This is an article about Liberal women denouncing Harper's stand on women's rights... I actually like some things about the conservatives (I am a westerner at heart), but the more I see, the more they seem just like mini-Republicans.
I just feel really wierd seeing any Canadian party use religion or personal morality the way conservatives have in the US for years. I don't like politicians playing at being the last word on morality in this country and found the statement made comparing Nick Berg's beheading with legal abortions completely offensive. Is it just me or are any other Canadians seeing this?
Liberal women join to denounce Harper on abortion
Last Updated Tue, 08 Jun 2004 15:00:45
OTTAWA - Current and former Liberal activists for women's rights are mobilizing against Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, claiming he poses a threat to their cause.
Minister of State (Public Health) Carolyn Bennett, joined former Liberal cabinet ministers on Tuesday to denounce Harper over his stance on abortion and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Harper has repeatedly said he would not introduce abortion legislation or hold a referendum on the issue. But critics are upset that he would allow a free vote on the issue in the House of Commons.
"I think that a woman's right to choose in many many ways, the woman's ability to make decisions on her own body is a hard-fought battle," Bennett said. "We do not want to fight that again."
Judy Erola, who held the status of women portfolio under Pierre Trudeau, said she is troubled that Harper has not ruled out using the notwithstanding clause to override Charter rights.
"We are now talking about using the notwithstanding clause, talking about changing the Charter," Erola said.
"It can't be done. It would just unravel everything that we have gained."
Former Health Minister Monique Begin said she's also concerned about the agenda of the new Conservative Party.
"This is a party we do not really know exactly what it's made of and I find that extremely scary," he said.
The women are also concerned about a comment made by Tory MP Cheryl Gallant at a recent pro-life rally on Parliament Hill attended by some Liberal MPs.
At the rally several weeks ago, Gallant compared abortion to the beheading of American Nicolas Berg by insurgents in Iraq.
"We saw that young American having his head cut off. What's happening, what is happening down there no different," she said.
Harper dismissed Gallant's comment Monday as pro-life rhetoric. "I don't think it's particularly effective."
But Liberal Leader Paul Martin said Gallant's statement was "abhorrent" and Harper should have immediately spoken out against his MP.
"Mr. Harper saw no need to basically single that statement out, one that is absolutely unacceptable."
Gallant's comments at the rally were quoted in The Western Catholic Reporter, a magazine that also contained an article by Liberal MP Paul Steckle, co-chair of the all-party Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus.
Steckle, who also attended the rally, said that without the abortions performed over the last 35 years, Canada would have 3.5 million more people.
"So let's not go on killing those children who can become our future," he was quoted as saying.
Written by CBC News Online staff