OTTAWA, April 17, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Conservative MP Mark Warawa has announced that he will not make a final appeal of a committee decision to quash his motion to condemn sex-selective abortion.
By choosing not to file the appeal, Warawa is able to bring another motion or bill and keep his place in the order of precedence.
At a press conference this afternoon, he announced a new private members bill to impose additional restrictions on criminal offenders. According to the House of Commons’ notice paper, he introduced the bill Tuesday.
In a press release Wednesday, Campaign Life Coalition said they were “very disappointed” that the political pressure used against Warawa’s motion left him where it did.
“We thank Mark Warawa for raising the issue of lethal discrimination against women and girls through sex-selective abortion in Canada,” said Mary Ellen Douglas, CLC’s National Organizer. “It is a shame that this motion was killed.”
The theme of this year’s National March for Life on May 9th is “End Female Gendercide: ‘It’s a girl’ should not be a death sentence.”
Motion 408 was declared non-votable on March 21st by the Sub-Committee on Private Members' Business, in what Warawa and other Conservative MPs say was an abuse of process. The decision was a joint effort by the Conservatives, New Democrats, and Liberals, despite the testimony of an analyst who said the motion met all of the criteria to move forward.
Warawa has accused the subcommittee members of “disregard[ing] the rules of Parliament” and numerous Conservative MPs and political pundits have decried the decision as a threat to democracy.
He appealed to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, but they upheld the decision to quash the motion on March 28th.
Warawa's last chance to save the motion would have been an historic appeal to the House of Commons and a vote by secret ballot. Such an appeal has never been lodged in Canadian history.
Before announcing his decision not to appeal Warawa had indicated that he would base the decision in part on the appeal’s chances of success, which were likely small.
The non-binding motion stated: “That the House condemns discrimination against females occurring through sex-selective pregnancy termination.”
Warawa’s point of privilege, which he raised with Speaker Andrew Scheer in March, is still active, however. Warawa says the Conservative whip denied him an opportunity to speak in the House about M-408 during a daily 15-minute time frame reserved for MPs because the topic was “not approved.” He has asked Scheer to rule on whether his rights were infringed.
Numerous MPs on both sides of the aisle have supported Warawa, warning that barring MPs from speaking on issues of concern to them and their constituents is a threat to parliamentary democracy. His supporters have argued that Parliament’s rules say the 60-second speeches are granted by the Speaker and it’s only by convention that party leaders have been assigning the slots.
CBC’s Kady O’Malley predicts that Warawa’s privilege question is “almost certainly at the top of the speaker’s priority list” given the number of interventions that have been made.