Wildrose Party votes on ditching ‘conscience rights,’ adding ‘sexual orientation’ to platform
ALBERTA, October 25, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Alberta’s opposition Wildrose Party is voting on policy amendments this weekend, one which calls for the deletion from its platform a proposal to “implement legislation” protecting “conscience rights” of doctors, and another which calls for a new section on “sexual orientation”.
“We know that we’ve got some contentious policies that have to be debated,” said Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith at the party’s legislature office Wednesday to reporters. Party members are meeting in Red Deer for the Annual General Meeting.
Resolution 7 A on “Health Care” proposes that the current language “implement legislation protecting the ‘conscience rights’ of healthcare professionals” be deleted and replaced with “defend the fundamental Charter right to freedom of conscience and religion for healthcare professionals and all other Albertans.”
The party’s 2010 policy handbook had formerly stated that a Wildrose government “will” implement conscience rights, the 2011 policy book stated the government “should” implement them, and the current proposal does away with legislating such rights altogether. Doctors’ ‘conscience rights’ have thus been downgraded over the past three years from the promise of explicit legal protection.
Two weeks before the 2012 election PC Party Premier Alison Redford claimed she was “frightened” by Wildrose’s support for conscience rights, arguing that doctors should be forced to commit abortions and prescribe contraception even if it goes against their beliefs.
The Wildrose Party is making a nod towards the gay-movement, proposing in Resolution 19 on “Human Rights” to “defend the equality of all persons regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.”
Canada’s highest court has used “sexual orientation” as proxy for homosexual “behavior” and “conduct”, ruling in Saskatchewan (Human Rights Commission) v. Whatcott earlier this year that “equality” means that MSM activity can no longer be criticized apart from the individuals who engage in it.
The Wildrose Party dominated polls in the lead-up to the April 2012 election. Days before the election Smith came out saying she was “pro-choice and pro-gay marriage” after Edmonton Wildrose candidate Allan Hunsperger, a Christian pastor, posted a strong critique of homosexuality and its promotion in the schools on his church’s blog.
Hunsperger made headlines for writing on his blog that if one inclined towards homosexuality embraces his attractions, he will “suffer the rest of eternity in the lake of fire, hell, a place of eternal suffering.”
Smith was widely criticized by mainstream media for not outright condemning Hunsperger’s comment, saying instead that offended persons should “seek an apology” from Hunsperger himself.
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In an attempt to save face, Smith caved in to media pressure: “The only way we’re going to be able to become a mainstream, big-tent conservative party capable of forming government is to focus on the issues that matter to Albertans,” she said a week before the April 23 election. “If I am elected premier, a Wildrose government will not be legislating in areas of morality.”
Life and family advocates as well as value voters were dismayed at what appeared to them as the party’s sudden about-face. The party began to plunge in the polls, ending up on election day with only 17 seats out of 87 and allowing Alison Redford’s PC Party to hang onto a majority of 61 seats, down from 67.
Mainstream critics blamed Smith’s dramatic meltdown of support to the pro-life and pro-traditional marriage views of Wildrose candidates that they claimed turned off Alberta voters. A Globe & Mail headline at that time stated: “Fear of Wildrose drove some voters to Alberta PCs”.
But Life and Family leaders argued that Smith alienated her natural base of social conservative and religious voters when she began to publicly reject pro-life and pro-family views.
“To use football terminology, this is where Danielle Smith began to ‘fumble the ball’”, stated Campaign Life Coalition in a post-election synopsis. “She started to distance her party from these views, indicating that she supported the status quo on abortion, and putting out messaging that she opposed the traditional view of marriage.”
“This strategy culminated with her proclamation April 10th that she is ‘pro-choice’ and ‘pro-gay marriage’, and in the end likely demoralized a significant part of her social conservative base. Not surprisingly, after that unfortunate April 10th announcement, the Wildrose poll lead shriveled even faster through the final week and a half of the election campaign. Then, she shut the door on so-conservative hopes for the future by adding, ‘A Wildrose government will not be legislating in areas of morality’.”