MONCTON, June 12, 2003 ( – The June 9 New Brunswick election results offer hope to the pro-life cause in Canada, according to the president of Campaign Life Coalition NB. Bernard Lord’s Progressive Conservatives defeated Shawn Graham’s Liberals by a razor thin margin, and recounts may yet change the final result.

“While not ideal, the pro-life political landscape is probably better here than almost anywhere in Canada,” says Peter Ryan. “When you consider we may well have a pro-life majority in the new Legislature, that’s not bad.”  Ryan says, of the 55 MLA’s elected, 23 are known to be pro-life or have pro-life leanings. 11 others gave several pro-life answers to the coalition’s questionnaire. “I believe one or more of those are more pro-life than they let on,” he said. In addition, of the 18 others that did not respond to the questionnaire, he suspects that several are pro-life. “In the very short election campaign, many did not have a good chance to respond.”  Ryan notes, “One thing for sure, Henry Morgentaler doesn’t have many friends in the Legislature. Of the 37 MLAs responding to our questionnaire, 35 oppose the funding of private abortion clinics. Only 3 identified themselves as ‘pro-choice’ and one of those opposes clinic funding!”  The CLCNB president reports that both Premier Lord and Opposition Leader Graham oppose public funding of Morgentaler’s Fredericton operation. He also notes that the 23 known pro-life MLA’s include 11 Tories and 12 Liberals.

Ryan thinks if Mr. Lord forms the new government, it will be more accessible to the pro-life movement than in the past. “There are a number of issues we need to discuss with him and his ministers, including abortion funding, women’s right to know legislation concerning abortion, and sex education. We haven’t found the Lord government very approachable in the past. But during this campaign, the Premier promised that we would have greater access to a new government. And I think the humbling results the Tories have experienced in almost losing will tend to make them more approachable.”  For Ryan one big challenge is that both Conservative and Liberal leaders are pro status quo on abortion funding. “It’s good they don’t want to start funding Morgentaler. But it’s bad they don’t question the funding of abortion on demand at the Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton.”

Ryan said his group attempted to survey 166 candidates during the election campaign. “We had feedback from 88, over 50%, which is way more than most interest groups get from their surveys.” Of the 88, 48 were considered pro-life or pro-life with exceptions. That number included 24 Liberals, 21 Conservatives and 3 NDP candidates.  Ryan said the election was a good learning experience for him and his organization. He says he looks forward to future campaigns. “I think the next time we can hope to do much more to publicize the candidate’s positions to the general public, who in this province are more pro-life than not. That should prove quite interesting.”  See LifeSite’s New Brunswick Election page with candidate rating information