Patrick Craine


Cabinet minister Jason Kenney supports M-312 debate on abortion

Patrick Craine

OTTAWA, Sept. 24th, 2012 ( – Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, one of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s highest profile and most influential aides, has called for a “respectful debate” on abortion and pledged to vote for Stephen Woodworth’s pro-life motion on Wednesday.

A practicing Catholic and former co-chair of the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus, Kenney is considered by many as a top contender to succeed Harper as Conservative leader.

“I have said I will vote in favour of the motion and I respect all the point of views of all the ministers and all the MPs,” he told Postmedia on Monday. “I think we can have a respectful debate on this question and, like I said, the big tradition of all parties in government is to allow a free vote on questions of conscience.”

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.


Prime Minister Harper has pledged to vote against it and reports indicate that he has pressured Conservative MPs to do so as well. In April, he said it was “unfortunate” that the motion was even deemed votable.

Motion 312 had a second hour of debate on Friday ahead of the vote this Wednesday.

Kenney’s support for the motion is not surprising given his record of consistently voting in favour of pro-life legislation and motions, but it is notable in that he is the most high-profile politician to back it.

Kenney has been credited for the Conservatives’ major gains in ethnic communities, which were integral to their success in forming a majority government in 2011.

Most recently, in 2010, Kenney voted in favour of Roxanne’s Law, a bill to ban abortion coercion, even as Prime Minister Harper took the unusual step of showing up to vote against the bill.

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