TORONTO, October 2, 2008 ( – Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s disturbing statements to the media that he will undemocratically not permit anyone to reopen the debate on abortion are a stark betrayal of conservative principles and should prompt his electoral defeat in Calgary Southwest in the coming federal election, says the editor of Canada’s national Catholic magazine of news, analysis and opinion. In addition, Father Alphonse de Valk, editor of Catholic Insight magazine, is calling for the removal of Harper as Conservative party leader.

“For Mr. Harper to state that he would not personally support a law limiting abortion is one thing,” said de Valk. “But to go so far as to strong arm his own MPs from supporting the right to life and even, as his spokesperson suggested, whip his cabinet on the matter, is unconscionable.”

De Valk noted Harper’s latest declarations follow a bevy of other statements and actions during his prime ministerial tenure that have betrayed conservative and democratic principles. Earlier, Harper undermined Bill C-484, the Unborn Victims of Crime Act, which polls demonstrated is supported by a majority of Canadians. He also squandered the parliamentary vote on so-called same-sex marriage, has failed to rein in human rights commissions run amok and has not taken steps to overturn the naming of Henry Morgentaler to the Order of Canada, he said.

It is a falsity to suggest most Canadians support the current state of affairs wherein abortions can be committed right up to the moment of birth, said de Valk, adding that polls show most Canadians want restrictions on it. This is demonstrated, for example, by a 2006 Environics Research Group survey that revealed 64 per cent of Canadians support laws to protect human life before birth.

“Mr. Harper’s position should reflect the views of Canadians,” said de Valk. “That he will not act conservatively and democratically on a crucial life and death matter disqualifies him from serving as leader of a conservative party. We also encourage the voters of Calgary Southwest to defeat him in the election.”