Canadian Pro-Life Leader Gives Last Minute Information to Federal Election Voters
By Steve Jalsevac
KINGSTON, Ontario, October 10, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Mary Ellen Douglas is one of Canada’s most seasoned pro-life political leaders. For many years an elected school trustee herself, Douglas has been heavily involved in Campaign Life Coalition’s extensive national, provincial and local election efforts since the organization’s founding. She has seen many political leaders come and go over the past almost 30 years. As the massive effort by CLC to gather information on the candidates’ and parties’ positions on the life issues comes to a close LifeSiteNews interviewed Douglas about the value of the CLC database to voters and her thoughts on what can still be done between now and election day. See the CLC Election page at http://www.campaignlifecoalition.com/elections/federal/
LIFESITENEWS: What does the Campaign Life Coalition election webpage have to offer Canadian voters?
DOUGLAS: I believe we have the best database this time that we’ve ever had. That’s because we have a large amount of information from returned questionnaires, the voting records of MPs, statements from the last election from incumbents and other candidates running again and comments from constituents and leaders who have questioned candidates in the ridings and are sending back all kinds of information including from all candidates meetings and reports in local media. So I think the CLC election page is a great resource of information on the life issues that the voters cannot get from anywhere else.
There has been a large team of people intensely involved in this project of gathering information and evaluating the responses in order to give pro-life Canadians the most accurate, non-partisan information possible.
LIFESITENEWS: What if people don’t have a known pro-life candidate to vote for?
DOUGLAS: There are several options that we are proposing. The first one of course is always vote only for the pro-life candidate if one is available. The other options however, are listed on our election page. By clicking on the box "Your Voting Options" you will see that brief list of several options. (http://www.campaignlifecoalition.com/elections/federal/votingoptions.html)
We also urge everyone to click on the "Election Guide for Serious Christians" (http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/oct/08100107.html). That is a new item this time which is an excellent 2-page resource. It explains the core issues and the reasons why Christians and similarly principled Canadians are obligated to exercise their political responsibility consistent with their professed beliefs.
LIFESITENEWS: What were some of the notable difficulties that CLC had in trying to compile the candidate information for pro-life voters?
DOUGLAS: When Stephen Harper made that statement that he would not re-open the issue now or later and that he would also not allow anyone else to do so, and his heavy handedness in the whole campaign - all that appears to have made the Conservative candidates afraid to tell voters where they stand. They are particularly afraid of answering our simple questionnaire. That’s true of the other parties as well, but we are especially disappointed about the growing refusal to respond from the Conservatives, even many pro-life ones.
The candidates’ excuses are pretty weak. Answering and signing the questionnaire does not contravene the election act in any way. It’s not a legally binding document. There is really no reason why they could not answer those questions. It our main vehicle for telling the people where the candidates stand on the very important life issues.
LIFESITENEWS: And what are the more positive things that you have seen in the election campaign?
DOUGLAS: Without going riding by riding, there are a fair number of candidates out there who are taking a strong stand for life. So, I’m hoping that when the election is over on Tuesday we’ll find that we have a good contingent of pro-lifers in the main parties that we can work with.
LIFESITENEWS: I presume those would be only Conservatives and Liberals. Is that correct?
LIFESITENEWS: How does the response compare to the last few elections?
DOUGLAS: Well. Just their fear of answering the questionnaire has become greater I believe, but I think the amount of information we have now is greater. Also, I think I see an increase in the information that has come back in from constituents and from the riding contacts that we have.
LIFESITENEWS:Any prediction of what the outcome might be?
DOUGLAS: Well, before it started I thought I was the only one who said it would be a Conservative minority but my goodness they’ve caught up with me and now a lot of people are saying it might be just that. So, I guess I’ll stay with that. The discouraging part of such an outcome is that we will probably face another election again in a few months. It is distressing because it involves a lot of money, time and effort and I’m not sure that this turned out to be the best time for an election.
LIFESITENEWS: What can the voters do between now and election day on Tuesday other than check out the CLC election webpage.
DOUGLAS: If they take that step in looking at the webpage and find that they have a pro-life candidate, they still have three days to offer their long weekend to help that candidate get elected. That would be the first priority.
LIFESITENEWS: If they still meet candidates at the door or elsewhere what can they do?
DOUGLAS: It is quite interesting because I have had calls even today from more than one party in my own riding asking if they could count on my support. That’s the time individuals can say, "this is the issue I vote on". Unless we have voters who are prepared to take a stand for life then we’re never going to have a parliament that will actually turn around the situation.
LIFESITENEWS: I Noticed this year on the CLC candidate evaluations section you have the phone number of the campaign offices. Why is that?
DOUGLAS: I think it’s important that if the canvasser doesn’t call you, then you should call them. First of all, if we don’t have anything there on the candidate, ask where they stand on the life issues. Use our questions as a guide (http://www.campaignlifecoalition.com/elections/federal/2008/Questionnaire2008.pdf and http://www.campaignlifecoalition.com/elections/federal/questions.html). If the candidate you already know from the webpage is not on our side, then tell them they’ve lost your vote and the votes of everyone in your household. That has a strong impact on campaign offices.