May 16, 2014
By Jane Brown
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is sidestepping questions on the abortion debate, which has resurfaced because of a stance taken by Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. The Prime Minister was asked whether Health Canada would intervene to force New Brunswick to remove obstacles and delays to publicly funded abortions. But Harper would only say health care is a provincial matter.
Trudeau continues to defend his position that all Liberal candidates must pledge to vote in favour of a woman’s right to choose in any matter that comes up in Parliament. “Since 1988, the Supreme Court of Canada has affirmed that a woman’s right to choose in this matter is part of her fundamental rights and freedoms and the Liberal party is the party of the charter,” Trudeau explained, “and Canadians need to count on the fact that Liberals, with our votes, will defend women’s rights and charter rights.”
Trudeau also said he welcomes input from Toronto’s Roman Catholic archbishop but says the Liberal party is committed to the values laid out in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Thomas Cardinal Collins has written to Trudeau, urging him to allow candidates to be faithful to their conscience.