I was deeply disappointed to learn that our MP, John Weston, chose to vote in support of a motion to re-open the abortion debate and threaten a womanís right to choice. The motion (312) was a private memberís initiative that sought to create a special committee of the House to review the Criminal Code provision that states that a childís rights begin at the moment of birth. The motion was widely considered to be an indirect attempt by Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth to revive the abortion debate. Notwithstanding a firm commitment by the Conservative Party of Canada and Prime Minister Harper to not introduce abortion legislation, the party allowed the contentious motion to be presented to the House of Commons on Sept. 26.
As a free vote, MPís were not forced to vote along party lines. The Prime Minister, and many leading conservatives, spoke against the motion; however, 96 per cent of the support (87 of 91 yes votes) came from Conservative MPs. Opposition to the motion came from all parties, with many MPs citing their responsibility to protect basic human rights, such as a womanís right to control her own body. Other MPs claimed that a point of personal conscience cannot trump questions of fundamental rights. Of interest, some MPís who personally supported the motion, voted against it because their support would not represent their constituentsí interests.
Motion 312 would have broken a promise by the Conservative Party to not reopen the abortion debate. Any retraction of Canadaís laws allowing abortion would erode a century of hard-fought progress on womanís rights and their equal place in Canadian society. The interests of the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea-to-Sky constituents would have been better represented by opposition to the anti-abortion motion.