I have always held that the Conservative Party line on abortion “We will not re-open that debate” was wrong, not because it wasn’t pro-life enough for me (it isn’t) but because it isn’t pro-freedom enough for me.
Had they made their line be something like “we will let freedom of speech reign,” I think it would have been entirely defensible to Canadian pro-choicers.
After all, Members of Parliament must fight for their seats. So in the short-term if there were some “uncomfortable” debate about abortion, but it’s not what constituents wanted, they’ll get voted out. If it is what constituents want, then the MP is doing his/her job and that’s called democracy.
Instead, the Conservatives under Prime Minister Harper made clamping down on any abortion discussion their line. And since clamping down on abortion discussions/debate is standard fare for the most extreme fringe of the abortion rights movement, in a sense, Conservatives were pandering to a demographic that was never in a billion years going to vote for them anyway.
Now the Conservatives can’t rise above what Justin Trudeau said, because they have themselves clamped down on freedom in the past–albeit to a lesser degree.
I suppose freedom is actually dangerous to political parties and leaders. Who knows what people might actually do with it? That’s why citizens have to stand up in defence of freedom regardless of the issue at hand.
Well. That’s enough political prognosticating for one day. (How it is that being pro-life is actually part of a bigger freedom package is a post for another day. In one line: When the state can define and legislate on when life begins and ends, we have no freedom whatsoever.)by
I do see that this “catch phrase”, as it were, has been adopted by other parties and contorted to suit their needs — being taken far into the realms of suppressed freedom. But the formulation of “we will no re-open the abortion debate” was meant to appease the brouhaha of accusations that Prime Minister Harper somehow had a hidden agenda.
I look back on when the Conservatives won the minority vote, and then the majority vote. And I, an avid pro-lifer, am convinced our country would look very different right now if not for these words meant to appease the accusations. And I don’t mean different in a good way.
If we look back on the amount of debates about abortion, personhood, right to life, and the like that have hit Canada since Stephen Harper has taken power, it is certainly a marked increase from preceding years. The debate is clearly open. Simply, Stephen Harper seems to understand something very important. He understands his mandate; he understands what his priorities need to be as long as he is Prime Minister. And in doing this, a way has nonetheless been made for the abortion debate to thrive more in the last few years than it had in a good long while.
Interesting comment Tanya.
I did like your post Andrea as I see the lessening of freedom was greased by the Harper position on abortion..
Caught a replay of a Stephen Harper/Mansbridge interview yesterday in which Harper said nothing can be done ‘until people change their hearts’ – I was surprised he said that..
No matter how many times I review the; ‘We, the Government, won’t talk about or allow talk about abortion’ I am stunned. I guess I have this simple understanding that talk is like breathing – people just do it. Another clue that is a fallen world wherein folly is often presented as wisdom.