Trudeau on abortion

File photo by Rosalie Eid

File photo by Rosalie Eid

With another Justin Trudeau gaffe recently making headlines, it’s ironic that he is doing more damage to his credibility than Conservative attack ads ever could.

On issues pertaining to abortion, Trudeau says everyone running for the Liberal party must vote according to his beliefs rather than theirs. Specifically, if you don’t agree with Trudeau’s views on life, then you have no place in his party.

Trudeau represents the fringe of the pro-choice advocates in Canada. He seems to believe that a woman should have the right to an abortion up to the day the child is born, and, more controversially, that taxpayers should fund the abortion. That means that even people who are vehemently against abortion must fund them.

Canadians have been polled rigorously on this question, and have somewhat been opposed to abortion in the second, and especially the third, trimester. But what makes Trudeau’s position so absurd is that he fundamentally misunderstands the issue. He has stated that the Charter guarantees the right to abortion. Simply put, that’s false.

Justin’s father Pierre Trudeau, along with others who were instrumental in the crafting of the Charter, was at the time of its introduction, against abortion. He even promised that the Charter would not lead to frequent abortion access. Once the Supreme Court struck down the laws, it actually recommended that new laws should be introduced promptly. Those laws just never got enacted..

So, ours is a case of a son who has misunderstood the intentions and contents of a charter spearheaded by his father. But the ineptitude doesn’t stop there. This rule that all future Liberal candidates must agree with Trudeau’s pro-choice stance is a slap in the face to pro-life Liberals, or anyone who believed that Trudeau was in favour of open nominations.

That is where the problem lies. How can anyone who claims to support open nominations demand that candidates conform to the leader’s views? It’s a contradiction that only further proves how undemocratic Trudeau really is.

Trudeau doesn’t actually support democracy; he supports democracy when it serves his political ends. In fact, this isn’t even a case where Liberal MPs can have their beliefs, but vote with the party when the leader cracks the whip. What we have here is more menacing: a leader restricting anyone with pro-life thoughts from running.

Even more appalling is that in his claim to be more democratic than Stephen Harper, Trudeau has fallen on his face trying to keep that promise. Just recently, MP Rob Anders lost his bid for reelection while having the endorsement of Harper in the riding of Calgary West. Meanwhile, Trudeau didn’t want Christine Innes to run for the Liberals, so he banned her. So, who is more democratic?

To deepen the wound, both Stephen Harper and Thomas Mulcair have come out with responses to Trudeau’s abortion remarks. Mulcair, not willing to be “out-choiced” by Trudeau, came out the same day and said essentially the same thing, but that instead of stopping people from running, he would just force them to vote with the party. Moreover, Stephen Harper continued his commitment to allow both pro-choice and pro-life Conservatives to run and vote accordingly.

The most frustrating part, however, is not the political summersaults our politicians are going through in order to say the right thing, but the fact that they are so scared to discuss this issue that they hide behind labels and sound bite arguments.

The worst of it is the pro-life/pro-choice titles that everyone, myself included, use misrepresents the debate. It’s intellectually dishonest to act like those who support legalized and safe abortions are somehow rabid savages who love death, just like it is wrong to say that people who oppose abortion are some sort of totalitarians hell-bent on “controlling women.”

Although I’m against abortion, I have many friends who support legalized abortion, and they are not evil people. In fact, most of them are genuinely wonderful people, and so are my friends who are passionately against abortion. But what these friends of mine all have in common is their willingness to intelligently discuss the issue without hurling insults or calling names. That’s what all of our politicians are lacking.

Trudeau is wrong to ban pro-life members from running. Excluding dissenting voices is not a sign of strength, but a sign of weakness. His father wouldn’t be proud.

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