05.08.2014 08:45 PM

Not in Sunday’s Sun: Trudeau and abortion – early!

In political terms, the best – and safest – line on abortion is the one Bill Clinton came up with, some years ago.

“Abortion should not only be safe and legal,” said the former president, “it should be rare.”

That, pretty much, sums up the position on abortion of the three main Canadian political parties. Everyone aspires to live in a world where abortions are unnecessary, but everyone also accepts that we do not presently live in that world.

Not so long ago, the Liberals and the Conservatives were of a different view. They mostly opposed abortion, and they passed laws to reflect that view. Even the New Democrats had caucus members who were resolutely opposed to abortion.

Times changed. The courts pronounced, the politicians reversed. Nowadays, the law and the law-makers have come around to the Clinton line: safe, legal, rare.

The journey of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his ruling Conservatives, in this regard, has been revealing. Not so long ago, Harper and his party were proudly, and loudly, pro-life. That was their position.

Once they achieved a Parliamentary majority, they abruptly changed course: while the Tories (per Clinton) didn’t like abortion, they weren’t going to “reopen” the most divisive social issue of modern times. Over and over, that is what Harper and his people have said: abortion won’t be on the agenda while he is in charge.

Harper hasn’t wavered, in that regard. He has crushed any and all attempts to revisit the abortion debate – most of which have emerged from his own backbench. He has been true to his word.

Which brings us, in a circuitous fashion, to Justin Trudeau. On Wednesday, the Liberal leader pronounced on abortion. In a scrum on the Hill, he mainly said what Clinton – and Harper, and Jean Chretien, and Paul Martin, and even his father, Pierre Trudeau – had previously said.

“Our position as a party is we do not reopen that debate,” Trudeau said, sounding a bit like Harper.

But then, he went a bit further. “We are steadfast in our belief [in the Liberal Party], it is not for any government to legislate what a woman chooses to do with her body. And that is the bottom line.”

Not quite. There was another bottom line to come, and it immediately became news.

Said Trudeau: “I have made it clear that future candidates need to be completely understanding that they will be expected to vote pro-choice on any bills.”

And, with that, Trudeau did two things. One, he disposed of any lingering hope that he still favours so-called “open nominations.” In his Liberal Party, if you want to be a candidate, you must vote pro-choice. Or you’re out.

Two, by seeking to close the abortion issue, he has effectively re-opened it. Chretien, Martin and Trudeau’s father all knew that Catholics have historically tended to be Liberals. By moving well past the Clinton line – by making one’s position on abortion an actual condition of membership in the Liberal caucus – Trudeau risks dividing his party, and losing votes.

Personally, I always thought Justin Trudeau’s open nominations promise was rash – ironically enough, because it would make the party vulnerable to pro-life riding takeovers, as happened in 1990. But Trudeau made the promise, all on his own, and he needed to stick by it. He didn’t.

Personally, too, I favour the Clinton line, as do many other Liberal Catholics. Liberals have always made room for pro-life folks, and thereby not allowed the issue to tear us apart. It was smart politics, among other things.

So, what, then, is Justin Trudeau’s vision for the Liberal Party? What is his plan? I honestly don’t know.

And, on days like these, I don’t think he does, either.



  1. catherine says:

    Trudeau previously has said he considers having the freedom of choice to be a fundamental right and so votes would be whipped like they would on other rights. This is simply repeating his previous promise. I’m surprised you think that just because the NDP and now the LPC take this position that their nominations are not open. I certainly don’t see it that way and consider both NDP and LPC nominations to be open.

    Politics isn’t only about never losing votes. Having had a friend’s mother die waiting for the panel of 3 independent doctors to approve the abortion her own family doctor said was necessary, I applaud Trudeau for recognizing that this choice needs to be between a woman and her doctor.

    • ShellyM says:

      Let’s just call it what it is: Justin Trudeau is pro-abortion…. and he only hides behind the sanitized “pro-choice” slogan.

    • Gayle says:

      You are right.

      The question I asked elsewhere is if people would be complaining if Trudeau banned white supremacists from seeking a nomination. Would we claim his open nomination process was flawed? I somehow doubt it.

      A woman’s right to control her own body is beyond debate. It is a right as intrinsic as the right to be free from discrimination based on the colour of your skin.

      I am so glad he took a firm stand on this issue. What is shocking is that there are still people who believe the right of a woman to personal autonomy is a matter to be determined by a bunch of (mostly) male politicians.

      Also, he did not say you cannot be personally anti-choice. He said you cannot vote that way.

    • Chris says:

      As a Catholic and a member of the liberal party, I do not want to open the debate, I was perfectly happy to let things be. That was until I was declared a second class citizen of the liberal party.

  2. Ridiculosity says:

    It’s rare that I disagree with you, but this is one of those times.

    I am a Liberal because I support progressive, liberal policies.

    When I vote for a Liberal candidate, I fully expect that they will vote pro-choice – in accordance with the beliefs of the party.

    Justin understands that allowing MPs to vote with “their conscience” on this issue is wrong. And he’s right.

    Why? Because the overwhelming majority of MPs are male.

    If it’s not your body, it’s not your decision.

    End of story.

    • Matt says:

      There’s a difference in expecting someone to toe the party line on abortion and to vote against abortion bills, and saying you won’t allow anoyone to even seek a Liberal nomination unless they’re pro choice.

      If Harper had done this you’d all be screaming he’s a dictator.

      • Mark says:

        So true, Matt.

      • Al in Cranbrook says:


      • Ridiculosity says:

        Is Justin Trudeau being dictatorial? No, he’s doing what all great leaders do: leading from the front, instead of the rear.

        If some of the decisions of this ‘new’ Liberal Party make you uncomfortable, consider the following.

        United parties win elections. Divided ones don’t.

        As he said in his acceptance speech after winning the Liberal Party leadership, “Canadians will not suffer fools gladly. Canadians turned away from us because we turned away from them. Because Liberals became more focused on fighting with each other, than fighting for Canadians.”

        “Well, I don’t care if you thought my father was a great or arrogant. It doesn’t matter to me if you were a Chretien-Liberal, a Turner-Liberal, a Martin-Liberal or any other kind of Liberal. The era of hyphenated Liberals ends right here, tonight.”

