P.E.I may have to change abortion policy if Trudeau becomes PM

Teresa Wright
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Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau waves to supporters after he spoke at a party rally in Summerside on Labour Day.

P.E.I is the only province that does not offer abortion services within its boundaries

Prince Edward Island’s controversial policy to not offer abortion services in the province may finally have to change if Justin Trudeau is elected prime minister.

In an exclusive interview with The Guardian Monday during a campaign stop in P.E.I., the federal Liberal leader says he was pleased to see the provincial government has made some moves to allow Island women better access to reproductive health services.

But he hinted the province might have to start offering abortions in the province if he wins the Oct. 19 federal election.

“I recognize that Premier MacLauchlan has made positive steps in the right direction, but it’s important that every Canadian across this country has access to a full range of health services, including full reproductive services, in every province in the country,” Trudeau said.

Prince Edward Island remains the only province that does not offer abortion services within the province. Government does pay for the service, but only if done in a hospital. Private clinic abortions are not covered.

“That’s something that we’re going to continue to discuss across the country with the premiers and concerned citizens,” Trudeau said.

In June, the P.E.I. government did eliminate some barriers that made it especially difficult for Island women to access abortions. Previous requirements that pregnant women obtain two doctors’ referrals, an ultrasound and blood work before travelling out-of-province for an abortion were lifted.

But while this does make access to abortion easier and more streamlined, Prince Edward Island women continue to have to leave the province for an abortion.

P.E.I.’s Liberal Premier Wade MacLauchlan indicated he believes the province is meeting its obligation to offer the service to Prince Edward Island women.

But the Liberal party of Canada passed a resolution during its biennial convention in 2012 to deny transfers to provinces that do not “ensure complete access to (abortion) services or that do not pay for women’s access to this procedure.”

The National Liberal Women’s Commission flagged P.E.I.’s abortion policy in particular when putting forward the resolution.

Trudeau himself has taken a hard line on the political hot potato issue of abortion, proclaiming himself pro-choice and requiring all Liberal MPs to his caucus to support this stance.

But when asked whether he would financially penalize Prince Edward Island if elected prime minister should P.E.I. continue to refuse to offer abortion services in the province, Trudeau took a softer approach.

“I think we’re a long way from consequences like that, but I’m pleased that Prince Edward Island has taken some significant steps in the right direction and I’m continuing to be encouraged by that.”

twright@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/GuardianTeresa

FACT BOX

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau answered questions on a variety of topics when speaking with The Guardian earlier this week. Here’s a taste of what he had to say.

- On the Senate and the fact P.E.I. has only two senators representing the Island:

We will appoint senators through an open, transparent, non-partisan process whereby senators will be expected to be good representatives for their regions and make decisions based on the best interests of the country, and not political or partisan considerations. Removing patronage and political fundraising from the Senate, as we saw with Mike Duffy, will go a long way toward improving its capacity to be that voice for the diverse regions of this country.

“I recognize that Premier MacLauchlan has made positive steps in the right direction, but it’s important that every Canadian across this country has access to a full range of health services, including full reproductive services" Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau

- On P.E.I. Senator Mike Duffy:

I’m not a constitutional expert, but it seems to me that if the constitution says you should live in the province you seek to represent, then you should actually live in the province you seek to represent. No, I don’t think he’s a Prince Edward Islander.

- On job creation, in light of news P.E.I. has lost 2,200 jobs in the last year:

The first thing that Islanders need is a federal government that’s going to be an actual partner to provincial governments right across the country…That’s why, on top of being a better partner… we’re actually planning on investing in Canada in infrastructure, in social infrastructure, in green and sustainable infrastructure to start creating jobs right across the country.

- On changes to employment insurance:

We’ve committed to repealing the Conservatives’ ill-thought-through reforms of employment insurance, because their attack on seasonal industries is just irresponsible. They keep talking about seasonal workers, but of course as people know, it’s seasonal industries, not seasonal workers.

 

 

Organizations: The Guardian

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Canada, National Liberal Women

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Recent comments

  • Peter in Ontario
    September 13, 2015 - 10:29

    I wonder how many posters here actually "know" why abortion services are no longer provided in PEI, for island women? Regardless or a persons stance, be it pro-life or pro-choice, how many actually know the reason for this policy?

  • God Fearing
    September 11, 2015 - 22:00

    Them that kill da babies will burn in the firy pits. Same as the gays marrieds, and the rest.are iland has been this way for thousand of years! Repent! When our father come back he will take the ones that praise. that is all now.women take care of yer husbands and such,

  • Eastern Observer
    September 11, 2015 - 14:02

    What a picture!!! The three stooges that Islanders keep voting for and sending to Ottawa, and a want to be-- 7.5% rollback voice from the past- Robert Morrissey; all with their substitute teacher- Trudeau!! PEI deserves exactly what they vote for!!

    • News Flash!
      September 11, 2015 - 15:42

      Women have the right to safe legal abortion services. We also can vote!

