A Harper Majority Government Would Pass Anti-Abortion Restrictions

By Joyce Arthur, Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada

September 11, 2008

Below – See our Complete List of Current Anti-Choice MP’s (prior to October 2008 election)

To see an updated list of anti-choice MPs after the October 2008 election, click here.

Courtesy of a survey of MPs by Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), the ranks of known anti-choice MP’s in the current Parliament have just swelled. In 2006, we estimated that 32% of all MPs were anti-choice based on their records. Thanks to a recent list published by CLC, that number is now known to be at least 40%. About 74% of Conservative and 28% of Liberal MPs are anti-choice. In addition, the total number of anti-choice MPs could be as high as 49% if votes for Bill C-484 are counted as part of an anti-choice record (94% of Conservatives and 29% of Liberals).

Prime Minister Harper is eager to dissociate the Conservative Party from the abortion issue. The unofficial kickoff to his election campaign was a repudiation of Bill C-484 (“Unborn Victims of Crime Act”) by the Conservative Justice Minister, along with a firm promise not to legislate on abortion or introduce fetal rights. With this move, Harper chose to abandon his right-wing base on the abortion issue and instead, pander to feminists and left-leaning groups.  Harper wants nothing to do with the abortion issue, because he knows that any whiff of anti-abortionism is political suicide in an election. Not only do the media pounce like sharks on any anti-choice misstep, a majority of Canadians are pro-choice. According to a June 2008 Angus Reid poll, 49% of Canadians think abortion should be legal under any circumstances, 42% want it legal in at least some cases, and only 5% would ban it outright.

Nevertheless, Campaign Life Coalition has decided to sabotage the chances of a Conservative majority victory by surveying MPs and publicizing a stupendously long list of 108 anti-abortion MPs, most of them Conservatives. Actually, the list comprises those who oppose the awarding of the Order of Canada to Dr. Henry Morgentaler, but it’s safe to assume that MP’s who take a public position against the award have a problem with abortion rights. This is in defiance of the sentiments of most Canadians since one of the few reputable polls done (Ipsos Reid, July) found that 65% of Canadians support the Order of Canada award for Dr. Morgentaler.

The large increase of known anti-choice MPs in Parliament spells trouble for abortion rights if Harper wins a majority Conservative government. We could easily be looking at a new Parliament with a clear majority of anti-choice MPs. Not only will they have the power to pass anti-abortion bills, they can be counted upon to use it. Prior to the election call, at least three private member bills were in play, which would either restrict abortion or endanger abortion rights. These bills will probably be re-introduced in the next session, along with a government bill making pregnancy an aggravating factor in assaults on women. We have not seen the wording of this latter bill, and some women’s groups fear it could also lead to restrictions on women’s rights.

Further, the Liberal caucus harbours a frightening number of anti-choice MPs – more than a quarter of them – 28%, compared to the 20% known in 2006. Stéphane Dion needs to make clear to his MPs and candidates that the Liberal Party is officially pro-choice. He must rein in his anti-choice MPs by requiring them to vote against anti-abortion bills, or at least absent themselves from abortion-related votes.

Most Canadians will not vote for the Conservatives if they fear that Harper will allow restrictions against abortion to pass. We need to get the word out that a majority Conservative government would do just that.

List of Anti-Choice MPs

Note: Please email info@arcc-cdac.ca if you have additional information or any correction for this list. Thank you!)

Total Anti-choice MPsAt least:                 123 of 304 (40%)
* As many as:         148 of 304 (49%)
Conservative Party (anti-choice)At least:                  95 of 127 (75%)
* As many as:         119 of 127 (94%)
Liberal Party (anti-choice)At least:                   26 of 95 (27%)
* As many as:           27 of 95 (28%)
Other (anti-choice)2 Independents (out of 4)
Total Pro-Choice MPs** Approximately 125 of 304 (41%)
Total MPs with unknown stanceBetween 30 and 54, of 304 (9-18%)

* The higher figures include 24 Conservative MP’s and 1 Liberal MP who voted in favour of Bill C-484 but who have no other known public position on abortion, including no position on the Order of Canada award. It’s possible they are not anti-choice, However, they are included in the list below.

** This estimate includes Conservative and Liberal MPs with a public pro-choice position, as well as all Bloc Quebecois and NDP MP’s on the assumption they are pro-choice.