        • Matt says:

          And you believe Trudeau promising open nominations, then breaking that promise repeatedly by changing the rules to get his hand picked Chrystia Freeland appointed as a candidate, outright barring Christine Innes from running and is now facing a $1.5 million lawsuit over it, and acclaiming 12 candidates in one day including ADAM FREAKING VAUGHAN.

          Now telling people the can’t seek a nomination unless they think exactly like he does. That is your idea of uniting the party?

          And yes, dictator is the right word. Long time Liberal Ray Heard used it when describing Trudeau’s latest move.

          • Warren says:

            Ray is a Liberal?

          • debs says:

            dictator, for wanting people to toe the party line, and not embarass him when the tiime comes for solidarity. whoo boy, well if trudeau is a dictator, what the hell is harper ???
            who doesnt allow any canadian govt official to speak to the media unless its the scripted partyline. I guess if trudeau is said dictator then Herr Harper is supreme overlord of the universe:P and there is a list of dictorial moves that the conservatives via Harper do, including trying to control the Senate, lol.
            why are cons such hypocrites, I think they must be blinded by the conservative brainwa….I mean PR

  3. Jonathan W. says:

    I don’t think “The New Democrats expelled their pro-life MPs” fact-checks well. You might be thinking of Bev Desjarlais, who wasn’t really expelled and that was over equal marriage not abortion – Desjarlais was pro-choice.

    Rather at some point over the years, probably by if not in ’93, the “pro-life NDP MP” died a natural death.

  4. smelter rat says:

    Mulcair took the same stance today.

    • catherine says:

      That is nothing new, it is just that Trudeau’s openness forced Mulcair to be open. The NDP have not allowed a pro-life candidate to run for quite some time.

    • Dipper says:

      Yes, and it’s becoming evident that the Liberals and NDP are converging into a coalition before the next election to finally defeat the Harper Conservatives. I hope many Liberals will follow Justin’s leadership because only a coalition with strategic voting will win the next election. Justin and Gerald Butts are fully aware of this situation and are headed in the right direction.

  5. Al in Cranbrook says:

    That line by Clinton…first time I’ve heard it…pretty sums up my take on it, too.

    That said, the reality is that have not been “rare”, something in the order of 100,000/year or thereabouts. But that’s another topic…

    It’s a sad statement about the maturity of our society that any debate whatsoever immediately turns into shouting matches and hysterics. (See today’s rally in Ottawa. Good God, grow the hell up, people!!!)

    In any event, I think J.T. crossed a line that’s going to haunt him and the Liberals for a long time, and in doing so he’s left the relatively moderate middle ground to the CPC. Not that it will be a hot topic in the next election. Where it will be a serious topic of discussion is at dinner tables, and in church gatherings across the country. Those that make up their minds about this won’t be vocal about it, either. They’ll just quietly vote according to their conscience.

    As long as a door is open, even a crack, people will have patience and hope. Slam that door, and it’s all over.

  6. MississaugaPeter says:

    I just wish that Justin Trudeau and his cabal had not taken over the Liberal Party. Since they are such know-it-alls they should have created their own Party from scratch instead of taking over the Liberal Party. But they are not as incredible as they think they are, they could never create anything. They used a son-of-a-leader to take over a party. Not so brilliant. Done many times all over the world.

    Instead of leaving this divisive issue alone, they will claim that they are showing leadership. Yeah, divisive leadership that they criticize Harper with. Divisive leadership that will keep more older and first generation Canadians on the sidelines when the election occurs and when they need working stiffs (versus talkers and planners). Older and first generation Canadians that may leave the Liberal Party before the next Liberal leader, who will hopefully unite people, rather than divide.

    Folks thinking that Harper will call an election early next year are buffoons. Harper benefits every month that Trudeau and his cabal shows its true colours and alienates its old supporters. If this pronouncement keeps getting attention, a few percentage points will be staying at home election day.

    • MississaugaPeter says:

      Further Requirements to Run as a Liberal Candidate:

      Must be prepared to smoke pot with Trudeau at one of his home, dinner parties.
      Profess admiration for Communist, central planning.

  7. Corey says:

    I think Trudeau was clear that he would expect MPs to vote the party line on matters of confidence & platform/stated Liberal Party positions. As recently as the 2012 Biennial Convention approved a resolution (I’m quoting part of it below) which I think makes it clear where the party stands. I wonder why anyone would be a member of party, let alone stand as a candidate for that party, while disagreeing with a fundamental social policy principal of that party??? Is it wrong to expect that Liberals would be…. liberal? Or that Tories would be…. you know… conservative?

    58. Reaffirming Women’s Right to Reproductive Health Services

    WHEREAS access to reproductive health services, including legal abortion, is guaranteed under the
    Canada Health Act; (….)

    BE IT RESOLVED that the Liberal Party of Canada urge the Government of Canada to enforce the
    provisions of the Canada Health Act to guarantee women’s access to timely and effective reproductive
    health services, including reciprocal billing for out-of-province services;

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Government of Canada financially penalize provinces that fail to
    abide by the provisions of the Canada Health Act with respect to i) ensuring complete access to these
    services, and/or ii) covering costs related to their provision.

    National Women’s Liberal Commission

    • Christian says:

      So expect it. But what has been gained by this move? By choosing to make an issue out of the single most politically dangerous issue of our times? Every other politician would walk a mile to avoid the question and the idiot-boy-king decides to take it head on because …. who the hell knows why.

  8. Rob says:

    I think it’s great leadership to draw a line that people can either agree with, or disagree with. You may fail, but at least you tried to lead.

    There are other “personal opinions” that I think should disqualify people from standing as candidates for parties that wish to be seen as reputable. Some examples:
    – Holocaust denial
    – Anti-gay-marriage
    – Anti-Vaccination
    – Opposition to interracial marriage
    – Prohibition (alcohol)

    Some of those “personal opinions” may have been socially acceptable at some point in time, and some people may still consider them to be acceptable in some circles even today.

    Consider Donald Sterling and Brendan Eich in recent months. They tried to hold leadership positions in the private sector, but their “personal opinions” were too abhorrent for society to tolerate.

    But to draw a line, to say no, to say that you cannot apply to be a leader in this nation if you hold an abhorrent position of ignorance or hate — that’s genuine leadership.

