however, that it seems Bernier “is drifting in the right direction” on life and freedom issues, but does seem to still support pro-LGBT measures such as gay “marriage.”
PPC welcomes a debate on abortion
During his press conference, Bernier said that reopening the abortion debate in Canada is not a “fringe or radical position” even though it is “portrayed as such by pro-abortion fanatics.”
He then took a shot at the Conservative Party of Canada under its leader Pierre Poilievre for not allowing his MPs to “debate” the issue.
“I dare you to answer this question, Mr. Poilievre: Do you believe that killing a healthy unborn child at seven months is morally acceptable and should remain legal? If not, why do you refuse to reopen this debate? Why do you support infanticide?”
Bernier then said that whatever one’s position on abortion, the most “important thing now is to break the taboo surrounding this issue. We need to force the cowardly establishment in Ottawa to debate it.”
“We must push them in a corner and force them to explain why they believe killing a healthy unborn child at seven months is morally acceptable and should remain legal. They won’t be able to because it is objectively abhorrent.”
He added that millions of Canadians believe “we have a moral obligation to reopen this debate” and said with a PPC MP in the House of Commons, this can be done.
While the CPC under its leader Poilievre has said it will not re-open the abortion debate, many MPs in the party are pro-life, and some such as MP Cathy Wagantall have introduced pro-life bills in the House of Commons, including the Violence Against Pregnant Women Act.
However, Poilievre’s silence on the issue has been a notable issue for pro-lifers, especially considering Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party have only continued to ramp up their support for the fatal practice.
Last Thursday, on the same day thousands of pro-life Canadians gathered in Ottawa for Canada’s 26th National March for Life, Trudeau’s Liberal caucus released a video fawning over the deadly practice of abortion.
The day prior, Trudeau pledged millions in additional funding for pro-abortion initiatives across the country.
These actions, coinciding with the largest annual pro-life event in the country, were blasted by CLC as Trudeau showing his “bitterness and animosity towards pro-life Canadians.”