After a Conservative MP defended the pro-life position, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised to defeat any pro-life legislation limiting abortion that backbencher MPs may introduce in Parliament.
A row over abortion today started when comments Conservative MP Brad Trost made at the Saskatchewan Pro-life Association convention came to light where he suggested the federal government has decided to deny funding to the International Planned Parenthood Federation abortion business. After a lengthy debate over funding the abortion giant in the United States, the comments drew an immediate controversy in the Canadian press.
Trost defended his remarks today he said he is “very proud of the work that I’ve done to help de-fund the International Planned Parenthood Federation and we’ve been able to de-fund it for the last 16 months.”
“We don’t know if it’s going to get funding after the election. That’s why I said what I said to encourage people to continue to talk about it,” he added.
“I cannot tell you specifically how we used it but those petitions were very, very useful and they were part of what we used to de-fund Planned Parenthood, because it has been absolute disgrace that this organization and several others like it have been receiving one penny of Canadian taxpayers’ dollars,” Trost said at the pro-life conference about the organization’s efforts to urge MPs to drop abortion funding, but he added the fight has not finished. “Now, you should know, they’re still trying to get their snout back in the public trough.”
“I take this stand because I believe it’s compassionate, it’s caring and I also take this stand because these dollars could be better allocated to organizations that are more efficient and I believe more compassionate and more caring,” he said.
Officially, the Canadian government has neither accepted nor denied a request from the abortion business for $18 million in taxpayer funding to promote and perform abortions across the globe.
Paul Bell, a spokesman with the International Planned Parenthood Federation, told the Leader Post it appeared the Canadian government would not renew its funding for the first time in 40 years because the application submitted in 2009 was ignored.
“What this government has made clear is that it won’t fund actual abortions, so that is what our bid was based on,” Bell told Postmedia News. “I know that last year, (Brad Trost) was pushing this hard anti-Planned Parenthood agenda and it is the kind of rhetoric that we observe all the time coming out of the U.S. It is the same language, it is the same tactics.”
Harper responded to the dust-up today by saying the Conservative government will never endorse pro-life legislation as long as he is the Prime Minister.
“As long as I’m prime minister, we are not reopening the abortion debate,” he said. “The government will not bring forward any such legislation, and any such legislation that is brought forward will be defeated. This is not the priority of the Canadian people, or of this government. The priority is the economy. That’s what we’re going to focus on.”
“In our party, as in any broadly based party, there are people with a range of views on this issue,” he told reporters, and would not answer a question about his own views on abortion, saying, “My position is I’m not opening this debate. I don’t want it opened, I have not wanted it opened, I haven’t opened it as prime minister. I’m not going to open it. The public doesn’t want to open it. It’s not the priority of the Canadian public or this government, and it will not be.”
Harper voted against a modest bill in the Parliament that would have provided protection for women and unborn children who are victims of violent crimes outside the context of abortion.
Trost, according to news reports, responded to the Prime Minister’s comments, saying, “I know he has no interest whatsoever, as does most of the cabinet, in opening the abortion issue. I represent a constituency that has been historically represented not just by pro-life Conservatives, pro-life New Democrats, pro-life Liberals, in fact the Green Party candidate that ran in the last time was strongly pro-life.”
“He’s been very clear about where he is on the life issue and I’m very clear on it. So I think if there’s ever a day that there’s a clear demonstration that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Brad Trost think differently, this is it. And I respect him and he respects me. We’re both individual members of Parliament. Yeah, his views have considerably more weight than mine,” he added.
Meanwhile, International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda issued a statement later today saying Planned Parenthood may be eligible for funding if it does not request any money for abortions.
“If Planned Parenthood submits an application that falls within the government’s parameters for the G8 Muskoka Initiative, there will be funding,” she said.