    And let there be no doubt – the advocacy of legal restrictions on abortion is deeply rooted in ignorance and hatred.

    • Al in Cranbrook says:

      “And let there be no doubt – the advocacy of legal restrictions on abortion is deeply rooted in ignorance and hatred.”

      I can’t let that go unchallenged.

      Those on the pro-life side of this, by far for the most part, are acting out of a deep reverence for life. They happen to believe that life begins at conception. And, frankly, that’s a question that’s pretty difficult to answer one way or the other. If one believes as much, then one necessarily has a tough time abiding by a destruction of said life…for whatever reasons.

      I deeply suspect that, were everyone to have to sit in on a mid to late term abortion, a whole helluva lot of opinions on the matter would significantly shift, and in a heartbeat. And the debate over the matter would get a damn sight more serious and sober than is currently the case.

      Abortions for the purpose of sex selection are, IMHO, an abomination.

      That rational and mature debate even on this singular aspect is apparently out of the question is a damned sorry indictment upon our so-called “civilized” society.

      • catherine says:

        Women were not as valued as people during the days when abortion was illegal and people who believed life started at birth were willing to watch some women die who could have been saved by an abortion. Some still believe abortions should be illegal even if the woman’s life is in danger, but I think (hope?) they are in a minority. That *is* a kind of misogyny as I am certain society would NEVER accept the forced death of men due to religious beliefs of others, when a doctor could save their life.

        • doconnor says:

          You are making a classic straw man argument. Attacking positions you like to think the people you are arguing with hold, but they do not.

          In this case you seem to be conscious that your arguments are not valid, but you make them anyway.

  9. Coelocanth_Jones says:

    Have received some shit from arch-catholic relatives as of late for supporting the NDP in the ontario provincial campaign, briskly brushing aside all and any retorts from me that it’s idiotic to single out the NDP when no major party actually seeks to limit abortion access in canada. Almost all are traditional liberal voters, so I’d like to see what they have to say now

    (for what it’s worth, i adhere to the safe, legal, rare axiom, and believe both sides of the “debate” have been hijacked by psychotic assholes)

    • doris says:

      I remember standing as a candidate for the ndp may years ago and watching as good catholic women left the party, because of a recent decree from hq about abortion, and flee to the libs – where will these ladies go now?

      • catherine says:

        NDP support has been at a historic high over the past several years, so these women fleeing to the LPC did not do they much harm. Depending how long “many years ago” is, it may be even less of a problem now. But as for where they will go, if they want a main party, it will be the CPC, otherwise could be the christian party if they run a candidate in their riding.

    • Joyce Arthur says:

      Sounds like you’re pro-choice. Guess you’re a psychotic asshole then, just like me.

      As the main spokesperson for Canada’s national pro-choice group, I’m curious to know which of my public statements you think epitomize my psychotic assholiness? I do want to get better.

  10. Mark says:

    This is not the Liberal Party of old. This is not the Liberal Party I volunteered for. This is not a party I want to support right now. I was proudly one of the more slightly conservative, right-of-centre members and supporters, and someone who proudly supported Turner and then Chretien, who used to be part of the big Liberal tent we were so proud of. With Trudeau’s pronouncement, he has thrown away what little differentiated us from the NDP IMO. There’s a big difference between “not opening up the debate”, and not even making room in the parliamentary caucus for anyone who might question the fact that there are absolutely no limits on abortion in this country. Sadly, my Liberal Party has become a party that would no longer welcome a large number of former MPs and Cabinet Ministers into its ranks. For those of you who will disparage me because it’s the “end of story”, as Ridiculosity says, where we can’t even talk about it, I say don”t waste your breath. you are as intolerant as the pro-lifers you label in the same way. So is Trudeau, and he has lost my vote. As a male and a father of four, I damn well have a voice.

    • Coelocanth_Jones says:

      For what it’s worth, as a dipper, my party does not support dictatorships, and my leader doesn’t think the budget will balance itself

    • Bill MacLeod says:

      Well said!

      This flabbergasted me, I must say: ““Going forward, all new members and new candidates are pro-choice,” he declared. If you support Liberal aims but feel there are still areas of abortion that merit discussion, your views are unwelcome and deemed unacceptable.”

      Members too? Hell, don’t stop there. How about voters? Damn straight, he’s lost me as a voter. There’s no coming back from this, for me.

      For what it’s worth, I consider some key areas of abortion certainly merit discussion. China is warping their demographic mix with selective abortions, and allegedly, we’re starting down that road as well. I also abhor the thought of mid and late-term abortions.

      • MM says:

        Being against selective abortions and late-term abortions does not mean you are pro-abortion any more than being against selling alcohol to children means you are for prohibition.

        • Bill MacLeod says:

          What’s your point?

          As Trudeau so clearly put it, The matter of abortion is not to be reopened and one cannot be a member of the Liberal party if one thinks it should be reopened.

          And, of course, selective abortions and late-term abortions are entirely legal in Canada.

          So — the Liberal party is clearly in favour of both selective and late-term abortions — so much so that Trudeau wishes to stifle any discussion within the party on these matters.

          Warren, your Sunday Sun piece will appear on Mother’s Day. Was that merely a coincidence? I know I’ll be reading it when I take my family out for brunch. I always flip straight to the pages with your and your fellow pundits’ columns. The varied viewpoints are refreshing.

          Debate is never a bad thing.


    • Ridiculosity says:

      Yes. You have a voice. One voice.

      So do many of the almost 18 million women who are Canadian citizens.

      That’s a solid majority, no matter how you do the math.

      But you’re right about one thing: this isn’t the Liberal Party of old.


  11. GSW says:

    Ah, the purge begins in earnest now. New candidates are green-lighted and old veteran MPs are silent and fading.

    First it’s “generational change” and now it’s “pro-choice”, but the old veteran MPs in the Liberal caucus are grandfathered from Justin’s knife…. or are they? There were 18 respected Liberal MPs with the title “Honourable” earned in past Liberal governments, but four have departed leaving 14 on political tenderhooks. Will Justin want these old veterans around him because they will make his rebuilding of the Liberal party look dubious now. Will Justin clean house to regain that Liberal mojo with a fresh young team of recruits, or will he try to blend in the old blood with the new blood?

