Warawa accuses members of contempt for nixing gendercide motion, vows to appeal ‘all the way’
OTTAWA, March 21, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Tory MP Mark Warawa, whose motion to condemn sex-selective abortion was deemed non-votable Thursday morning, is accusing the committee members of breaching Parliament's rules and says he is prepared to appeal “all the way.”
“It’s a dangerous step to disregard the rules of Parliament,” Warawa told LifeSiteNews.com. “The issue is not about M-408 anymore. It’s about democracy.”
The move to declare M-408 non-votable at the Sub-Committee on Private Members’ Business came up unexpectedly on the day the government is set to release its budget for 2013. The sub-committee vote, believed to be at the instigation of the Prime Minister’s Office, was unanimous.
At the sub-committee, which reports to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, members argued that this Parliament had already taken up the issue – claiming that M-408 and M-312 were both on abortion – and thus cannot be taken up again under parliamentary rules. They also argued that the motion was a matter of provincial jurisdiction, because it concerned an issue of health.
But at the meeting, “the analyst from the Library of Parliament repeatedly, about three times, said that the motion does meet the criteria,” Warawa said. “I believe members were forced to break the rules. Breaking the rules is serious, it’s a breach of Parliament, and it’s a breach of a Member of Parliament’s privileges, which in essence would be a contempt.”
Warawa’s appeal must first go to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (PROC), and if it fails there, it will go to the House of Commons for a secret ballot.
“That has never happened in the Canadian Parliament. But that is where I’m prepared to go. If so I’m hoping that logic and fairness will prevail,” said Warawa.
In order to appeal to the House, he would need the support of five MPs from two of the three official parties, which he says he already has.
“It’s precedent setting, definitely, if it goes that far. The next step is to appeal and I’ve begun that process, to PROC, and if they also break the rules, disregard the rules of Parliament, then I will be going all the way,” he said. “I will be the first one in Canadian history to do that. It’s shocking that this is happening in Canada.”
Warawa expressed concern that the members of the subcommittee were coerced by party leadership.
“When you clearly break the rules – and I say the analyst repeatedly said it met all the criteria – for that to be ignored and the rules of Parliament to be broken, then I’m concerned that the members, the three members of the committee – one from each party – were being coerced,” he said. “I hope that’s not the case but that’s what it appeared to be. That they were being coerced to vote that way, coerced to break the rules. Then it’s a very serious problem.”
He also said it is “baffling” that the motion is being opposed given that all three political parties have condemned sex selective abortion. “It’s shocking why they would not want to say that gendercide is wrong,” he said. “It’s inconsistent with their messaging because they’ve all said it is wrong as political parties, so why would they not support Parliament saying it’s wrong? It makes no sense.”
Motion 408 states: “That the House condemn discrimination against females occurring through sex-selective pregnancy termination."
Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, who spoke with Canadian MPs about gendercide on February 7, told LifeSiteNews that the motion “should be non-controversial.”
When she met with MPs, “both pro-choice and pro-life agreed that gendercide is a tragedy that needs to be exposed and opposed,” she said. “According to one UN estimate, up to 200 million women are missing in the world today, due to sex-selective abortion of females. This is violence against women of the highest order. The United Nations has issued a statement condemning gendercide. This is not just a problem in Asia but extends worldwide, including Canada.”
“Whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, no one supports the selective abortion of females," she said. "We are perplexed that the Committee has chosen to kill this Motion so that it cannot be discussed and voted upon,” she added. “We hope that this decision will be appealed and overturned.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper