Secret parliamentary caucus targets abortion rights

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Unionist
Secret parliamentary caucus targets abortion rights

[url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081228.wabortion122...
MP wants to reopen abortion debate[/url]

Quote:

The new chairman of a secretive Parliamentary caucus opposed to abortion is pledging to rekindle the abortion debate in Canada and bring "more value" to the lives of unborn children.

Although Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said he's not interested in reopening the divisive issue, Winnipeg MP Rod Bruinooge told The Canadian Press people need to be better educated about Canada's abortion stance, which he says puts the country in a "class of its own."

"Very few Canadians appreciate the fact that essentially until a child takes its first breath, it has less value than a kidney," says Mr. Bruinooge. ...

Mr. Bruinooge wouldn't say how many MPs are formally part of the caucus, but said there are supporters from every party. ...

Erin Leigh, acting executive director of Canadians for Choice, says the anti-abortion caucus has been around for years, trying to work behind the scenes to resurrect the abortion debate.

 

 

Doug

The good side of this is that perhaps it reveals that Stephen Harper can't make his loonier MPs shut up anymore.

Loretta

From the article:

Quote:

As a result of the government's failure to fill the legislative void created by that ruling, he said, laws governing organ transplants are tougher than those that pertain to abortion. For instance, Mr. Bruinooge said that it is illegal for an individual to have a kidney removed and auction it off on eBay.

This is not a valid comparison. It may be illegal to auction a kidney on eBay but I'm guessing that it is not legal to auction the result of an abortion on eBay either. More simplistic reasoning, brought to us by the Conservative Party of Canada.

Unionist

A simpler refutation is that it is not unlawful to voluntarily have a kidney removed.

Maysie Maysie's picture

This says it all:

Quote:
 “Your kidneys have more protection than an unborn child until the moment it is out of the woman,” Mr. Bruinooge said.

"out of the woman". Yup, the woman as vessel. Jebus cripes this shit is getting old. 

Unionist

I think he meant, "out of the womb-an".

 

remind remind's picture

Notice how it is never women leading these charges in parliament? And notice how he targets "all parties" as having repesentatives in this "caucus" so as to spread the perception it is just not the looney tune misogynists?

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"watching the tide roll away"

duncan cameron

The caucus chair has gone public on what he is up to http://www.nationalpost.com/todays_paper/story.html?id=1121520.

Ghislaine

duncan cameron wrote:
The caucus chair has gone public on what he is up to http://www.nationalpost.com/todays_paper/story.html?id=1121520.[/quote]

Yes, and a lot of what he says in the piece makes no sense. He continually states that a kidney has more rights than a fetus, but never provides an example of how this is true. I cannot think of one way in which this is true. You are not allowed to see a kidney or a fetus on ebay. Anyways, I do not see how this helps in argument in any way. <

Towards the end of the article, he says this:

 "

Being aboriginal and having grown up in post-Morgentaler Canada, I find I enter this public discourse with a context that I hope will be beneficial to the multi-party Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus, which I now chair. I believe Canada's indigenous people have a unique perspective on many subjects including the unborn. My aboriginal elders have taught me that the cycle of life honours both birth and death, and respect for the unborn is a foundation of this philosophy. "

 I have never heard of a connection between Aboriginal philosophy and the pro-life movement and thought. Has anyone else heard of this or is he just making it up?

Unionist

What difference does it make? If he doesn't want to have an abortion, no one is forcing him to.

Anyway, Ghislaine, how many religions (other than newly-minted ones) are you familiar with that respect women's freedom of choice? I don't mean religious people, because obviously the majority of them do. I mean, organized bodies of religious faith that have existed for at least a few centuries?

 

Ghislaine

Unionist wrote:

What difference does it make? If he doesn't want to have an abortion, no one is forcing him to.

Anyway, Ghislaine, how many religions (other than newly-minted ones) are you familiar with that respect women's freedom of choice? I don't mean religious people, because obviously the majority of them do. I mean, organized bodies of religious faith that have existed for at least a few centuries?

 

 

Well, zero unionist. But, I have always thought of Aboriginal spirituality as more reasonable and attractive than the major religions of the world.

Unionist

Ghislaine, Rod Bruinooge is a neo-con creep. His only spirituality is Rod Bruinooge.