    The Liberal party is Justin’s party and those guiding him will ensure that nobody else will try to push him off the hill before October 2015. How many Liberal politicians and party supporters still have confidence and trust in where the Trudeau-Butts team is leading them? It’s obvious the Martinites are in ascendancy and the Chretienites are being slowly, quietly purged from the Liberal party with nary a peep from them. A curtain is being drawn over the old time Liberal party and a new cast of characters is being introduced, and most if not all of them are younger generation politicians.

    I suspect by October 2015, Justin will unveil and newer younger brand of Liberalism to Canadians, and the old will be swept aside. Just watch.

    • smelter rat says:

      Lets hope so. Otherwise, just vote CPC.

    • GSW says:

      Furthermore, what you see is what you get, and you are getting the full monty from Trudeau now… the face of the New Liberal Party of Canada. Let’s not kid ourselves into believing that Justin will reconcile with those who hold divergent political social views… they’re out and that is a certainty. That’s the way Butts and Trudeau want it now.

      It’s no use to wait for a return of the all-inclusive Liberal party of yore; it’s time to follow your conscience and political bent…. Red or Blue Grit no more because is now all Trudeau Grit. It’s either support the NDP or the Conservatives if you want to make your vote meaningful. Staying home or voting Green is a cop-out. Holding on to your Liberal party means supporting Justin Trudeau and his team of party strategists who script him to appear competent. Sorry to say but it’s a sad sad day for the LPC.

    • catherine says:

      You really need to get to know the candidates who are winning the nominations. Many of them weren’t even Libs during the Martin-Chretien battles and they certain aren’t Martinites or Chretienites, they are just plain old Liberals who want a fiscally responsible, centre-left government that respects our courts, StatsCan, EC, vets, Foreign Affairs, etc., etc, and that values our vets, education, science,etc. People who keep track of Martinites and Chretienites have not moved with the times and are going to be disappointed that so many LPC candidates and supporters don’t give a crap if they even know what those people are talking about. Harper is destroying our institutions and eroding our evidence-based governance and decades old grudges have no place in the rebuilding of our government.

      So please,leave your grudges behind and work for the future of our country.

      • ShellyM says:

        Some think Justin Trudeau does not work for the future of our country. Some think a dictatorial, narrow-minded climate has been created by the Liberal leader.

        Perhaps you believe that Canadians should just vote for the Liberal brand and ignore the fact that they will get a PM Justin, by default. That’s not an open and transparent strategy and misleads everybody into thinking that the Justin Liberals will work for the future of our country any better than the Harper Conservatives.

        What about NDP Mulcair who clearly outshines Trudeau in the HOC QP and making him look redundant? Perhaps you are taken in by the Shiny Pony Syndrome.

        • PeggyW says:

          For all of Mulcair’s much vaunted “prosecutorial style of questioning” in QP over the Senate scandal, he got no real information, just non-answers and talking-points. Any real information came to light through the work of reporters. QP is political theatre, nothing more. Joe Clark was a great performer in QP, too.

        • catherine says:

          LOL. “shiny pony syndrome”. Gotta love those Ezra-slogans.

          Alas, I don’t care much about HoC since Harper won a majority and dictates the culture of it. I’m more interested in the fact that Trudeau is narrowing the fundraising gap, is getting riding associations into shape to fight elections, is assembling a fantastic team, is taking bold and sensible steps on Senate, marijuana legalization, women’s right to choice, democratic reform, pipelines,… and he’s doing all that with a tiny caucus. That’s what impresses me.

          Mulcair by contrast has a substantially larger caucus and seems rather timid on some things like legalization, contradictory on some things like pipelines, taking extreme positions that are almost certain to fail on somethings like Senate. Yes, he’s a competent lawyer and questions/responds like a lawyer, and lawyers are fine but actually I personally prefer non-lawyer styles of discourse.

          • JJohnston says:

            And you approve of Trudeau’s reading out scripted question with his fake outrage in a drama queen voice? I question Justin’s intellectual capacity to lead the Liberal party or the country, notwithstanding his popularity amongst certain age groups desiring power.

  12. MississaugaPeter says:


    No link to Liblogs? Many times you and Morton were the only ones posting.

    Another casualty of the Trudeau Cabal “toe our line or else” and “we don’t tolerate free thought”?

  13. Max Tomi says:

    If the Catholic Church opposes all forms of abortion procedures, does that mean “Liberal Catholics” are in fact closet Protestants, at least on this issue? Also, for abortion to be “rare,” then either intercourse must be rare or birth control ubiquitous yet “the Catholic Church is opposed to artificial contraception and orgasmic acts outside of the context of marital intercourse.” Presumably, most “Liberal Catholics” are defying the official policy of the Church in this issue also. The core issue is the Church needs to change its doctrine – or Liberal Catholics need to change theirs – it stands to reason only one side can be correct.

    This is why Jason Kenney, the right wing of the right wing of the Catholic Church (this was, after all, the man that sued the Jesuits about this issue) like his comrade Grover Norquist, favour “open borders” and selective immigration policy to water down the Canadian population of Liberals – Catholic or otherwise – and indeed all moderates. It is war by pregnancy. A rather dark scenario because if the liberals/moderates lose, we return to a Duplessis-type society where women are expected to maximize their reproductive capabilities i.e. 12, 14+ children. Which given the rather strained economics at the moment suggests a return to wretched poverty. Not to mention the victims of rape and incest will be forced to create a breed of sexual deviants. I feel a certain strain of European thinkers tried to modernize humanity but this initiative is failing. We return to a Medieval system.

    • Coelocanth_Jones says:

      My mom is a resolutely Pro-Life catholic, yet willingly admits that the church’s position on birth control is counter intuitive. Of course, the hierarchy can easily continue to not give a shit

  14. Philippe says:

    If you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no-one. Everyone accuses this guy of being wishy-washy.. well, there is nothing wishy-washy about this position- so let’s give him some credit on his firm-stance.

    Nobody who’s pro-life voted Liberal anyways. Let’s stop trying to please everyone as that’s an impossible task, Trudeau’s position is one I agree with.

    • MississaugaPeter says:

      “Nobody who’s pro-life voted Liberal anyways.”

      You are aware that there are still and have always been pro-life Liberal MPs.

