This election season started off like most others in Canada: with a host of feigned outrage over a collection of minor pseudo-scandals, while the opposition parties accused Stephen Harper of being a borderline fascist while he in turn accused them of being in a conspiracy to rob him of the PMO. In short, nothing of substance is being discussed, since nothing of great significance has changed since the last time Canadians went to the polls, except for the fact that the Liberal Party has managed to procure a leader who can actually speak English.
In order to spice things up, the opposition candidates have decided to use abortion, a word they generally discard for something more fuzzy and Canadian sounding like “the woman’s right to choose” as a political bludgeon to portray each other as being insensitive towards women.
Green Party leader Elizabeth May, whose absence from the leadership debates was a relief to those of us who found the debates painful to watch in the first place, has rushed to clarify her party’s position on abortion, stating that “I’ve been a feminist all my life, or at least as long as I’ve been conscious of being a woman...women must have access to legal, safe abortions whenever a woman needs one.” She continued on to say that “It’s a personally difficult decision. You can’t trivialize how hard that choice is. But a woman has a right to make that choice, and it’s not a morally wrong decision by any means”. She described her position on abortion as “very militant.”
The Liberal Party of Canada and their leader Michael Ignatieff sent out an indignant press release on April 15, accusing officially pro-choice Conservative Heritage Minister James Moore of having written a pro-life op-ed in university. After quoting Moore’s cynical attitude toward the medical necessity of abortion, the press release intones in righteous indignation that “in the face of such shocking extremism—not to mention the incalculable insult to women who may face such a profound and life-altering decision—silence is simply not an option. Mr. Moore, you owe the women of Canada an explanation.”
Jack Layton and the New Democratic Party one-upped everyone with a press release following a town hall meeting that Ignatieff held in Vancouver. “Michael Ignatieff today professed his personal support for abortion access,” the press release intones, “What he didn’t tell the crowd gathered at his town hall in Vancouver? In December 10 Liberal MPs stood up in favour of a Conservative private member’s bill that risked criminalizing abortion providers and promoted an anti-choice agenda.”
The one federal party avoiding the abortion topic, of course, is Stephen Harper and his Conservatives—Harper himself because he wants to stay as far away from socially conservative issues as possible, and the rest of the Conservative caucus has been either muzzled or share the pro-choice views of the opposition parties
Due to the fact that a number of federal parties seemed to want to make abortion an issue in their current election campaigns, a number of my pro-life friends and I decided to attempt discussions concerning abortion on the Facebook pages of these parties. After all, if supporting the right of a woman to choose an abortion is considered by them to be pivotal to the point where any MP who even appears to be pro-life is labelled as extremist and called upon for an apology, then surely these parties would welcome a clarification of their views and enjoy publicizing their support for a practice that they apparently consider to be a fundamental human right. There are over 100,000 abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy in Canada every year, a status quo which these parties do not only uphold, but defend with ferocity.
However, soon after pro-life comments or questions about abortion began being posted on these Facebook pages, they were promptly deleted by the administrators of these sites. Pro-lifers asking questions concerning abortion and the positions of the federal parties were even blocked from making further comments. Pro-lifers were blocked from Jack Layton’s page, the Green Party’s Page, and the Liberal Party’s page.
Comments such as: “A majority of Liberal MP’s opposed Bill C-150, which would have made it a criminal offense to coerce a woman to have an abortion. Why is the Liberal Party opposed to protecting a woman’s right to choose to carry her pregnancy to term?” were deleted and the posters blocked.
Comments were soon being deleted a mere 25 seconds after being posted. The news release condemning James Moore’s supposedly pro-life stance, which had been posted on the Facebook page of the Liberal Party of British Columbia, was completely pulled off the site to stop a discussion on abortion taking place below it. LifeSiteNews.com, an international website which follows news concerning issues of life and family, soon noticed this trend and published the following article last night:
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, April 19, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-life advocates who posted questions and comments regarding abortion on the Liberal Party in British Columbia’s Facebook page, have been shocked to find their comments repeatedly deleted and names blocked by site administration.
Earlier this week, a few comments were left on the Facebook page relating to the Liberal Party’s “socially liberal” and “left” stance.
One pro-lifer, under the name “Suzana Glaves Kovacic,” posed a question regarding the Liberal Party’s position on abortion. Kovacic’s comment was also soon deleted and she was blocked from future posting.
“The majority of Liberal MPs opposed Bill C510, which would have made it a criminal offence to coerce a woman to have an abortion,” wrote Kovacic. “Why is the Liberal Party unwilling to protect a woman’s right to choose to carry her pregnancy to term?”
Within a short period of time, other pro-life advocates began posting on the Facebook page, demanding a response from the Liberal Party on the abortion issue. Posters referenced and linked to photographs and explanations of partial birth abortions.
One post, under the name “Cameron Wilson,” called on Liberal politicians to answer the question, “will you stand up for the rights of all Canadians or stand idly by while they get dismembered?” accompanied by a picture of a late-term abortion victim.
All postings were deleted and the persons who posted were blocked by site administration.
LifeSiteNews contacted the Executive Director of the Liberal Party in B.C., but has received no reply.
Today, the administration of the Facebook page has again censored comments. A comment, posted under the name “John Vander Thames,” was captured by LifeSiteNews at 14:00 EST and deleted from the site by 14:35 EST.
“John Vander Thames” wrote, “Why is everything on abortion, which the Liberal Party supports, being completely wiped off the Facebook Page? Does the Liberal party have the principle to stand behind a practice it supports? Shrieking about censorship on the part of the conservatives while censoring discussion on a topic the Liberal Party chose to bring up in the first place is scarcely a cogent position.”
Jim Hughes, president of the national pro-life political arm, Campaign Life Coalition, told LifeSiteNews that the political parties’ avoidance of the abortion issue “flies in the face of our democratic rights.”
“The transparency that all the voters deserve from all the political parties in this country has been clouded by the desire of the parties to decide on the agenda themselves,” said Hughes. “They don’t want to hear from grassroots Canadians on what issues are important to them, they want to impose the issues that they want to pursue, on behalf of the people, so to speak.“
“That’s why, even though the majority of the people in the country want some legislation restricting abortion in Canada, it never comes up. The party leaders are fearful of the topic, let alone the issue.”
It is crystal clear that while the federal parties want to use abortion as a political weapon against each other, they do not want to discuss the issue openly. While the opposition parties accuse Harper of censorship, they would rather pull press releases from their websites than discuss what those press releases entail. They want to be characterized as "pro-choice", but oppose to the point of censorship what that choice actually is.
The Green Party, the Liberal Party, and the New Democratic Party do not want to discuss abortion and will avoid the topic at all costs.
Perhaps we should ask ourselves why?