OTTAWA, February 21, 2002 ( – Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), Canada’s national pro-life lobby group, sent a questionnaire to all current Canadian Alliance leadership candidates. Responses were received from Stockwell Day and Dr. Grant Hill. While all four candidates profess to be personally pro-life, CLC’s primary concern with the questionnaire was determining their political commitment to the abortion and euthanasia issues.

CLC has issued previous newsletters indicating that Stockwell Day and Grant Hill have both demonstrated a political commitment to their pro-life convictions, whereas Diane Ablonczy and Stephen Harper have not. The questionnaire responses reveal key differences between Day and Hill. CLC expressed shock and “disappointment with the responses from Dr. Hill, an MP who has always been considered strongly pro-life, but who has failed to impart this in his survey answers.”

Hill chose to identify himself not as “pro-life” on the questionnaire but rather as “pro-life with exceptions” – meaning accepting of abortions in cases of rape and incest. Dr. Hill indicated he would vote in favour of legislation to ban abortion but added the major and contradictory qualification that the legislation would have to allow abortion “in cases of threat to the mother’s health.” Hill chose to identify the abortion issue as a “health issue” rather than a “criminal issue”, thus relegating it to provincial rather than federal jurisdiction. The term “health” in Canada’s previous abortion legislation was so liberally interpreted as to allow abortion virtually on demand. On the issue of destructive research on human embryos Dr. Hill indicated that he would only support a ban on such research as long as adult stem cell research “is productive.” Finally, he said that even on matters of conscience such as abortion and euthanasia he would vote according to the wishes of ! a majority of his constituents rather than his own convictions.

In contrast, Day identified himself as “pro-life”, and indicated he would vote in favour of a ban on abortion. Day noted correctly that, “Funding and regulation of abortion procedures fall under the purview of provincial responsibility for health care. Any legal limits on abortion per se would be a federal matter.” He indicated that he supports a permanent ban on destructive research on human embryos. Day also explained that while he believes in an elected member representing his constituents to the best of his/her ability, “this obligation cannot bind legislators to vote in favour of measures which would abrogate inalienable human rights, such as the rights to life, liberty, and property.” Thus he would vote according to his conscience on issues such as abortion and euthanasia.

Both Hill and Day said they would not initiate pro-life legislation but they also said they would not stand in the way of such legislation either. “In the context of Canadian Alliance policy, Campaign Life Coalition at the very least wants assurances that if others launch initiatives to restrict or criminalize abortion (e.g. a referendum or ‘citizen’s initiative’), the candidate would not be involved in backroom manoeuvring to kill the process,” says CLC public affairs director Karen Murawsky. “From Mr. Day and Dr. Hill we have that assurance in writing.”

See the questionnaire responses, the related CLC Media release and the March 2002 CLC National News report on the leadership race at: