Friday, September 29, 2006

Tories kill unborn victims bill

Olivia Talbot, this beautiful mother and her child were murdered in Edmonton. Olivia answered the door and was murdered by an acquaintance. Her son died as well. The father of the baby and the baby's grandmother have been left with the despair of burying two members of their family.

Olivia's mother came to Ottawa to speak on behalf of Mr. Benoit's private member bill to promote justice for unborn children and their families when a crime led to the death of a child in utero. Mr. Harper, Mr. Toews, and other Conservatives are accused of not wanted that bill to see the light of day because of the potential for it to be tied to the abortion issue. It appears that they orchestrated behind the scene efforts to ensure that Mrs. Talbot's advocacy efforts would be unsuccessful.

Tories kill unborn victims bill In the July CLC National News, we reported how it appeared that the Prime Minister’s Office interfered in the decision by a parliamentary subcommittee to deem unvotable a private member’s bill that would have accorded unborn babies rights under the criminal code when their mothers were victims of a violent crime. We reported that Stephen Harper did not want to touch the “abortion issue” and that political interference probably killed the bill, although this was not an abortion issue.

On August 8, the National Post and the Ottawa Citizen confirmed our suspicions when they reported that C-291, an unborn victims of violence bill introduced by Conservative MP Leon Benoit, was killed in committee in June following the interference of Stephen Harper’s PMO. A Freedom of Information enquiry by CanWest reporter Peter O’Neill revealed that Justice Minister Vic Toews was warned in an unsigned briefing note on C-291 from government bureaucrats that, “Any change to the definition of a ‘human being’ in the Criminal Code could have the effect of criminalizing abortion.” That is blatantly untrue: the bill would apply in the case of violence committed against an unborn child only during the commission of a crime of violence against the mother of the unborn child; and the bill did not change the definition of human being, in fact stating “It is not a defence … that … the child is not a human being”.
O’Neill reports that the note from the government bureaucrat also stated, “The government has no plans to propose any reforms in this area of the law.” O’Neill links the latter sentence to Harper’s Jan. 17 statement, “I’ll use whatever influence I have in Parliament to be sure that such a matter doesn’t come to a vote.” Toews sent a letter to the parliamentary subcommittee that subsequently declared the bill unvotable and claiming the bill to be unconstitutional, but did not mention abortion. O’Neill reports that the briefing note provided lines of argument without reference to abortion, to be used by the minister in case he was asked about the bill. Since when is it the responsibility of government bureaucrats, paid with taxpayers’ dollars, to give politicians political (as opposed to policy) advice.
Campaign Life Coalition National Organizer Mary Ellen Douglas labeled the Conservatives’ actions “devious.” “It’s all Harper pulling strings,” Douglas told the Post explaining that Harper is trying to have it both ways in trying to keep his socially conservative base on board while maintaining his campaign promise to use all his power as prime minister to prevent a vote on any abortion-related legislation.
Yet, C-291 is not about abortion but about providing justice for victims of crime. C-291 addresses the legal discrimination against unborn murder victims and their families who have no recourse in law for the loss of their loved ones. Such is the status of the unborn in Canada where the law treats them as non-entities –an injustice that must end.

I sincerely hope that those who are pro-life will remember this at the time they are casting their next ballot.


Blogger SUZANNE said...

I also want to add this little tidbit.

It is strongly suspected in inner pro-life circles that the nomination challenge in Leon Benoit's riding was strongly influenced by his advocacy of a unborn victims of crime bill. It was completely launched out of the blue with no warning so that he would have little time to organize.

However, he's rather popular.

8:24 PM  

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