  • Robbie
    September 11, 2015 - 12:08

    Great picture, - old and young, intelligent (or not) people standing there clapping for this rich kid, ---it so reminds me of Hans Christian Anderson's , "The Emperor's new clothes". No change over the hundreds of years since he wrote that fairy tale, so true to life in 2015.

  • Judy
    September 11, 2015 - 12:03

    What is really amazing, is that the population of a great Country like Canada is giving the platitudes that comes out of his kids mouth a any credence , - even more incredible, people are actually saying they will vote for this empty bag . The world is crazy.

  • Misleading statement
    September 10, 2015 - 12:44

    Why would any Federal politician/PM ever get involved in a Provincial decision? Not likely to ever happen.

    • Garth Staples
      September 12, 2015 - 11:04

      But don't all Liberals think alike. This must cause a stir in the heart of some Liberal MPs. No names of course.

  • don
    September 10, 2015 - 00:15

    he will be a DICTATOR. you obey his orders or else. that will be how all Canadians will live.our kids will be able to get drugs better then they can cigs. how Canada will fall.

  • Yep
    September 09, 2015 - 22:08

    I personally am against abortion unless the pregnancy was caused by rape, but if all provinces have a right to the services without having to leave it, then so should PEI. Whether or not it's right isn't the issue here, its the fact of equal rights that PEI has not been getting.

  • What are you going on about now, guardian
    September 09, 2015 - 17:30

    1) Who are these detached folks who think Trudeau is going to win the election? The Globe and Mail says he has a 14% chance, and that's assuming he keeps his mouth shut until October 19. 2) What on earth makes you think an imaginary Prime Minister Justin can force PEI to move its taxpayer funded abortions from one hospital to another? The federal government has no such authority.

  • Tom Paine
    September 09, 2015 - 14:38

    can't force someone to perform an abortion.

  • Derek
    September 09, 2015 - 14:36

    Its so confusing when we hear that the supreme court is opposed to assisted suicide of the terminally ill but yet we have allowed perfectly healthy children to be murdered with no futher thought. so to make a long story short it is ok to kill perfectly healthy humans but the terminally ill who are able to make choices for themselves are not allowed. Am i missing something here? I am not for assisted suicide but come on if it is morally and legally wrong to end the life of a human who is already at lifes end then how can they justify ending a perfectly healthy life at its beginning???????

    • Laura
      September 10, 2015 - 10:08

      A woman who is pregnant gets to decide whether or not she wants to continue the pregnancy to term. Her rights to her body outweigh a fetuses right to use her body without her continuous consent.

    • Anatoly
      September 12, 2015 - 11:53

      Yes damn that fetus for thinking like that, why the nerve thinking it has such a right..Oh wait, I know where I saw you, a Simpson's character! An educated and intelligent society we are, OMG we are in serious trouble

    • Dale
      October 19, 2015 - 15:01

      There is no justification of it. A woman has no right to end a life just like no man does. She didnt give life and she cant take it away. All of this will be answered for one day. I assure you. The awesome news is that Gods grace is there as a free gift for anyone who accepts it. All you need to do is confess your sins and you can be made white as snow.

  • YES!
    September 09, 2015 - 12:03

    Finally, a thoughtful intelligent leader to drag PEI from the dark ages. The liberals just won my vote!

  • Just What We Need
    September 09, 2015 - 09:23

    Just what we need - another Liberal government running the country further into the RED . Where is the common sense , you can't keep spending more than you take in & any thinking person knows this although they still vote as if there is a money tree growing somewhere ????? Can't understand Maritimers .

    • Katie
      September 09, 2015 - 12:22

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't we been in the red for the past seven years and are currently in a recession? And mind you, this is the second recession during Harper's reign. I'm not sure it's the Liberals you should be blaming - but then again, if you're a Conservative, you're not likely willing to look at truth or reason.

    • @Katie
      September 10, 2015 - 09:35

      Katie & just why are we not in the red ????? Harper-Harper-Harper & his hard line on Liberal vote buying programs . Do we want to start stealing our kid's future again like Robert & Wes did here in PEI . I don't believe in stealing from my kid's for my own greed .

    • Garth Staples
      September 12, 2015 - 16:34

      KATIE ----Now I know wisdom does come with age and memory. In the 1970s and 80s there were 30 LIBERAL deficits which set up the situation where Canada was headed down the road to Greece. Check it out!

  • Ron
    September 09, 2015 - 08:43

    I just don't get it. The most right wing PM ever said he would not touch abortion rights, and he hasn't. Why JT feels the need to alienate pro-life Canadians for an issue that is not even broached by the Cons is beyond me. I guess the Liberals are no longer the unifying big tent party.

    • Sarah
      September 09, 2015 - 16:25

      You can't sweep something under the rug and hope it will go away. It should have been dealt with long ago.

  • Sad
    September 08, 2015 - 23:36

    Yup, let's kill all the babies - that should ensure a healthy future for us!

    • 10 foot pole
      September 09, 2015 - 11:10

      It's comments like this that make you and the side you represent look stupid.