OTTAWA, Ontario, May 3, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The election of a Conservative majority government in Monday’s election may provide pro-life and pro-family Canadians with significant new opportunities to advance small-c conservative agendas and to stem the tide of social liberalism. At the same time, gains could be limited, given Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s adamant opposition to any legislation on the pro-life and gay “marriage” issues, as well as the loss of a small but stalwart group of key pro-life Liberals – casualties of the anti-Liberal wave.
The election brought historic changes to the federal political landscape, with the Conservatives winning their long-sought majority. The NDP swept through Quebec, tripling the party’s seats, all but eliminating the separatist Bloc Quebecois and handing the Liberal Party its most humiliating loss in history.
The official preliminary election results at the time of writing indicate the Conservatives took 167 or 54% of the 308 seats in the House of Commons, the New Democrats took 102 seats, the Liberals 34, the Bloc 4, and the Green party one. The popular vote was Conservatives 39.6%, NDP 30.6%, Liberals 18.9%, Bloc 6.1%, Green 3.9%, Christian Heritage Party 0.1% (total of 19,218 votes across Canada).
The Conservative/NDP polarization is predicted to usher in a new era in Canadian politics due to their radically diverging views.
The Conservative majority will almost certainly lead to some gains for pro-family Canadians, including support for choice in child care and the possibility of income splitting for families. Additionally, under the new government, the euthanasia and homosexual lobbies will have little chance of passing bills through Parliament.
A Conservative majority is, however, a limited victory for social conservatives, given Prime Minister Harper’s oft-repeated commitment to defeat any pro-life legislation brought forward, and the contradictory presence of a significant number of socially liberal MPs in the Conservative party.
The rout of the Liberals included the decimation of the party’s already-reduced contingent of pro-life MPs. The losses included five of the 10 Liberal MPs who backed Roxanne’s Law, which sought to protect women from being coerced into abortion: Ruby Dhalla, Gurbax Malhi, Dan McTeague, Paul Szabo, and Alan Tonks.
Borys Wrzesnewskyj, who had supported pro-life legislation but voted against Roxanne’s Law, was also defeated, and Albina Guarnieri, who had supported Roxanne’s Law, did not run for re-election.
McTeague and Szabo especially were long-time pro-life stalwarts who had been lauded, along with the re-elected John McKay, as pro-life “heroes” in 2010 after they defied the Liberal party whip to vote against Bob Rae’s motion calling for abortion funding in the government’s maternal health initiative. Szabo, however, may have also suffered from disappointing core supporters with his inexplicable Nov. 10, 2010 abstention on Bill C389. The bill, strongly opposed by Canadian social conservatives, proposed adding “gender identity” and “gender expression” to the Human Rights Act and Criminal Code.
The four remaining Liberals who backed Roxanne’s Law are: Jim Karygiannis, John McKay, Kevin Lamoureux, and Lawrence MacAulay.
The only notable pro-life loss on the Conservative side was Gary Lunn, former Minister for Sport. Lunn was replaced by Green leader Elizabeth May, who was adamant during the campaign that she is “very militant” in promoting access to abortion.
At the same time, there may be unknown gains for the pro-life movement from many of the new Conservative MPs whose positions on the life issues are unknown.
Significantly, the NDP surge also brought the defeat of three prominent Conservative cabinet ministers from Quebec – Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Lawrence Cannon, and Josee Verner. Blackburn had opposed Roxanne’s Law, and Cannon and Verner both favor abortion “rights” and same-sex “marriage.” Cannon and Verner were the only Conservatives to back euthanasia and assisted suicide in 2010.
Alongside the historic defeat of the Liberals came the catastrophic collapse of the separatist, extreme leftist Bloc Quebecois, from 47 seats to a mere 4.
The demise of the Bloc Quebecois is significant for the pro-life cause as the party has been intensely pro-abortion – no Bloc member backed last year’s abortion anti-coercion bill (C-510) – and they were the sole driving force behind the euthanasia bill (C-384) that was massively defeated in 2010.
Only two Bloc members opposed Bill C-384, while it was overwhelmingly opposed by the Conservatives, Liberals, and New Democrats – including both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and newly-minted Opposition Leader Jack Layton.
The Bloc was also at the forefront in advancing openly anti-Christian sentiment in Parliament (See here for example).
The election has produced an unprecedented partisan pro-life divide in the House, with the vast majority of pro-life MPs coming from the Conservative Party and an overwhelming pro-abortion presence in the opposition parties.