Canadian Tory MP: Vote for pro-life candidates, not party
TORONTO, April 9, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-life Conservative MP Kyle Seeback told attendees at Campaign Life Coalition’s national pro-life conference on the weekend that when he was first elected three years ago, he would have told people to “vote Conservative” to make a pro-life difference in the country.
“I don’t agree with that anymore. You have to find the right person to vote for, regardless of the party affiliation on this issue,” he said.
Seeback, who is the sitting MP for Brampton West but who will be seeking election in the new riding of Brampton South, told about 200 conference attendees at the Woodbine Banquet and Convention Hall in Toronto of his hope that the 2011 election, which secured a majority Conservative government, would bring some “real progress on life issues.”
Instead of progress, Seeback related how even the most meager of pro-life initiatives — including Stephen Woodworth’s Motion 312 that would have struck a committee to examine the humanity of the unborn and Mark Warawa’s Motion 408 to have the House condemn the practice of sex-selective abortion — have not received the necessary votes or have been deliberately killed at committee.
The 98 MPs who voted for Woodworth’s motion two years ago had a “price to pay,” he said, adding that the pressure to oppose the motion was “enormous.”
“I was told directly: ‘Voting in favor of this is voting against the prime minister.’”
Pro-life Conservative MPs have long lamented what they call the “ironclad” discipline of party leader Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Instead of being a conservative leader championing the unborn, as many pro-lifers nationwide had once hoped, Harper has quashed pro-life initiatives from his own party members, declaring time and again that he has no intention of reopening the abortion debate.
For Seeback, the answer to increasing pro-life representation in the House is a groundswell of “political activism.”
“We need more people running for office who are committed to being pro-life,” Seeback proposed as a solution.
He said there are too many MPs who claim to be pro-life, but who lack the backbone when it comes time to vote.
“I can tell you that during that Stephen Woodworth motion, so many of my colleagues came up to me and said ‘I’m pro-life but…’ Well, I’m not sure what that means, to me it means you’re not pro-life.”
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Seeback said there is only one thing that lets voters know if their candidate or current MP is truly pro-life: “Are they willing to fill out the [Campaign Life Coalition] questionnaire?”
The Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) questionnaire asks candidates a series of 6 questions related to life issues, beginning with, “Do you believe life begins a conception (fertilization)?” If a candidate answers the questions correctly he or she is given a “supportable” status by CLC.
Seeback related how he has received a phone call from “political operations” during each election telling him to refuse to answer the CLC pro-life questionnaire.
“Kyle, we’re telling you not to sign the questionnaire, or there’ll be consequences,” Seeback related of the phone calls he has received and expects to receive in the upcoming nomination battle.
“And I say: ‘Well, I’m signing it, so good luck.’”
“Well, there could be trouble.”
“OK, great, let there be trouble. I’m signing it,” he said to applause.
Seeback said that if a politician who calls himself or herself “pro-life” will not sign a “piece of paper” stating such, then that person will not be a reliable pro-life vote in Ottawa.
“When the real pressure comes when you’re in Ottawa and they’re saying: ‘You’re voting against the prime minister,’ I don’t think that person is going to stand up.”
Seeback said that pro-life people need to get pro-life candidates for mainline parties running in every riding.
“That’s my message to everyone today. Please look where you live. Support your pro-life candidates. If they don’t have one, get someone.”
“You don’t have to look around either and say, ‘Oh, whose going to do that?’ Look at yourself. You can do it. I did it. I’ve worked on elections but I just decided one day I’m going to do this. I worked for a year, signed up members, and I won.”
“If I can do it, there’s 20 people in this room who can do it,” he said.