If the Métis people had deep-seated spiritual opposition to women's freedom to choose, you would have heard that long before, wouldn't you?

You wouldn't need to hear it from a parliamentary secretary appointed by that noted ally of Aboriginal nations Stephen Harper, would you?

But Ghislaine, rather than turn this into a religious discussion, do you have any opinions on MPs forming a secret caucus (they won't reveal its membership) to roll back women's right to choose?

 

martin dufresne

It seems to me that calling organized opponents of women's rights "creeps" or "looney tune" and different from The Grim Harper's politics is whistling in the dark.

remind remind's picture

Huh?

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"watching the tide roll away"

Maysie Maysie's picture

martin, I need to request that you refrain from being so purposely disrespectful. We're all on the same side on this, and this kind of meanness is not helpful. Thank you.

martin dufresne

I'll bow to your reading of my post and shelf the abrasive attitude, but I still don't see how it was "mean" to resist any diminishment of the purposefulness and strategy of our opponents. I do think it is inappropriately reassuring to think of them as fools.

Ghislaine

Unionist wrote:

Ghislaine, Rod Bruinooge is a neo-con creep. His only spirituality is Rod Bruinooge.

If the Métis people had deep-seated spiritual opposition to women's freedom to choose, you would have heard that long before, wouldn't you?

You wouldn't need to hear it from a parliamentary secretary appointed by that noted ally of Aboriginal nations Stephen Harper, would you?

But Ghislaine, rather than turn this into a religious discussion, do you have any opinions on MPs forming a secret caucus (they won't reveal its membership) to roll back women's right to choose?

 

I think that the fact that this alleged caucus is secret and that not one other member (if there are any) will come forward speaks to the level of success they will acheive.

 I am curious to see if any First Nations women's leaders will refute some of Bruinooge's claims.

Unionist

martin dufresne wrote:
I'll bow to your reading of my post and shelf the abrasive attitude, but I still don't see how it was "mean" to resist any diminishment of the purposefulness and strategy of our opponents. I do think it is inappropriately reassuring to think of them as fools.

Who called them "fools", martin, before you used that word? Who diminished their strategic purposefulness? Who opened this thread?

Are we not allowed to call Stephen Harper a "creep" or an "asshole" now, for fear that that may diminish the danger he poses?

How about a retraction, instead of just "bowing" to Maysie's reading of your comments?

remind remind's picture

Martin, I am fully aware of how dangerous they are, and I am not reassured at all by the fact they are bat shit crazy, in fact quite the opposite,  but that does not stop them from being looney tune misogynists.

Ghislaine, how disengenuous of you to be in this thread.

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"watching the tide roll away"

Unionist

Ghislaine wrote:

I am curious to see if any First Nations women's leaders will refute some of Bruinooge's claims.

Ghislaine, I'll try to control my temper here. You have made your views on abortion known very very clearly in the past. Now you're "curious" to see whether a "First Nations women's leader" will fall into the trap of debating with this low-life bastard Bruinooge (sorry martin, I don't mean to diminish the threat by calling him a piece of shit)?

I would be extremely disturbed if any Aboriginal leader, of any sex, or anyone else, started a public debate about whether Rod Bruinooge is correctly upholding what you quaintly refer to as "Aboriginal philosophy".

The task facing progressive people is to expose and crush this attempt, among others, to attack women's rights - not to create contradictions between women's rights and some shithead's phoney freedom of "religion". As if we don't have enough priests, rabbis, imams, popes, and the like attacking women's rights...

Summer

this whole thing is so infuriating.  If you don't like abortion, then don't have one and leave the rest of us alone.  A woman's right to control her own body is a basic human right and should not be up for debate.   Is there a politician out there brave enough to say so?  Now that the secret of the anti-choice caucus is out, can Harper maintain his silence on the issue or will he have to take a stand? 

Loretta

Unionist wrote:
A simpler refutation is that it is not unlawful to voluntarily have a kidney removed.

I don't agree that it's a simpler refutation. There is a lot of mandatory counselling involved in having a kidney removed and that's something the right pushes around abortion, too. Although the end goal of counselling around a kidney removal isn't to have the person talked out of their decision, that's certainly the goal of much so-called counselling around abortion. Which is why I didn't make the removal itself the parallel in my initial response.

