Conservative Party Joins Culture of Death
Alexander PanettaMr. Harper and the Conservative Party may be right that this exercise in political expediency will help them attract urban and Eastern Canadian voters. I doubt it will work, frankly. They really need to attract the social conservatives lingering in the Liberal party. The others are quite happy where they are. In short, you need to recruit folks like me. There are a lot of us looking for an alternative to the Grits.
MONTREAL (CP) - The Conservative party abandoned the fight for an abortion law Saturday after four decades of bitter national debate that sparked court challenges, police raids and passionate protest. The historic vote at a party convention left anti-abortion advocates with no mainstream political vehicle for the first time ever as the party opted to stake its fortunes a little closer to the political centre. Conservative officials insisted they had wrenched away a cudgel Liberals used to bash them for more than a generation.
One jubilant pro-choice delegate crowed that the decision will instantly make the party a more viable force in the next election campaign - especially with female voters. Legislatures have no place in women's bodies," said Nargis Kheran of St. John, N.B., who earlier told the convention crowd that women "do not need you to tell us what to do."
Conservatives had maintained a diplomatic silence on abortion for years. Although the party was opposed to the lack of regulation of abortion, no Conservative leader mounted an organized attempt to draft legislation since Brian Mulroney in 1989. Conservative Leader Stephen Harper decided to end the ambiguity. He told delegates Friday there will be no abortion law if he becomes prime minister
Results of the vote were not a slam-dunk. The vast convention hall remained relatively quiet when the numbers were read while some delegates, mostly female, stood to applaud the news: the party's 2,900 delegates had voted 55 per cent in favour of maintaining the status quo on abortion, and 45 per cent against.
Harper hopes a more moderate face for his party will help attract urban and eastern Canadian voters who abandoned him in droves in the final days of last year's election campaign. Anti-abortion forces insisted they have not abandoned their fight.
Recently, after a lifetime as a Liberal party supporter I became convinced that the Liberal Party had become openly hostile to my deepest beliefs religious and political beliefs and that I could no longer support it. Accordingly, I joined the new Conservative Party just before last Christmas in the expectation that in the Conservative party I would find kindred spirits with whom I could fight the good fight. I was one of those who stayed with you to the end in the last election.
It seems I was wrong. Mr. Harper, where does this urban, Eastern, new party member send his resignation? I will no longer compromise with the culture of death and your party just joined it.
I'll be watching your attempts to seduce those Eastern, urban, sophisticates. You haven't got a snowball's chance in hell of succeeding, but the attempt will no doubt prove interesting, in a sad macabre sort of way.