      • Philippe says:

        Possibly, however, anyone who cares about the issue deeply in the sense of their “pro-life” views would vote Conservative, not Liberal. That’s not an issue Liberals are ever going to win votes on from the ardent pro-lifers. So, the argument that this will somehow cost votes and that Trudeau should seek to “not offend anyone” and never rock the boat is not a solid argument, imoho.

        • JJohnston says:

          Perhaps Trudeau is catering to his base, the youth vote which depends on abortion to avoid marriage or paternity payments… or just stay single and live it up! Obviously, Trudeau us not reaching out to the Family Vote!

          • Coelocanth_Jones says:

            You seem to have a real hate on for young voters, for someone who seems so disgusted with abortion

          • Reality.Bites says:

            It’s so cute that you think pregnancy equals marriage.

  15. Marc-Andre Chiasson says:

    He said pro-choice…not pro-abortion. In other words, the position is that Liberal candidates must support women’s rights to have the choice of determination over their own bodies, a right that was afforded them by the courts. Not to do so is both immoral and illegal. The provincial government of Conservative David Alward in New Brunswick is a perfect example of a government that places disingenuous and insensitive roadblocks in the way of women’s choices by only funding abortions in two hospitals, and that only upon the recommendation of two doctors in addition to one’s own physician. This circumambulatory policy was, sadly, put in place by former Liberal Premier Frank McKenna. Agreed, Justin will lose some votes over this but I think he will gain even more. By the way, I’m a senior citizen and I support his position on this.

    • PeggyW says:

      I agree with his position also. Anybody faced with this issue in their own personal life is free to make their own decision: they just shouldn’t think they have the right to decide for anyone else. MP’s should be prepared to support the law of the land and party policy on this.

      • Bill MacLeod says:

        “..they just shouldn’t think they have the right to decide for anyone else.”

        Unless they’re the leader of a political party deciding how MPs and members should vote.

        Sheesh. Do you guys even think before you post — or set party policy?

        It would appear not.

        • PeggyW says:

          There’s a difference between supporting party policy which adheres to law, and whatever decision you might choose to make in your own life. I don’t see the two as incompatible.

        • Marc-Andre Chiasson says:

          Nice try Bill but “Twenty-five years ago, on January 28, 1988, the Supreme Court of Canada overturned our country’s criminal abortion law in an historic decision that gave women the right to abortion on request without restrictions.”. That’s the Morgentaler decision and in Canada, that’s the law whether you like it or not. Justin is right.

          • Marc-Andre Chiasson says:

            Actually, it’s now over 26 years ago.

          • Jason Hickman says:

            I have no interest in re-opening the abortion debate myself. I don’t think barring pro-life people from running for office is a hot idea, but that’s between Justin & his Party for the time being.

            But I did want to respond to this: “Twenty-five years ago, on January 28, 1988, the Supreme Court of Canada overturned our country’s criminal abortion law in an historic decision that gave women the right to abortion on request without restrictions.”

            The 1st half of that is right: the SCC overturned the abortion law, and no new law has been brought in to replace it. But as a matter of law, the R. v. Morgentaler decision did not “give women the right to abortion on request without restrictions.”

            Morgentaler was decided on a 5-2 split at the SCC. Two judges dissented in the result and would have upheld the abortion law. But the 5 judges who overturned it did not decide as a bloc, or for the same reasons. At the risk of oversimplifying, four of the judges (two judges wrote separate decisions, and one other judge joined in with each of them) felt that the particular law in question was unconstitutional, but they did not specifically say that there could be *no* abortion law, or that women had a constitutional “right to abortion on request without restrictions”. Only one judge out of the 7 found that such a right existed. It was this “2-2-1-2” split amongst the judges that left the door open for efforts at a new abortion law that the Mulroney government brought in, one of which passed the House but died on a tie vote in the Senate.

            Now, in a later case, the SCC did say that a fetus did not have a right to “life”, but that was based more on how the laws in question were drafted. The SCC did not say, in that later case, that there could be no abortion law (the question was not before them in that case).

            I’m going on about this NOT because I think we need another debate on another abortion law at this time, but because I think it’s a mistake to say (once again, as a matter of law) that the SCC enshrined a constitutional right to abotion when it decided the Morgentaler case. It didn’t. That’s not to say the SCC wouldn’t make such a ruling in the future, but it didn’t do so 26 years ago.

  16. ShellyM says:

    This article in The Record just about says it all:

    Justin Trudeau is the real control freak on Parliament Hill
    By Luisa D’Amato

    If I were to ask you which major Canadian political leader is an intolerant, uptight control freak, I’m guessing that many people would start thinking of our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper.

    But get this — Harper looks like a pot-smoking, free-spirited hippie when you compare him to the autocratic leader of the federal Liberal party, Justin Trudeau.

    Frankly, this guy scares me. Not only is he far too authoritarian, he hasn’t even been honest about it.

    More at: http://www.therecord.com/opinion-story/4510219-justin-trudeau-is-the-real-control-freak-on-parliament-hill/

    • Paul Brennan says:

      I just dont think the JT is very bright really…and that doesnt mean he cant be effective….I dont beleive he is a control freak but he will be as good or bad as those around him …

      • JJohnston says:

        You don’t “think” and you don’t “believe”…. but Justin can be effective as long as his strategy advisors tell him what to say and do? Is that “leadership”?

        • Paul Brennan says:

          has worked fro many – good leaders knw where they are weak and listen and act based on solid input from solid minds

  17. Marc L says:

    “So, what, then, is Justin Trudeau’s vision for the Liberal Party? What is his plan? I honestly don’t know. And, on days like these, I don’t think he does, either.” Unfortunately, that also applies to his vision for the country. Bromides and platitudes.

  18. smelter rat says:

    In Canada, women have won the right to control their own bodies. The choice to have an abortion or not is one that should be made between a woman and her physician. JT’s position reflects that reality, so what’s the issue?

    • catherine says:

      I think in Warren’s and some others’ opinion, it is about people who want to overthrow that and craft new laws that would restrict women’s access to abortion. Justin is saying that if they want to do that, they need to do it through another party. Warren thinks the LPC should leave the door open to the LPC crafting new laws. At least I think that is what he is saying. Otherwise, he might be saying that the LPC should just appear to leave that door open so such people will run to become LPC MPs and only then learn that they will not be able to do that within the LPC. But that sounds like a very dishonest, hypocritical position.

      • Warren says:

        Really? Let me make it simple for you, because you seem really simple:

        1. He said he’d have open nominations, then broke that promise.
        2. He has re-opened the divisive abortion debate, when he didn’t need to.

        Everyone else got it. You didn’t because, again, you’re simple.

        Now beat it.

        • catherine says:

          “didn’t need to” and yet Joe Cressy’s NDP team has been hammering Adam Vaughan for more than a week (even before he won the nomination) on the issue that he was joining a party that is not fully pro-choice like the NDP is. Just look at the NDP tweets and Facebook postings on this. This will be a close race and I don’t think just letting the NDP continue to hammer this point without any response would be good strategy. Trudeau faced it directly by reiterating what he had already stated many months earlier and I think that is good.

          • Warren says:

            So a single by-election is driving a national policy change?

            Anyway, I told you to beat it. I mean it. I don’t do this web site, for free, to get smeared by anonymous jerks like you.

          • doconnor says:

            “So a single by-election is driving a national policy change?”

            You may recall the Scarborough—Guildwood by-election where all three major parties fell over themselves to pledge to build the Scarborough subway despite its dubious merit.

  19. JH says:

    Inclusiveness or lack thereof in the LPC, I would guess.

  20. Matt says:

    All you who blindly follow Trudeau, defending everything he does……….you realize you have become what you claim to hate?

    You’re now no different than those “ultra right wing Harper ass kissers” who see no fault in anything he does.

    Or those “inbred red neck racists” who are still willing to ignore Rob Ford’s antics.

  21. Dipper says:

    Justin Trudeau is the perfect leader to lead the LPC into a merger with the NDP, because after the next election there won’t be much left of the LPC given the destructive leadership of their mindless leader. You go, Justin …. unite the Left!

  22. m5slib says:

    Well, this abortion debacle is kinda silly. Everyone knows the liberal party is pro-choice, and much like the Liberals shouldn’t allow a racist, homophobe, etc. to run for them, they shouldn’t allow a pro lifer. Besides, pro-choice doesn’t mean pro-abortion, it meanst it’s the woman’s choice. If you’re anti abortion, then that’s your choice.

    What I think is more interesting is that there are many older Liberals upset with Trudeau and his advisors. Ever since the defeat of Martin, and probably even before that, people have been calling for Liberal renewal. Well now we’re seeing it, and it’s never more apparent than when the older generation starts to get their knuckles up. This doesn’t necessarily mean out with the old, and in with the new. What it does mean is that there’s change. What’s plagued the party for years is the control of people who were, at one time, very effective at running the party and leading the country. Times change, and that requires new leadership with a new direction. Change isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary. Typically, it’s always the most entrenched or comfortable who are resistant to change.

    • JJohnston says:

      Okay, here is a list of all the Liberal party caucus ex-Ministers all with the title of “Honourable” prefixing their names:

      Bélanger, Mauril (Hon.)
      Bennett, Carolyn (Hon.)
      Brison, Scott (Hon.)
      Byrne, Gerry (Hon.)
      Dion, Stéphane (Hon.)
      Easter, Wayne (Hon.)
      Eyking, Mark (Hon.)
      Fry, Hedy (Hon.)
      Goodale, Ralph (Hon.)
      MacAulay, Lawrence (Hon.)
      McCallum, John (Hon.)
      McKay, John (Hon.)
      Regan, Geoff (Hon.)
      Sgro, Judy (Hon.)

      Can any of these veteran Liberal MPs who may be pro-life feel comfortable in Justin’s Liberal party? Do any of these MPs represent change and new direction other than supporting Trudeau’s leadership? You tell me.

      • Coelocanth_Jones says:

        When Stephen Woodworth’s beginning of life study was voted on in September 2012, four liberal MPs voted in favour: Jim Karygiannis, John McKay, Laurence Macauley, and Kevin Lamoreux. Karygiannis has since resigned his seat, i would like to know what the other three have to say, if anything

        • Anne says:

          Lots of closet catholics in the Liberal party thinking that supporting abortion is just a venial sin… it’s a MORTAL SIN..!!

  23. debs says:

    its too bad the debate was even acknowledged or opened up, I guess Trudeau should have left well enough alone, on that one issue harper got it right. However what astounds me in this day and age that there are (still?) people who are willing to vote with a party over this one issue, I just dont get that. Politics isnt about one issue, its teh same idea of folks voting for law and order….its a redherring. The real vote in this day and age should be over Environment and the emergence of new viable economies( jobs jobs and more healthy green jobs). But meh people are soo sidetracked by non issues in politics. Harper is a master of crafting BS too bad Justin isnt of that calibre, he fails at making his mark.
    me personally I would be happy with Mulcair as the next PM.

    • Reggie says:

      Mulcair will not be PM as long as the centre-left vote is split, and neither will Trudeau. Together in a pre-election coalition they may be able to effectively challenge the Harper Conservative. Live with that reality.

      • doconnor says:

        The centre-left got a majority of seats in every election since 1988, except the last one.

        • Bill MacLeod says:

          “The centre-left got a majority of seats in every election since 1988, except the last one.”

          Umm. the centre-right got a majority of seats in every election since, well, forever.

          The LPC needs to decide if it’s a centre party or a party on the left. From what I have seen, it’s already decided.


  24. m5slib says:

    Like I said, “This doesn’t necessarily mean out with the old, and in with the new.” It means that these people, to some degree, can recognize the renewal process and get on board. If not, then I’m sure there might be further changes.

    • Reggie says:

      Oh, you mean like this? Cast your mind back to the Liberal leadership debates where Martha Hall-Findlay and Marc Garneau tried valiantly albeit in vain to hold Justin Trudeau accountable for his lack luster political record and lack of leadership chops.

      Detractors, like Martha Hall-Findlay’s shrill barking, had to be silenced; chastened, she saw the error of her ways and began the healing process of self-criticism: “To Justin, his family and to those who were offended, I apologize. My comments were not meant to be personal, in the sense of being in any way a comment on Justin’s character – indeed, I have the greatest respect for Justin’s passion, enthusiasm and commitment.” (but not his political leadership CV!).

