OTTAWA, May 22, 2002 ( – Parliament debated the government’s long-awaited legislation on “assisted human reproduction” (read stem cells and cloning) yesterday. Pro-life MPs across party lines criticized the bill’s allowance of research on embryonic stem cells, even though the most promising results to date have come from adult stem cells.  Health Minister Anne McLellan called her bill “balanced and ethical,” befitting “a thoughtful, caring and principled society.” But opposition Canadian Alliance MPs Rob Merrifield, Diane Ablonczy and Werner Schmidt, along with Liberals Paul Szabo and Clifford Lincoln, faulted the bill for winking at experimentation on human embryos. The NDP raised the spectre of “commercialization” of human “material”.  Merrifield, the Alliance Senior Health Critic, was quoted in the media as saying, “there is potential for great good and enormous harm in the bill.”  But Merrifield’s strongest statements were not reported: “While we do not have all the answers, we are still called upon to choose, but on what basis do we choose? … I want to state my belief that every Canadian, young and old, has been endowed with an intrinsic value by their Creator. Human life is special and I am in favour of protecting and preserving human life at all stages, from conception to natural death. … Scientists largely agree with the technical moment of when life begins. All indications are that life begins at conception. For example, our personal DNA structures will remain unchanged from conception to death. There is no logical stopping point after conception where we can say that life begins…”  To read the May 21 debate in Hansard see:

For more on this issue see LifeSite’s Stem Cell page: