Wednesday March 24, 2010

Liberal Pro-Life Heroes Secured Defeat of Pro-Abortion Motion

By Patrick B. Craine

OTTAWA, Ontario, March 24, 2010 ( – The defeat of the pro-abortion motion proposed yesterday by Liberal MP Bob Rae was secured in part by the vote of three Liberal MPs who broke ranks with their party to oppose it, despite immense pressure to give their support, and the threat of disciplinary action if they did not.

The motion, which called on the government to offer a “full range of reproductive health services” (which would have included abortion) in its G8 maternal and child health initiative, was backed by the Liberals, the NDP, and the Bloc Quebecois, and was unanimously opposed by the Conservatives. Because of the support of the three opposition parties, it was widely predicted that the motion would pass easily.

Nevertheless, the motion ultimately was voted down 138-144, due in part to the opposition of Liberal MPs Paul Szabo, Dan McTeague, and John McKay.

McTeague declined to comment when contacted by LifeSiteNews (LSN), but a spokesman told LSN that “the way he voted speaks for itself.” “He’s held this position since he was first elected,” the spokesman said. “It hasn’t changed, and as a result, he voted no different yesterday, based on the position he’s held for 16 years as an elected member of Parliament.”

Szabo declined to comment on his vote as well. Szabo has, however, been a vocal opponent of his party’s attempts to push abortion in the maternal health initiative. After Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff demanded in early February that the Conservatives fund abortion in the G8 plan, Szabo told LSN, “I am a pro-life MP and there are many of my colleagues in the Liberal caucus who will protect the unborn in their decisions as Parliamentarians, and should matters come before the House they will continue to act accordingly.”

McKay was unavailable for comment.

Jeff Gunnarson of Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) congratulated the three Liberal MPs, as well as Bruinooge and other pro-life Conservatives, and expressed his gratitude for their courage.

He also mentioned the significance of Wednesday’s reading at Catholic Masses, from the book of Daniel. In the passage, King Nebuchadnezzar demands that three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, worship his god or else be thrown into a furnace. In the end the men refuse to do so, and are cast into the fire, where they are miraculously preserved from death.

Gunnarson suggested that the passage had an unusual significance in light of Tuesday’s vote. “Three Liberals went into the fire, so to speak, for the unborn,” he said.

The Liberal motion also failed due to the absence of 13 Liberal MPs and the abstention of Gurbax Malhi. Four of the MPs were away on other business, and the following seven were absent with, so far, no known explanation: Andrew Kania, Lawrence MacAulay, Joe Volpe, Stéphane Dion, Derek Lee, Alan Tonks, and Jim Karygiannis.

CBC reports that Albina Guarnieri says she was absent because she is pro-life, and Borys Wrzesnewskyj indicated he was uneasy with the motion, but had permission to be away on other business.

The failure of their motion was a major embarrassment to the Liberals, who had hoped to use abortion as a wedge issue. “We look like fools,” said a Liberal MP in private, according to the National Post.

Because the vote was whipped by the Liberals, meaning that all MPs were expected to be present and vote in favor, the Liberals have indicated that there will be repercussions for Szabo, McTeague, and McKay’s decision to vote against the party. “These are matters of internal discipline and we’ll be dealing with them,” said Ignatieff.

There had been rumours the day before the vote that the Conservatives would back the motion, but the party ultimately decided to oppose it. Rod Bruinooge, chair of the parliamentary pro-life caucus, led the charge and had already publicly denounced the motion before the Conservatives came out against it.

Contact Information:

Paul Szabo

Tel: (613) 992-4848

Fax: (613)996-3267

e-mail: [email protected]

John McKay

Dan McTeague

Tel: (613) 995-8082

Fax: (613) 993-6587

E-mail: [email protected]

Rod Bruinooge

Tel: (613) 995-7517

Fax: (613) 943-1466

E-mail: [email protected]

See related coverage:

Canadian Pro-Life Victory: Liberal Abortion Motion Defeated