ETA: Summer, the NDP platform in the most recent election included this statement (from http://www.ndp.ca/platform/otherpriorities/equality):

Quote:

Reaffirm women’s right to safe therapeutic abortion services.

I hope that we hear a strong counter-statement to this regressive move from those politicians who are pro-choice soon.

remind remind's picture

Loretta wrote:
Summer, the NDP platform in the most recent election included this statement (from http://www.ndp.ca/platform/otherpriorities/equality):

Reaffirm women’s right to safe therapeutic abortion services.

I hope that we hear a strong counter-statement to this regressive move from those politicians who are pro-choice soon.

What? I missed that in their platform, and I am really pissed now, and am writing a letter...

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"watching the tide roll away"

Loretta

remind wrote:

What? I missed that in their platform, and I am really pissed now, and am writing a letter...

?

Summer

"therapeutic abortion services":  a legally induced abortion for medical reasons (as when the mother's life is threatened) http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=define%3A+therapeutic+abortion+&meta=

That does not protect the woman's right to choose.  That is effectively the pre-Morgentaler situation.

Loretta

Well, that's interesting. I always thought of therapeutic abortion as the medical procedure as opposed to spontaneous abortion or miscarriage. I will have to delve further into this since I believe that a woman's right to choose is supported by many of the NDP MPs.

Unionist

Good point, remind. I can't believe that's in the platform. And Loretta, if it's only "many of the NDP MPs" that support choice, the NDP has a serious problem.

remind remind's picture

Letters written and sent to every NDP MP, at their own and parliament email, and to the federal org, and every riding association, also requested an immediate public statement saying that there is no NDP MP that was part of this secret caucus.Yell

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"watching the tide roll away"

genstrike

http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2003/jun/03060403.html

http://www.lifesitenews.com/elections/provincial/Manitoba/2003/results.html

Looks like in addition to Stoffer, who voted for C-484, Maloway has been rated as "pro-life and pro-family" by an anti-choice group while he was an MLA.  And he isn't the only pro-life Manitoba NDP MLA either...

Loretta

Unionist wrote:
Good point, remind. I can't believe that's in the platform. And Loretta, if it's only "many of the NDP MPs" that support choice, the NDP has a serious problem.

Is the right to choose not NDP party policy? I've been reading various statements by different NDP MPs regarding support for a "woman's right to choose" but haven't gone through all of them yet. And, obviously, some of them don't have much on their websites yet but I am definitely challenged to find out more.

We must be ready to deal with this threat, which has never gone away and is now out in the open again.

 

remind remind's picture

Well it was a good thing I did not trash them when I wrote to them, eh, martin? I asked that they reword the position more clearly and take out all nuances, as well as to step forward publically and denounce any participation by NDP MP's in this secret caucus.

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"watching the tide roll away"

martin dufresne

Hear hear! Smile

jas

What a moron. Of all the issues and crises facing us today, this is what he wants to forge his career on? As Doug suggests, it's probably a good thing. Winnipeggers are conservative, but not that conservative. This kind of issue will leave urban voters cold. And will merely embarass a Conservative caucus that already has much to be ashamed about. Bruinooge is an idiot. Hail Mary! What else have they got up their sleeves? Bring it on!

 

 

 

Summer

ETA:  Martin, the NDP uses the term, "therapeutic medical abortion".  It seems you are defining "medical abortion". 

 I don't profess to be an expert.  I linked to the page that comes up when you google "therapeutic medical abortion".  It's not the word medical that causes the problem Martin, it's therapeutic.  If you take out medical and look up "therapeutic abortion" on google, you get these definitions:  http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=define%3A+therapeutic+abortion&meta=  four out of five of involve preserving the woman's health.  Is therapeutic medical abortion simply another way of saying medical abortion or does therapeutic have some extra meaning?  Any doctors out there know?

 This article, for one, distinguishes "therapeutic abortions" from "elective abortions"  http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/266440-overview.

Quote:
US statistics indicate that the vast majority of abortions are elective. Therapeutic abortion is rare. The ability to define therapeutic abortion performed for maternal indications is difficult because of the subjective nature of decisions made about potential morbidity and mortality in pregnant women. A variety of medical conditions in pregnant women have the potential to affect health and cause complications that may be life threatening.

Even at its broadest where the "health of the mother" encompasses mental health, there are problems.  If I get pregnant and choose to abort it is simply because I don't want a baby.  It has nothing to do with my mental health. 

 

 

remind remind's picture

Therapeutic abortions medically means for the health of the woman. Which is why I asked the NDP to rephrase how they worded their platform comment.

They should simply have something like, "pledge to uphold women's Charter Rights, to physical self-determination".

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"watching the tide roll away"

George Victor

Observations... 

"We must be ready to deal with this threat, which has never gone away and is now out in the open again. "

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"What a moron. Of all the issues and crises facing us today, this is what he wants to forge his career on? As Doug suggests, it's probably a good thing. Winnipeggers are conservative, but not that conservative. This kind of issue will leave urban voters cold. And will merely embarass a Conservative caucus that already has much to be ashamed about. Bruinooge is an idiot. Hail Mary! What else have they got up their sleeves? Bring it on! "

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BRING IT ON?

Oh yeah, right, Dubya!

But does anyone imagine, in their wildest dreams, that this is being "brought on" without the direction of the field marshall? Not brought on to take attention from Steve-the-economist-Harper's  economic predictions a couple of months back?  The resulting unemployment and slough of despond?

It's only the first of several diversions to be floated.

genstrike

genstrike wrote:

I don't know if all Winnipeggers are all that conservative.  We have 3 NDP MPs, 1 Liberal, and 4 Conservatives, which is a pretty even split.  Provincially, the PCs have been almost wiped out of Winnipeg.

You know you've spent too much time on babble when you start arguing with yourself, but...

Now that I think about it, Winnipeggers aren't particularly not-conservative either.  Of those NDP MPs, one of them is Pat Martin and the other is "pro-life and pro-family" Jim Maloway, who almost lost Transcona.  And the provincial NDP... lets not go there.  And as far as municipal politics goes, there are only about four progressive councillors out of 15 and we haven't had a progressive mayor (unless you count Glen Murray) since 1942.

And back on-topic, this doesn't seem to be hurting Bruinooge all that much.  Although I would be interested to see who exactly makes up this secret society, particularly in the opposition MPs (Maloway?)

martin dufresne

A quick survey of "medical abortion" definitions turns out a variety of meanings, other than the one offered by "Summer".

For instance:

Statistics Canada uses it as a synonym of induced abortions. They explain: "The annual Therapeutic Abortion Survey collects information on demographic and medical characteristics of women obtaining a legally induced abortion in Canada. (...) The title of the survey retains the word 'therapeutic' for the sake of historical
continuity. When the survey began in late 1969, a woman could only obtain an abortion for health reasons. In 1988, with the removal of abortion from the Criminal Code, a reason for obtaining an abortion was no longer required."

So does the Toronto Health Dept.: "Therapeutic Abortion refers to deliberate termination of pregnancy resulting in the death of the fetus or embryo. It is used to refer to induced abortions rather than spontaneous abortions or miscarriages.

Yet another source defines "therapeutic abortion" as "Abortion that is brought about intentionally. Also called an artificial or induced abortion. As opposed to a spontaneous abortion (a miscarriage). (MedicineNet.com)

martin dufresne

"Therapeutic abortions medically means for the health of the woman"

 

Not for a number of sources, including some rather authoritative ones.

 

"Which is why I asked the NDP to rephrase how they worded their platform
comment"

 

Good idea.

 

"They should simply have something like, "pledge to uphold women's Charter Rights, to physical self-determination"."

 

Much too vague, as it brings in all kinds of other controversial decisions that can be deemed to be about a person's body:  lifestyle, suicide, etc. Dragging abortion rights down to such a libertarian politic would be, IMO, sacrificing an important political victory of women, one more substantive than any of the ideologies that can be used to rationalize it..

I think the simplest solution would be for the NDP to simply avoid prefacing the word abortion by any qualifier in their platform.

Sarann

If the pro lifers were really pro lifers, eh.  If they marched against war and sending young men to die.  And protested seeing children blown up and being the victims of cluster bombs.  Or the homeless dying in the streets.  Are they concerned with saving the foetus in order to have young men to send to war.  What hypocracy. 

It's probably true Mr. Harper is letting this particular cat out of the bag to deflect our attention from other things.  Fairly typical I'd say.

remind remind's picture

I agree with that george!

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"watching the tide roll away"

martin dufresne

I think conspiracy theories tend to stick around because no one cares enough about them to refute them, especially seeing as how their proponents seem so happy about them you get the feeling you're raining on their parade.

But in this specific case... come on! All pundits were predicting reelelection with a majority gov't for Harper when C-484 hit the fan. Clearly, Harper had enough at stake in the abortion issue to go out on a plank supporting this Bill and his MP with nearly every vote he could control. And it cost him that majority gov't.

I stand by my earlier assessment: Calling the possible return of this legislation - and quite possibly as a gov't bill - a diversion and its proponents loonier, looneytune, batshit crazy or whatever is minimizing how much the patriarchy wants women back in line and how close they are to succeeding in taking away that one (relative) freedom.

remind remind's picture

Martin, apparently you have no idea as a man, how much women realize that MEN, want women back in line, just as we have always realized it. We CAN realize several things at a time you know.

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"watching the tide roll away"

martin dufresne

I am well aware that women realize it. I am hypothesizing that anyone referring to patriarchal assaulters of women's rights as looney tune, crazy, seeking a diversion from other issues, etc, is both inaccurate and ineffectual. Do you dispute that?

George Victor

"Steve" loves your sort of "Marquess of Queensbury" voters, Martin. All up front and play the game.

V. Jara

David Akin has a list of some "pro-life" MPs from 2006:

Conservatives

Liberals

Among those MPs that are still around, some only have a weak hold on their seats and could perhaps be defeated with the help of a "pro-choice" third party organisation.

martin dufresne

Good Op-Ed in a B.C. paper. Received from the CCMC PUSH Journal, a daily bulletin with worldwide news about reproductive rights

Revising abortion laws futile
Thursday, 15 January, 2009
North Shore News (British Columbia)

On Dec. 29, it was reported that Rod Bruinooge, a Tory MP from Winnipeg, had formed a secret all-party committee (or so he said, without disclosing any names) on abortion.

The next day, crown prosecutors in Quebec filed an appeal of a Dec. 12 acquittal by a jury of Stéphane Dufour, who had been charged with assisting his uncle to commit suicide.

That's an interesting convergence of events, since they both purport to address the puzzling question of what life is, who may or may not end it and how.

True, for some it's not puzzling at all: Life, defined in its broadest terms, is sacrosanct, period. That means that there is no difference between Terry Schiavo, in a vegetative state for 13 years, and an egg that was fertilized 10 seconds ago. Both must be permitted to carry on with whatever life they have.

That is, of course, a view that people may hold with all sincerity. Its upside, like all dogma, is that it takes away the need to consider the greys, to mull over the possible exceptions, to deliberate over what may appear to be simple cruelty or, at least, indifference to reality. And they are entitled to advocate in its favour with every legitimate means at their disposal.

Persuasion, however, is where it should end.

Our Criminal Code doesn't waste words in its treatment of assisted suicide. S. 241 simply makes it an indictable offence to "counsel" or "aid or abet" any person to commit suicide. The section allows no wriggle room, no graspable out for the terminally ill -- let alone those who are not, but face an inevitable future of crushing pain and incapacity, a life without


even a pretext of quality. So it should come as no surprise that a properly instructed jury might simply ignore the law and conclude that Dufour, a 30-year-old with a mental handicap who had been implored for years by his 49-year-old severely incapacitated uncle to help him die, did no wrong in providing the apparatus with which the older man hanged himself.

The juries that refused to convict Henry Morgentaler were the beginning of the end for abortion laws in this country. Many may have forgotten (and many more have never known) that, as we entered the sixth decade of the 20th century, our criminal law prohibited both birth control and abortion. A double whammy for the female half of the population, at least the birth control part was ignored for decades with a wink and a nudge as millions bought contraceptives under the counter. But there was no such relief once conception had occurred. Women continued to die as they desperately sought to end unwanted pregnancies through an underground network of amateurs in cheap hotel rooms or by mutilating themselves.

Both prohibitions were removed from the Code in 1969. But the ban on abortions was replaced by a complex set of hoops and hurdles women had to jump through or over in order to get approval for the termination of their pregnancies from hospital "committees."

Morgentaler persisted in operating outside that structure and sought to establish free-standing abortion clinics. In the '70s and early '80s, he was charged and faced juries in Quebec and Ontario three times. They all acquitted.

After the third acquittal, the question of the constitutionality of the Criminal Code provisions on abortion was referred to the Supreme Court of Canada. The then chief justice, Brian Dickson, neatly wrapped up the lengthy judgments of the court when he famously (or infamously, depending on your point of view) said, "Forcing a woman by threat of criminal sanction to carry a fetus to term unless she meets certain criteria unrelated to her own priorities and aspirations, is a profound interference with a woman's body and this is a violation of her security of the person."

Had Morgentaler's acquitting juries been required to give reasons, they would probably have said the same.

When Kim Campbell tried to reintroduce some very watered-down abortion controls to the Criminal Code in 1990, they passed the House by a narrow vote but were defeated by a single vote in the Senate.

Reasonable people have continued to debate the moral implications of abortion but there is no evidence that, over the intervening 19 years, there has been a notable deterioration in the moral fabric of Canadian society.

So what are the aims of Bruinhooge's secret committee? Since it was born in a parliamentary context it is reasonable to assume that it will agitate for a revisit by Parliament of restrictions on abortion. If so, it should consider their history -- and the recent acquittal of Dufour. If that jury were to give reasons, it would probably express the same views that led Oregon to pass a "death with dignity" law, or that convinced the Netherlands and Switzerland to allow for a regulated form of euthanasia. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled, in the case of Sue Rodriguez in 1993 that, unlike abortion laws, S.241 did not violate her Charter right to "security of the person" by prohibiting a physician from assisting her in ending her life. But Dufour's acquittal shows that juries will not hesitate, when faced with real people in a real life situation, to ignore the letter of the law.

It is not only acceptable, it is essential that we continue the debate over these issues and do our best to convert opponents. What is unacceptable -- and ultimately futile -- is to try to impose one side's view through legislation.

Jbparadis_9@hotmail.com

martin dufresne

Abortion debate could be reopened despite Harper protests

In spite of controlling tendencies, PM has never quashed anti-abortion Caucus members.

Harper says he will not reopen the abortion debate but has not quashed Rob Bruinooge and others.by Ish Theilheimer

OTTAWA, January 15, 2009 – a special HarperIndex.ca report: Although Stephen Harper has always strongly denied any interest in reopening the abortion debate, he continues to allow his Caucus members to do so. And considering the dramatic reversals he has made on policies as diverse as Senate appointments, income trusts, and fixed elections, pro-choice advocates worry the issue could come back under a Harper majority.

In December Winnipeg Conservative MP Rod Bruinooge, as the chairman of a secretive anti-choice Parliamentary caucus, vowed to reopen the abortion debate in Canada. Aides to Stephen Harper were quick to censure Bruinooge, saying Harper is not interested in reopening the issue. "Throughout his political career, the prime minister has been clear on this issue," said Dimitri Soudas. "We will not introduce or support legislation on abortion."

Harper himself has been consistently taken the same line. "I have been clear throughout my entire political career I don't intend to open the abortion issue," he said last September. "I haven't in the past; I'm not going to in the future."

Harper knows that any suggestion that he supports an abortion ban will alienate the kind of central Canadian urban voters he has spent his political career courting. If he were to achieve the majority government he seeks, however, internal pressure to move on the issue might be overwhelming.

"Although the Prime Minister sent one of his press officers out to slap Bruinooge down," political columnist Geoffrey Stevens comments in StraightGoods.ca, the incident served to reinforce suspicions among the general public that Harper has a secret agenda on certain issues. If he can change his mind on fixed election dates, budget deficits and the appointment of senators, who's to say he cannot or will not change his mind on abortion or same-sex marriage? (...)

jas

With any luck, Bruinooge may not make it back next time. He has upset a number of his constituents with this, many of them feeling betrayed, as it was not an issue raised during the election (and then to have it raised when the Conservatives had already ducked out of Parliament, too, was just horrible optics). He has had to do a bit of damage control with the local press.