Wednesday February 3, 2010

Canadian Liberal Leader Ignatieff Slammed as “Extreme” and “Divisive” on Abortion

By John-Henry Westen

OTTAWA, February 3, 2010 ( – Yesterday’s comments by Liberal Party Leader Michael Ignatieff, insisting that Prime Minister Stephen Harper include abortion as a plank in his maternal health initiative at the G8, has earned the Liberal leader the title of an extremist on the abortion issue.

“Michael Ignatieff once again shows his extreme pro-abortion position in order to garner what he assumes will translate into pro-abortion votes for his leaderless Liberal Party,” said Jim Hughes, National President of Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), who also congratulated Harper for his maternal health plan.

“Campaign Life Coalition congratulates Prime Minister Stephen Harper for his proposal that would promote maternal and infant healthcare in the developing world at the G8 and G20 Conferences,” said Hughes. “This care will include safe water and good pregnancy treatment and care before and after the child is born.”

CLC National Organizer Mary Ellen Douglas said that Ignatieff is way off the mark, if he is hoping to attract the votes of women with his views. “If Mr. Ignatieff thinks that the women of Canada accept his statement he is very mistaken and I expect his mistake will cost him dearly at the ballot box,” she said.

Jeff Gunnarson, also of CLC, told (LSN) that Ignatieff was being divisive by insisting abortion be pushed at the G8 meeting. “While Mr. Ignatieff claims consensus on the issue of abortion, the fact is that many Canadians support the right to life. We can all agree to work together for clean water and better nutrition, but by insisting that abortion be pushed, the Liberal Leader is dividing Canadians on what was otherwise a matter of unanimous consent.”

The Liberal Leader’s extremism may also cost him the Catholic vote. Catholic Insight editor Fr. Alphonse DeValk has called on Liberal MPs to reject Ignatieff’s claim to speak for the party. “If his claim stands,” said de Valk, “many Catholics and other pro-life Canadians will not vote Liberal in a coming election.”

The editor of the influential Catholic magazine said yesterday’s remarks marked the second time Ignatieff has “called for the killing of unborn children.” The first time, said de Valk, was in May of 2009 when Ignatieff said “it is the longstanding view of the Liberal Party of Canada that women must have the right to choose.”

In comments to LSN yesterday, which were picked up by the Canadian Press, Liberal MP Paul Szabo disputed Ignatieff’s claim of consensus. “I am a pro-life MP and there are many of my colleagues in the Liberal caucus who will protect the unborn in their decisions as Parliamentarians, and should matters come before the House they will continue to act accordingly,” he said.

Pro-life medical doctors in Canada also weighed in on the controversy. Canadian Physicians for Life commended the Prime Minister’s initiative. President Will Johnston said, “The evidence shows that investments in primary care, food security, clean water, affordable transport, and literacy are the most effective strategies.”

Johnston added: “It is ill-advised for some Canadians to attempt to export our culture of mass abortion to countries without the most basic health services for women and children. We have learned from our tragic experience with exporting formula feeding in the developing world that this type of cultural imperialism brings illness and death to the most vulnerable. Let us not use the deeply divisive issue of abortion to deny vulnerable women and children the basics of life that they both need and deserve.”