Members of Parliament
Designated Anti-Choice During
2004 or 2006 Federal Election (1)
Order of Canada
for Dr. M (2)
Voted for
Bill C-484 at Second Reading (3)
Conservative Party of Canada   
Jim Abbott
Diane Ablonczy
Harold Albrecht
Mike Allen
Dean Allison
Rona Ambrose 
Rob Anders
David L. Anderson
John Baird * No response
Leon Benoit
James Bezan 
Jean-Pierre Blackburn * No response
Steven Blaney * Refused to say
Garry Breitkreuz
Gordon Brown
Patrick Brown 
Rod Bruinooge
Blaine Calkins 
Ron Cannan * Refused to say
Colin Carrie
Rick Casson
Michael Chong * No response
Tony Clement * No response
  Joe Comuzzi
John Cummins
Patricia Davidson
Stockwell Day
Dean Del Mastro
Barry Devolin 
Norman Doyle
Rick Dykstra
David Emerson * No response
Ken Epp
Edward Fast 
Diane Finley * Refused to say
Brian Fitzpatrick
Jim FlahertyNo responseAbsent
Steven Fletcher * No response
Royal Galipeau
Cheryl Gallant
Peter Goldring
Gary Goodyear
Jacques Gourdes * No response
Nina Grewal
Helena Guergis * No response
Art Hanger
Stephen Harper 
Richard Harris
Luc Harvey 
Laurie Hawn 
Loyola Hearn
Russ Hiebert
Jay HillNo response
Betty Hinton * Refused to say
Rahim Jaffer * No response
Brian JeanRefused to say
Randy Kamp
Gerald Keddy * No response
Jason Kenney
Wajid Khan
Ed Komarnicki
Daryl Kramp
Michael Lake 
Guy Lauzon
Denis Lebel * No response
Pierre Lemieux
Tom Lukiwski
James Lunney
Gary LunnRefused to say
Peter MacKay 
Dave MacKenzie * No response
Fabian Manning * No response
Inky Mark * No response
Colin Mayes 
Ted MenziesRefused to say
Rob MerrifieldRefused to say
Larry Miller 
Bob Mills
James MooreNo response
Rob Moore
Rob Nicholson
Rick Norlock * No response
Deepak ObhraiNo response
Bev Oda * No response
Brian Pallister
(paired, absent)
Christian Paradis * No response
Daniel Petit * No response
Pierre Poilievre  
Joe Preston 
James Rajotte
Scott Reid  No response
Lee Richardson  
Gerry Ritz  
Andrew Scheer  
Gary Schellenberger * Refused to say
Bev Shipley 
Carol Skelton  
Joy Smith  
(paired, absent)
Monte Solberg  
Kevin Sorenson  
Bruce Stanton 
Brian Storseth 
Chuck Strahl  
David Sweet
Greg Thompson  
Myron Thompson  
David Tilson * No response
Vic Toews  
Bradley Trost  
Mervin Tweed 
David Van Kesteren
Peter Van Loan 
Maurice Vellacott 
Mike Wallace 
Mark Warawa
Christopher Warkentin 
Jeff Watson  
John Williams  
Lynne Yelich  
Liberal Party   
Don Bell Nay
Raymond Bonin
Wayne EasterNay
Mark Eyking  Refused to sayAbsent
John GodfreyRefused to sayNay
Albina Guarnieri  
Charles HubbardNo response
Jim Karygiannis 
Derek Lee 
Gurbax MalhiNo response
Lawrence MacAuley  
John Maloney
Joe McGuire  
John McKay 
Dan McTeague  
Shawn Murphy
Massimo Pacetti 
Lloyd St. Amand * No response
Paul Steckle  
Paul Szabo  
Robert Thibault 
Alan Tonks  
Joe Volpe  Refused to sayAbsent
Tom Wappel  
Bryon Wilfert Absent
Borys Wrzesnewskyi  
Paul Zed  Absent
André Arthur 
Bill CaseyAbsent

These are the 24 Conservative MP’s and 1 Liberal MP who voted in favour of Bill C-484 but who have no other known public position on abortion, including no position on the Order of Canada award. It’s possible they are not anti-choice, but they are included in the above list. (Please email info@arcc-cdac.ca if you have additional information.)

Column 1 — Anti-choice MPs were listed during the 2004 or 2006 election. Criteria: They had an anti-choice voting record, or had publicly spoken at or attended events organized by anti-choice groups, or had publicly stated they are “pro-life” or would support abortion only in limited circumstances. Note:  Conservative MP Gordon O’Connor has been removed from the 2006 anti-choice list for voting against Bill C-484 and supporting Dr. M’s Order of Canada.

Column 2 — Whether the MP publicly opposed the awarding of the Order of Canada to Dr. Henry Morgentaler, according to a survey conducted by Campaign Life Coalition. Column 3 — Whether the MP voted in favour of Bill C-484 (“Unborn Victims of Crime Act”) at 2nd reading in Parliament on March 5, 2008. Note: Some pro-choice MPs voted in favour of Bill C-484, including Peter Stoffer (NDP), and Liberal MP’s John Cannis, Raymond Chan, Roy Cullen, Sukh Dhaliwal, Francis Scarpallegia, Raymond Simard, and Roger Valley.


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