QUEBEC, Sept. 26, 2012 ( – On Tuesday, a Quebec New Democrat MP invoked the name of Christ and his Catholic faith to justify his opposition to Stephen Woodworth’s pro-life motion. 

Raymond Côté, the New Democrat MP for Beauport—Limoilou in Quebec City, told Le Devoir Tuesday that his decision to oppose the motion when it comes to a vote Wednesday was motivated by his Catholic faith.


“I am strictly against any attempt to criminalize abortion,” he said. “It is also consistent with my beliefs as a Catholic. It’s a bit like Christ who had a welcoming approach that allowed people to follow their own conscience. If I imposed on others what they should do, I would be like the Pharisees.”

Motion 312 proposes to set up a special committee to re-examine section 223 of Canada’s Criminal Code, which stipulates that a child only becomes a human being once he or she has fully proceeded from the womb.

It received a second hour of debate on Friday, where it was condemned by opposition MPs as a back-door attempt to re-open debate on abortion and ultimately ban the deadly procedure.

Georges Buscemi, president of Campagne Québec-Vie, said he’s “glad” the MP believes his faith should inform his political decisions. “But I take objection to his claim that being Catholic demands that we never penalize abortion,” he continued. “Being Catholic means respecting the unborn as the human beings they are, which therefore means allowing for penal sanctions for anyone compromising their right to life.”

“Perhaps Mr. Côté should look it up in the catechism he surely has in his home (section 2273 to be exact),” Buscemi added. “Or better yet, he may want to discuss this with his bishop.”

The motion has been opposed by all party leaders, including Prime Minister Harper, who has pledged to vote against it in order to uphold his consistent promise not to re-open the abortion debate.

The New Democrats, who form Canada’s Official Opposition, have a pro-abortion platform and pledged in the 2011 election campaign to promote even greater access to abortion across the country. The party told Campaign Life Coalition at the time that a commitment to “universal access” to abortion is demanded of all NDP candidates.

Reports have indicated that the Prime Minister’s Office has pressured Conservative MPs to vote against it as well, though the Government Whip has confirmed that it will be a free vote for both backbench MPs and Ministers.

On Monday, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney – considered a possible successor to Harper as Conservative leader – threw his support behind Woodworth and called for a “respectful debate” on abortion.

Contact information

Raymond Côté
EMail: [email protected]
Constituency Office(s)
2000 Sanfaçon Avenue, Suite 101 (Main Office)
Québec, Québec
G1E 3R7
Telephone: 418-663-2113
Fax: 418-66


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