CALGARY, November 4, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – At its national convention in Calgary on Saturday, Canada’s ruling Conservative Party overwhelmingly voted to adopt a policy rejecting the targeted killing of unborn girls through abortion.
The convention delegates also voted to adopt a policy that the party “will not support any legislation to legalize euthanasia or assisted suicide.”
The vote to condemn gendercide, which was nearly unanimous, was proposed by the party’s riding association in Langley, B.C., where Mark Warawa serves as Member of Parliament.
John Hof, president of United for Life B.C. and a long-time member of the riding association’s board of directors, said the resolution had come together about twelve months ago. At the convention, he said, the resolution was first brought before a breakaway session, which supported it unanimously and sent it to the main floor for a debate and vote.
Hof recounted the vote on the main floor: “I turned to Mark Warawa, who was seated beside me at the time, and I said, ‘Oh my goodness.’ A sea of green cards.”
“It was one of the most gratifying moments in doing political pro-life work that I’ve ever had,” said Hof. “It was very well organized.”
Mike Schouten, director of WeNeedaLaw.ca, organized a leafleting campaign to support the resolution. He says they distributed over 3,000 leaflets inside the convention. “This is definitely a victory,” Schouten said in a press release. “We worked extremely hard, both inside and outside the convention, to ensure that delegates had the information they needed to make an informed decision.”
The resolution was also supported by about 130 pro-lifers who staged a rally amidst the snow outside the convention on Saturday. The rally was organized by The Wilberforce Project, formerly called Alberta Pro-Life.
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Rosey Rosenke, the group’s executive director, said the day was “incredible” and represents a “big victory.” “When 92% of Canadians agree on anything, the government has to take notice in a democratic country,” she said.
The policy is not binding on Prime Minister Stephen Harper, however. Industry Minister James Moore told Postmedia News that the resolutions are “important debates” that “feed into the [election] platform” but the platform is ultimately determined by the party’s leader.
Employment Minister Jason Kenney, often regarded as the highest-ranking social conservative in the party, tweeted Saturday that he was “proud” of the delegates’ vote. In an interview with iPolitics, he said the vote merely puts the Conservative Party in the “mainstream.” He highlighted an Environics poll commissioned by LifeCanada that found 92 percent of Canadians oppose sex-selective abortions.
“I think it was almost unanimous here, which reflects the public opinion on the issue of gender selection,” he said. “The Conservative Party is in the mainstream of public opinion. If the Liberals and the NDP are with the 8 per cent who are in favor of gender selection, that's an extreme position, by definition.”
“I do think this was an expression of a principle on the part of the party,” Kenney added. “It's not legislation but it is a rejection of something that most Canadians find abhorrent which is seeking to discriminate based on gender in a really terrible way.”
Though reflective of Canadians’ views, some media reports are framing the vote as a sign of strength from the party’s social conservative base.
Tory MP Rob Anders told iPolitics that the base was clearly “exercis[ing] its voice.”
“I don't think you can ignore the social conservative element of the Conservative Party,” said Anders, who represents Calgary West. “It's a very strong element, it's a huge reason why a lot of people support us, they expect to see us deliver on these things and I am glad to see it was voiced here today.”
“I think it gives a very strong mandate to social conservatives [in Parliament] to say that the party strongly supports the idea that girls should not be eliminated and aborted because they are girls. I think it's great,” he added.
In Hof’s view, the vote was not “a victory for life,” but rather “a step in the right direction.”
“All this does is put us in line with 92% of Canadians. It’s not like it’s moving mountains or ending abortion or anything like that,” he explained. “This is just putting the policy of the Conservative Party in line with 92% of Canadians. … On the issue of gender selection, the Conservative Party is now mainstream.”
But, he said, “it does open doorways. If there are possibilities to now introduce legislation, or motions, or bills that would affirm that party policy, that’s the next step. It’s a step to the recognition that gender selection goes on in our country and that it’s not a good thing.”
“I look forward to the Liberals and the NDP adopting similar policies. Because if they don’t then they’re really out in left field,” he added.