      Astronaut Marc Garneau eventually threw in the towel: “But it is my opinion now, based on internal analysis, the Party has chosen. Justin Trudeau is the person Liberals want to see as the new leader of our party and I recognize that and congratulate him,” he said adding that he will be a loyal soldier.

      Garneau was transformed from: “The leadership of the Liberal Party is too important a position to be handed to an untested candidate who is hiding behind a carefully crafted public relations campaign,” to vigorously endorsing the Dear Leader as a True Leader with a “great public relations campaign.” (and a rear guard action to cover your political ass!)

      Internal analysis – aka “thought reform” – is the new scientology method of politics Liberal-style. Is the Liberal party going on the rocks and sinking fast, or will besotted Canadiennes launch a new political star into the Ottawa heaven?! I love Justin therefore he can be my leader! Is that what Canadian politics has descended to?

  25. Paul Brennan says:

    wow ..this issue always triggers debate …thats for sure ..look at the discussion this created here…

    • Michael Bluth says:

      Most of the debate in this comments is on the tactics/strategy of JTs declaration and the manner in which he made the declaration as opposed to the issue itself. The LPOC was successful when it was a big tent party. The strategy of moving to the left is curious. It’s fascinating to watch how he and his brain trust are positioning the party in advance of the next election.

  26. Spencer says:

    I don’t think it was necessary to make this a requirement, the federal Liberals have been de-facto pro-choice for quite a while and everyone pretty much knows at this point the abortion debate isn’t going to be reopened any time soon (never mind the courts wouldn’t reverse course on it). That being said I do disagree about it being a huge divisive issue Warren. Most Catholics these days don’t toe the church line on social issues, even middle-age and older people. Unlike in the US as well, abortion isn’t usually a dominant issue in Canadian elections (other concerns usually rank higher though it gets a fair bit of coverage due to how vocal people can be about it). Even people that lean somewhat against abortion (outside hardcore pro-lifers) will usually vote for a pro-choice party if it represents their interests in other areas.

    I don’t think we should take the promise for open nominations 100% literally either. Obviously there are going to be some requirements or restrictions when seeking a party nomination, but you can still have a relatively open local nomination. Basically once the base requirements are met, keep interference and backroom power plays to a minimum and let local associations make their choice.

    • Reality.Bites says:

      Consider something else – if this blows up as an issue, the NDP have no grounds to criticize him. And the Conservatives, if they try, have it pointed out that Harper’s position is virtually the same. Yes, “pro-life” people can run for the Conservative Party. And under Harper, if they try to actually do anything about it, they’re smacked down completely.

      More importantly though, if Harper is NOT the leader going into the next election, Trudeau has brought up an issue they’d love to see buried. For a presumed front-runner like Jason Kenney, this is a nightmare.

  27. Jason says:

    I’ve been surprised by the highly critical tone of most of the media. Most columns seem to have shifted his statement of being “pro-choice” to the more controversial “pro abortion”. It’s like calling a pro-life position “anti-choice”. It’s almost like Justin is outing the media’s social conservative tendencies and baiting the Tories, making him feel to me like the real clear defender of progressive values in a hostile climate, while again creating a media stir. It also appears more clear what the Liberal party stands for now- at least the individual liberty component- which I think is very necessary and appealing. Altogether I’m not sure this is the bad strategy that the media seems to believe. The more of these issues that come up the more I’m identifying with the guy. There’s a major difference between being personally pro life but believing legislation should infringe on women’s individual liberties. I think a lot of progressive Catholics would identify.

  28. Joe says:

    I would hope that this discussion would move beyond the debate about abortion because the issue here really isn’t about abortion but rather the idea of a political party excluding ideas or people who hold ideas that ‘the party’ doesn’t agree with. The fact is that parties who are unitary in ideology usually lose elections. Think back when the PCs did all they could to exclude gay activists. The Liberals rightfully and gleefully used that like a club to send the PCs back to the stone age. Now the Liberals are going to be the exclusionary party – will they be sent back to the stone age?

    • Moe says:

      Dalton Camp forced a leadership review of Diefenbaker to remove him. Is there a Dalton Camp within the Liberal party, or does everybody just duck and toe the line? Will there even be a Liberal party to salvage after October 2015?

    • Reality.Bites says:

      You mean as opposed to their exactly 0 gay or lesbian MPs now?

      And no, closet queens don’t count, no matter how high their cabinet portfolio is.

      And excluding bigotry is not exclusionary. Show me one single “pro-life” Liberal or Conservative who isn’t a vociferously anti-gay bigot. And no, I don’t mean just opposed to marriage – as if that’s not bad enough. Every one of them has opposed every single equality right for gay people in the most vicious language imaginable.

      They’ve shown repeatedly they have no place in decent society.

      • Joe says:

        That gentle whooshing sound you heard was my comment going right over your head. Imposing your bigotry in place of someone else’s bigotry doesn’t decrease the level of bigotry. The point I made and continue to maintain is that NONE of us is ever smart enough or wise enough to know all the answers on this spinning blue ball we call Earth. The fact is that the more people who are allowed to offer their ideas and opinions on a given subject the more likely it is that some really good ideas come to the front. Many Many Many years ago I was running a piece of motorized equipment. For some reason after refueling the engine started to sputter. I’m a pretty handy guy around an engine and determined that I had poured in some contaminated fuel. Change the fuel filter same problem. A mechanic came over and did his diagnosis and repair. No success. A second mechanic did a diagnosis/repair. No success. Three people experienced and trained couldn’t fix the machine. During the discussion that followed a milkman showed up and glanced at the machine. “Is this wire important?” he asked. The wire was the ground to the distributor which the milkman couldn’t even identify. Now had the mechanics and I been like the Trudeau libs we wouldn’t have let the milkman near the machine and we would still be there scratching our heads wondering why the machine wasn’t working.

        • Anne says:

          And the moral of your story is what?… don’t let playboy actors cop the leadership of the lugubrious Liberal party?!

          • Joe says:

            Anne you are talking specifics where I am trying to talk principles. The principle I am driving at is that the more people with the more ideas that are allowed to speak on any given topic the more likely it is that we can reach a good conclusion. The more exclusive the group the more likely the group is to fail for lack of ideas and/or wisdom. This is something that applies to all political parties and those who choose the exclusionary route are not going to be successful in the long run. You never win a debate when your rebuttal is, ‘SHUT UP’. Justin and his henchmen have just entered ‘SHUT UP’ as their argument and it does not look good for their future electoral success.

