By John-Henry Westen

OTTAWA, September 29, 2008 ( – In his strongest statements in support of unlimited abortion on demand in Canada, Prime Minister Harper today told reporters that his government would not only not open the abortion issue itself, but would prevent anyone else from raising it.

Asked by a reporter if Harper could give assurances to pro-abortion groups, who are accusing the Conservatives of engineering a stealth pro-life campaign, Harper said that he could.

“The answer is yes. This government will not open, will not permit anyone to open the abortion debate. Our position is clear,” he said, speaking in French.

Another French-speaking reporter sought clarification, asking if Harper was prepared to promise that he would not tolerate the reopening of the abortion debate. “That’s absolutely correct,” replied Harper emphatically. “It’s the position we took in the last parliament. Our position in the future is that this government will not open the abortion debate and will not allow another opening of the abortion debate.”

Concluding the press scrum, a Reuters reporter asked, “Why would a conservative government not want some restriction on abortion?” Responding, Harper said: “I’ve been clear throughout my entire political career. I don’t intend to open the abortion issue. I haven’t in the past. I’m not going to in the future. Yes, there will be people in the Conservative Party who wish I would and there are some in the Liberal Party who also wish I would. But I have not done that in my entire political career, don’t intend to start now. We have a lot of challenges in front of the country … That has to be the focus of government. And I simply have no intention of ever making that a focus, the abortion question a focus of my political career.”

Jim Hughes, President of Campaign Life Coalition – the political arm of the pro-life movement – told that Harper’s statements proved once again that pro-life advocates must vote for the pro-life candidate in their own ridings regardless of the party they represent. Hughes said that he has told people for years that Harper would not protect the unborn. “I’m sorry that there are people out there who have believed that he was waiting for a majority before acting on the issue,” said Hughes.