OTTAWA, Ontario, April 26, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP) surges in the polls in the lead up to Monday’s federal election – raising the once-unimaginable specter of a coalition government headed by NDP leader Jack Layton – the party has emphasized their plan to push Canada beyond the status quo of state-funded abortion-on-demand, promising to actually promote greater access to abortion across the country.
NDP leader Jack Layton emphasized the party’s commitment to abortion – and questioned the Conservative party’s commitment – in Gatineau, Quebec on Monday as part of a pitch to win over women voters. “The cabinet of the prime minister is still questioning the right of women to choose,” said Layton, according to the Toronto Star.
In a statement to Campaign Life Coalition, the political arm of Canada’s pro-life movement, the NDP said they are committed as a party to “universal access to abortion services and guaranteed reproductive freedoms for all Canadian women, regardless of income or where they live.”
The party emphasized that this is a position demanded of all NDP candidates. “All New Democrat candidates agree to adhere to these principles when they agree to accept the nomination from their riding association,” said the statement.
Notably, last year every NDP Member of Parliament, except four who did not vote, opposed Bill C-510 (Roxanne’s Law), which would have protected women who choose to keep their unborn babies from being coerced into abortion.
Polls in recent days have consistently put the NDP clearly into second place over the Liberals, with the NDP cutting the Conservatives’ lead to single digits. On Tuesday, EKOS reported the Conservatives at 33.9 points, the NDP at 27.9, and the Liberals at 24.0.
The polling firm suggests the party could win as many as 100 seats, allowing them to team up with the Liberals to form a coalition government that would make Layton Canada’s Prime Minister. They report that the NDP’s popularity has particularly surged in Quebec, where they say there has been “a wholesale transfer of Bloc Quebecois supporters.”
Though Layton did not give details at the Gatineau rally on the party’s plan to promote abortion, an NDP policy official told the Toronto Star that the party would negotiate with the provinces and territories to make abortion easily accessible to every woman who wants one. The official suggested this could involve adding to the number of hospitals and family doctors committing abortions.
Two provinces that would likely be affected are New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, frequent targets of abortion advocates. New Brunswick has successfully avoided funding private abortion facilities so far, and P.E.I. residents must currently obtain abortions in other provinces. Both would undoubtedly come under pressure from an NDP-led government.
The original NDP statement to Campaign Life Coalition sent by Durham candidate Tammy Schoep, also said the party had a commitment to support euthanasia. However, the party headquarters later issued a correction.
According to Schoep’s statement, the party has “a commitment for a suffering person to request and receive – in certain situations – physician-assisted death because the state has a duty to prevent undue hardship for its citizens.”
But the party’s clarification said this was “erroneous,” emphasizing that the NDP “does not as a party support euthanasia. We believe that this is a matter of individual conscience.”