          • que sera sera says:

            Eight years of Harper’s SHUT UP rebuttals – to Parliament, to academics, to scientists, to Parliamentary officers, to the UN, to environmentalists, to veterans, to pensioners, to journalists, to Canadians – and you’re pretending your principles are being compromised by the junior leader of the third party in the House. Right………

          • Joe says:

            Pretty sure the topic here was Justin Trudeau’s banning of dissenting voices and nowhere did I ever say that PM Harper’s use of said ‘shut up’ technique justifies Justin’s use of same. Then again I don’t ever recall PM Harper banning academics, scientists, Parliamentary officers, environmentalists, veterans, pensioners, journalists, or Canadians from running as Conservative candidates. On the other hand I hear academics, scientists, Parliamentary officers, environmentalists, veterans, pensioners, journalists, and Canadians holding forth on all manner of public policy. Now I agree that PM Harper doesn’t give them the same credence that the old time Liberals used to give them but that doesn’t mean that they are shut out from public discourse. In fact sometimes I am glad that PM Harper is not given to the same sense of willy-nilly urgency that PM Martin gave to every cause pseudo-crisis he heard about.

  29. Bill says:

    Abortion is a complex issue and Justin Trudeau has demonstrated he has not thought much about it before making his simplistic pronouncement. Current medical technology can screen for sex and some genetic diseases and no doubt future advances will provide additional information as to the characteristics that parents can expect from their child to possess. According to Trudeau there is nothing to talk about because choice is absolute so women can use whatever criteria they want to decide whether or not to have an abortion. Is that really what Canadians think?

    Clearly this is just another wedge issue for Trudeau since it looks like the data is just not going to support using the middle class as the wedge issue. The very fact that he would exploit a complex and divisive issue that should be non-partisan for possible political gain is just another example of why he should not be Prime Minister.

  30. Marc-Andre Chiasson says:

    I just find it ironic that many here are saying that Justin Trudeau is an arrogant control freak not fit to govern. I’m of an age that I can vividly recall very similar rants about Trudeau the father many years ago. Yet, today, a number of formal surveys like Angus Reid (2012) which polled the population and MacLeans (2011) which polled a number of historians and experts, and even HuffPost’s informal survey, all show results placing Pierre-Elliott Trudeau at the top or near the top of the list of best Canadian Prime Ministers of all times. The son has many of the traits that marked the father, and these will serve him well. I’m anxious to revisit this discussion following the next federal election. I think many of the highly vocal naysayers will be surprised. Bonsoir mes amies et amis.

  31. Joyce Arthur says:

    Abortion will never be rare, Warren. Please stop saying that.

    The lowest abortion rates that have ever been achieved in the world are in countries like Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Ranging from 6-9 abortions per 1000 women per year. If that was achieved in Canada, there would still be over 50,000 abortions a year.

    Women need abortions, and whatever number it happens to be, that’s the number they need.

    • Anne says:

      Fyi… statistics tell us there are just over 100,000 abortions performed annually in Canada, and it has leveled out at that number. Interestingly, 80% of all abortions are done by women in the 18 to 28 year old cohort. I suspect that most of these women are single and their pregnancy was unwanted. To force them to carry the pregnancy to birth would be devastating to them and the infant too. I also suspect that many of these women imbibe and do drugs during the initial months of their pregancy which would result in a baby with FAS — Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, which is a terrible curse on that person’s life. Most of the prison population in Canada is diagnosed with FAS as are many of the young people on social welfare.

      Now just imagine if 100,000 flawed births occurred annually, and the social welfare cost of accommodating those unfortunates! Abortion becomes an indispensable social necessity otherwise the country would go bankrupt keeping the constantly growing FAS population alive. Oh… do I hear that the solution to abortion is abstinence?

  32. e.a.f. says:

    Thank you Joyce. Your comment is quite correct.

    Thank you to the kid for making his statement also. When some of the Cona started making noises again about choice-the right to abortion. For some of us it was scary. Who needs some idiot backbencher to start talking about it again. Many do not remember the bad old days when women with no connections or money died from backroomabortions and others paid a ton of money or whe. Overseas. I want a leader who says it will not even get floated and they will make sure of that by ensuring their party doesn’t have anyone in office who might.

    For some of us the discussion simply is too scary. Warren, you are too young to have seen or remember what it truly was like. You’re also male, you ans other men will never really get it. Now neither will the kid, bit he knows a smart move when he sees it.

    Not all the birth control in the world will prevent unwanted, unplanned,and unhealthy pregnancies.

  33. I think there may be a good reason for Trudeau to lay down the law like that. About a month ago I saw some Campaign Life literature talking about organising for open nominations for the Liberal party. If they are actually organising, those folks can mobilise a lot of volunteers. Since the Liberals are in the midst of nomination contests, Trudeau could have as simple a reason as preempting facing a clutch of pro-life nominations to either sign, or refuse to sign…. I applauded open nominations when the policy was announced, but this was one possibility that troubled me.

  34. Domenico says:

    This is a very shrewd move by Trudeau. You stop “pro-lifers” from being nominated and damaging your electoral chances. I agree with e.a.f. that “Who needs some idiot backbencher to start talking about it again.” Do you think the spoutings of the likes of Brad Trost help the Cons?

    Regardless of what side of the issue you find yourself, pro-lifers are a shrinking demographic. They bring a lot less to the political table than they take away.

    Plus as a bonus you smoke Mulcair out into the open and have him indicate that there is no difference between the Liberal and NDP on this issue. Now there is nothing for the NDP to exploit on this front.

  35. Sounds like you haven’t seen Amy MacPherson’s research on all the ways Harper is encouraging anti-abortion things on the Hill, she did a time-line for the last ten years:

    After a lecture defining God’s ultimate sovereignty over government, the church and lobby representatives say they were encouraged by MP’s to have ‘their people’ search for jobs within legislative offices.

    2009, May – MP Rod Bruinooge (Winnipeg South, CPC) issues a press release on letterhead that identifies the West Block in the House of Commons as the new Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus mailing address. This media advisory argues for freedom of speech on behalf of anti-abortionists and informs the PPLC will appear in the government’s press gallery the following day to elaborate.



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