Liberals Take Their Cue From Population Control Extremists

At a recent 2-day meeting organized by the Canadian government it was difficult to tell who was running the show – the government or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) advocating population

The Department of National Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) organized a meeting of
government officials and NGOs on February 1 and 2 to seek recommendations for Canada to bring
to the Cairo+5 meeting in June of this year. The recommendations would also be raised at
preliminary meetings in the Hague this week and in New York in March. The Feb. 1-2 meeting
followed a series of consultative sessions and public forums which took place across the
country (Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax) in November and December of last
year (1998).

It is clear from the government’s close working relationship with population control/pro-
abortion groups in this process that the Liberals do not intend to revisit issues of concern to
pro-family Canadians. They have made up their mind to advance abortion rights and confidential
sex education for minors as well as other provocative and controversial ideas about economic
growth and the environment.


DFAIT commissioned a new pro-abortion group, Action Canada for Population and Development, to
do much of the ground work for them. ACPD is a handmaid to Planned Parenthood, operating out
of the same address in Ottawa. Katherine McDonald, executive director of ACPD, was a former
executive member of the Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada (PPFD) and is still listed as
their legal counsel. Ms. McDonald told attendees at the meeting in Hull that they were
responsible for selecting the groups to take part in the November-Decem ber consultative
discussions. Moreover, she noted that ACPD chose only organizations that were interested in
moving the Cairo agenda forward. This criteria automatically excludes all pro-life and pro-
family organizations.


Each city also held a “public forum” to solicit the views of the public and thus to give the
impression that they were interested in diverse viewpoints. A pro-family representative at the
meeting yesterday, however, noted that a total of only 62 members of the “general public”
showed up at these meetings – only one individual in Montreal.

Other attempts were also made to give the impression that these proceedings were democratic and
representative. The spokesman for DFAIT who facilitated the opening plenary session on the
second day of proceedings suggested that the presence of Liberal MP Jean Augustine, in her
capacity as chair of the group Parliamentarians for Population and Development, represented
“direct democracy” because CAPPD is a multi-party group. Pro-lifers could perhaps argue that”direct democracy” would require the participation of at least one member of the Parliamentary
Pro-Life Caucus.


Several pro-family advocates were accepted at the meetings including reps from Human Life
International, Campaign Life Coalition, REAL Women, St. Joseph Workers for Life and Family and
Women for Life, Faith and Family. They raised objections to the recommendations on abortion,
family planning, and “confidential” sex education of children and adolescents and repeatedly
challenged CIDA for funding coercive population control programs in China, Peru and Bangladesh.
Pro-family forces also repeatedly reminded attendees that the Cairo Platform of Action (POA)
includes the requirement that the Cairo agenda respect each individual state’s laws, customs
and values. Nevertheless, they lacked the votes necessary to defeat any formal recommendations
to push forward the pro-abortion and anti-family components of the Cairo agenda.

CIDA representatives repeatedly denied the allegations of funding coercive family planning
programs, nevertheless, the allegations generated concern among a number of participants who
asked the pro-family reps for material substantiating the claims. One pro-family source said
that an attendee who was pro-abortion but opposed to coercive population control asked them
to keep pressing the point because she was dissatisfied with CIDA’s response. She told this
pro-life rep that she could not raise the issue herself because of her close relationship with
the department.


In the working group on reproductive rights, Bonnie Johnson, executive director of Planned
Parenthood of Canada, insisted that discussion on advancing the Cairo agenda be based on the
POA instead of contradicting it, a point that received general support among the group. This
principle, however, was uniquely tossed aside in the debate over abortion. The POA states
specifically that abortion should not be advanced as a method of family planning. The working
group, however, recommended with a vote of 17 to 5 that Canada make it a priority to promote
“safe, legal abortion” at the up-coming UN meetings on population and development.


The representative from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) joined with pro-
family participants to oppose this recommendation. Overall, however, pro-family forces found
the participation of the CCCB greatly wanting. For example, in the debate over abortion, while
pro-lifers were expressing vigorous opposition to it, the CCCB rep simply called on the group
to dismiss the issue, in effect simply ignoring it. Another participant who identified himself
as a United Church minister supported the advancement of abortion rights. He claimed that the
fact that “the largest Protestant denomination in Canada” permits abortion is a point worth
considering. Trying to weaken the impact of Catholic opposition to abortion he also claimed
that the pro-abortion group calling itself Catholics for Free Choice represents a large
constituency of pro-abortion Catholics.


There was further evidence at the meeting that the UN is running the show, with Canada
following their lead instead of exerting national sovereignty. One pro-family participant asked
Adele Dion, the head spokesman on UN activities for DFAIT which NGOs would be on the Canadian
delegation to New York in March. Ms. Dion said that they did not yet know, the reason being
that the UN had not yet told them what the priority issues would be. These issues would
determine the expertise needed on the Canadian delegation, she said. In the mean-time the
participants of the recent meeting voted in favour of a motion to recommend to the government
that ACPD’s Katherine McDonald be the only NGO representative on this week’s Hague delegation
(which is a group of four individuals, three being representatives of CIDA, DFAIT, and Health
Canada). Pro-family attendees, of course, voting against the recommendation.