P.E.I. MPs to vote on abortion motion in Ottawa

Teresa Wright
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House of Commons

P.E.I. MPs will vote Wednesday on a controversial motion that many believe is a thinly veiled attempt to reopen the abortion debate in Ottawa.

Motion 312, put forward by Conservative MP Stephen Woodward, aims to create a parliamentary committee to review the Criminal Code’s definition of when life begins.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has maintained he is not interested in reopening the abortion debate, but several of his caucus members have said they will support the motion, including Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.

Malpeque MP Wayne Easter said he is pro-choice and will be voting against it. But he said he finds it notable Harper has not called for a whipped vote on the private members’ motion if he is indeed serious about not wanting to debate abortion.

“Ironically, this is one time that I will be on the same side of the issue as Stephen Harper,” Easter said in an interview.

“Or is he, like on so many issues, using a private member’s bill to come in the back door?”

That’s just the fear of the P.E.I. Reproductive Rights Organization (PRRO), a group of young women who have been fighting for abortions to be made available in P.E.I. – the only province in Canada where the procedure is not available.

PRRO’s Bronwyn Rodd said was shocked to learn a high profile cabinet minister such as Kenney has come out in support of Woodward’s motion.

“I will vote against knowing some might view this as a compromise of my personal beliefs, but any judgments in that regard will be between me and my faith,” Charlottetown MP Sean Casey

“Some of us were concerned that this was Stephen Harper’s way of reopening this debate on the national level, floating this balloon by inviting a private member’s bill or motion,” Rodd said.

“Kenney supporting this motion – that’s shocking. It certainly doesn’t make those concerns invalid.”

National Revenue Minister and P.E.I. Tory MP Gail Shea would not reveal how she plans to vote on Motion 312. But a spokesperson for her office said she will attend and will register a vote on the matter.

Charlottetown MP Sean Casey issued a statement Tuesday saying he will be voting against it, even though he is personally pro-life.

“ I have decided that my personal views will not come first. I listened to my constituents and will oppose Motion 312. This has not been an easy decision,” Casey stated.

“I will vote against knowing some might view this as a compromise of my personal beliefs, but any judgments in that regard will be between me and my faith.”

The Guardian received no response to calls and emails to Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay’s office on this issue.



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Recent comments

  • Emily Rutledge
    September 26, 2012 - 13:45

    Congratulations to Mr. Easter and Mr Casey. For people who have been brought up to believe that a fetus is a human being, I can see how abortion would be a difficult topic. However, history and science have shown that abortions will happen, despite restrictive laws. In fact, when a country legislates legal and safe reproductive options, abortion rates fall.

    • a problem
      September 26, 2012 - 17:47

      Your statement seems to assume a human is automatically a person. That is not true. Only those defines as such by law are persons.

  • observer
    September 26, 2012 - 10:32

    I believe that all those who spend their time ranting about murder should rather spend their Christian energy in the much more difficult and Jesus-like endeavour of assisting the multitudes of children who are living in want, and fear and pain every day in this country. That would indeed be pro-life!

    • yeah
      September 26, 2012 - 17:32

      Just like those busybodies who ranted agains slavery?

    • if you don't like Canada
      September 26, 2012 - 17:55

      There is a highway that leaves and goes to the States.

  • Dave from Cardigan
    September 26, 2012 - 09:53

    So what's the problem with answering the questions as stated in the motion, has anyone actually read it? (i) what medical evidence exists to demonstrate that a child is or is not a human being before the moment of complete birth?, (ii) is the preponderance of medical evidence consistent with the declaration in Subsection 223(1) that a child is only a human being at the moment of complete birth?, (iii) what are the legal impact and consequences of Subsection 223(1) on the fundamental human rights of a child before the moment of complete birth?, Sounds reasonable to me to be asking these types of questions. Science has advanced far enough now that we can determine some of these questions. Or are we all thinking the world is still flat. Personally, I say shame on anyone who would vote against this bill in favor of some archaic construct that one persons rights are above that of another. Casey, especially should be ashamed of himself. The convenience of Pro-Choice should never outweigh the fundamental human right of a living person, no matter how much we believe it to be so. To turn this into a religious debate is ignoring the science and common sense.

  • i get to choose
    September 26, 2012 - 09:14

    I will always stand behind a Canadian citizen's woman's right to choose what to do with her own body over a pack of neanderthal fanatics.

    • oh yeah
      September 26, 2012 - 17:45

      How much right do you have over someone else's body?

    September 26, 2012 - 08:59

    My dear, dear Mandy... by your comments you have already agreed with Motion 312 as you call what is to be aborted a "child" in your statements and I quote " Maybe a family can't afford another child. Maybe a woman finds out she's pregnant after breaking up with her partner and can't raise a child on her own. Would you want a child to grow up in poverty just because YOU decided what is best for their mother?" end quote ...If you were really pro "choice" you would help that mother realize that there are other "choices", like adoption , Birthright, or actually being a "MOMMY" to this beautiful little innocent child ? It's only when this woman feels that she has no other "choice" and is against the wall and has so much to lose that she has an abortion and kills the "child" .... but her mental anguish is not over, history shows it's only the beginning....

    • Frank
      September 26, 2012 - 10:10

      Womyn know what choices they have and some CHOOSE to get an abortion knowing what the alternatives are. People who are pro choice aren't encouraging womyn to get abortions, they are simply advocating for womyn to have all choices available to them.

  • A Very Concerned Mom
    September 26, 2012 - 08:03

    Please people, think about what you are saying / doing ... If your son / daughter had been murdered because they were not down the birth canal yet, how enraged / distraught would you be ? It's truly unbelievable that you can deny life (because their screams have been silenced) and encourage murder in the most inhumane ways possible. Look at an ultrasound of a baby and tell me it's not a baby or it is alright to kill that dear innocent child. Please think about this matter seriously, it's a matter of life or many cruel deaths ...It is so terribly sad that we let our selfish choices dictate who lives or dies.

    • relax
      September 26, 2012 - 13:30

      No one will ever make you have an abortion - so you don't have to be concerned!

    • Christy
      September 26, 2012 - 15:00

      What about when someone is raped. Who wants to grow up in this world knowing that there father is someone who raped there mother and that they were an accident. Who would want to live like that. Especially the mother who would have to deal with there daughter or sons father or in other words there rapist there entire lives. Or if it was gang rape the child probably wouldn't even know who there father was.

    • To Christy
      September 26, 2012 - 17:36

      Much beatter dead right? What about toddlers? Should we kill toddlers so they don't have to suffer that? What is the ager when it stops becoming permissable to kill?

    • Shelly
      October 02, 2012 - 15:00

      I just wanted to take a minute to say, that I agree 100% percent with what you wrote. It sees to me that people justify abortion and when a baby is considered a human being when it suites their agenda. Like you mention, all you have to do is look at an ultrasound. That non-human as they want to refer to it, is alive. What gets me is these people who are for abortion who have children of their own, how can they state that a baby is only human upon birth. Did they not have an ultrasound, did they not fall in love with their baby the first time they saw it on the screen? I don't know the answer to this debate, but I know there are moral ramifications for what we have allowed and one day we will all face the consequences of our choices.

  • Kristen
    September 26, 2012 - 07:13

    Very thrilled with Casey for being so honest about his decision making. Just because you have your own personal oppositions (beliefs, religion... things that don't belong in a COURTROOM! or womens bodies!!) does not mean it is wrong for everyone. he recognized that just because HE wouldn't want an abortion it doesn't meant it is the right decision for every woman in Canada. kudos

  • Garth Staples
    September 26, 2012 - 06:42

    PM Spooks Easter. He thinks PM Harper is behind every tree.

    • waldorf
      September 27, 2012 - 14:45

      I am wondering maybe you are Harper, Garth using a assumed name , alot of your posts on here sounds like THE GREAT WESTERN LORD OF CALGARY

  • island atheist
    September 26, 2012 - 06:36

    Between him and his faith. If he "believes" such hateful things he is not fit for public office.

  • Evelyn Marsalls
    September 25, 2012 - 23:28

    Abortion is a legal medical procedure that must be decided between a woman and her doctor. To all those bible thumpers, would you rather we go back to wire hanger back alley abortions?? Grow up and keep your narrow minded opinions to yourself!!

    • Bill Kays
      September 26, 2012 - 08:49

      The fact that abortion is legal is not a valid argument when talking about right and wrong. Legal or illegal does not equal right and wrong. It being called "a legal medical procedure" being decided between 2 murderers is also ridiculous. It's like 2 foxes and a chicken getting together to decide what's going to be for dinner? I remember when they made the mistake of making abortion legal. It was a bad mistake but not one that is irreversible..

  • DeanR
    September 25, 2012 - 23:00

    I find it amusing that the pro-choice crowd always cry about the rights of a woman. Now I am all for equality, so don't label me a sexist bigot. But the whole debate breeds the question, what about the rights of the unborn? Abortion stops a beating heart of a human, it ends a human life, which for many years bears the name of homicide. Add the intentional end of a human life, that equals murder. PERIOD!!

    • simple
      September 26, 2012 - 09:08

      Simple Deanr. A human being is not a human being until it has exited the body of the mother in a living breathing form. A fetus in the womb is not a human being. That is what the law states and I agree with it. So do the majority of Canadians. Keep your beliefs in that Sky Daddy of yours to yourself.

    • Abortion is MURDER
      September 26, 2012 - 10:24

      I guess some people do differ on what is a human and what isnt. However I know lots of people that feel abortion is murder, so I don't think DeanR needs to keep his "Sky Daddy ideas" in the sky. Lets have rapist punished more severely, that would take care of the rape births. Then, when a woman opens her legs for intercourse and she gets pregnant, well then, they made that choice, live with the consequences. And that goes for the father that made the choice to drop his pants too. No one wants to accept responsibility for anything anymore. Everyone is a victim, no one is ever wrong. I guess everything is relative nowadays, according to liberals anyways

  • stroback
    September 25, 2012 - 19:59

    Abortion is not a 'procedure' like having a tooth pulled. It is the ending of a human life and therefore a very serious matter. All MPs should feel justified in voting along the lines of their informed conscience. Having an MP that only follows party orders or the dictates of the latest poll is of little value. The individual voice is lost. MPs made their views known publicly when they were asked (and all of them were during the last election campaign) how they would vote if this kind of bill came forward. Let them stand by those convictions.

  • Bill Kays
    September 25, 2012 - 19:33

    abortion is murder. Plain and simple. It is not a tool to be used for convenience by people for whatever their reason or excuse. Political correctness is just another excuse for people making compromises with their behavior. We all know right from wrong. What most people are looking for is justification of their wrongful actions.

    • Plain and simple
      September 26, 2012 - 06:23

      Thank you Bill Kays for speaking my mind too, as you write: "abortion is murder" -- exactly!

    • Mandy
      September 26, 2012 - 07:12

      Bill, abortion is not a "tool to be used for convenience" No matter how careful a woman/couple is, birth control fails occasionally. The decision is not made lightly. Maybe a family can't afford another child. Maybe a woman finds out she's pregnant after breaking up with her partner and can't raise a child on her own. Would you want a child to grow up in poverty just because YOU decided what is best for their mother? Abortion in some form or another has been practiced for hundreds of years. This is a ridiculous waste of our government's time and money.

    September 25, 2012 - 19:07

    What a disgusting waste of time.Why not debate some real issues like the envirement,electoral fraud,cuts to social programs while corporations horde Billions of ill got dollars.This issue has been settled long ago we don't need a bunch of bible thumpers to distract us.Concentrate on the real issues of the day.

    • huh
      September 26, 2012 - 06:33

      Settled by whom? The public has never had a say. It was "settled" by a judge. The heck with american style law making. legislation by judiciary. Generally , in my experience, the only people who want to claim something is settled and resort to ad hominem attacks to keep it that way are those who know that if there was a free exchange of ideas, they might lose.

    • DRB
      September 27, 2012 - 08:52

      The very fact that you're commenting on this makes it an "issue." If it were not an issue why do so many people care about what happens one way or another?

  • C'mon casey its not the first lie...........
    September 25, 2012 - 18:53

    Casey the choir boy all of a sudden? what a stooge

  • Apple
    September 25, 2012 - 18:36

    Very proud of my MP (Casey) for standing up for the good of his constituents and not necessarily going straight for his emotional response. Glad he is there for women and logic!

    • Dave
      September 26, 2012 - 08:05

      Being in his constituency, I don't remember him asking what I thought. Sounds like political speak to me.

    • Mike Wagner
      September 26, 2012 - 09:15

      Gee Dave, what do you think constituency offices are for? You can drop in, phone, or email. I've been in contact with my MP about issues that concern me on several occasions. He doesn't need to come knock on my door every time there's a decision to be made. We elect them, and if we just ignore them to let them go do their own thing it's what we deserve.

  • IslandMOm
    September 25, 2012 - 18:18

    If you had done some homework on this story, you could have easily added a line noting that MacAulay has previously voted in favor of bills that would seek to change abortion policy in Canada, eroding women's rights. It's no stretch for us to assume that he will do so again, on M312. Also, the fact that Mr. Casey 'struggled' in order to reach the decision that women's rights are more important than his personal beliefs is nothing we should be happy about. Great to know our tax money is going to his personal growth. Only Wayne Easter is to be commended for coming out early on this issue and reassuring his constiuents and Islanders in general that he would be counted as standing up for the reproductive rights of all women in Canada. My thanks to you Mr. Easter. No point even talking about Ms. Shea, but that's nothing new.

    • I can't have anymore kids its sad
      September 26, 2012 - 23:12

      It is sad that people would choose this road I have one child and he's 6and I've been tryen ever since he was a year old so for the people that can't have kids that want them it's tarble and I do work everyday and don't make enough to adopt