In 1991, then Justice Minister Kim Campbell, introduced Bill C-43, an act that would have re-criminalized abortion except with a doctor's consent.
In his book Game Theory and Canadian Politics, Tom Flanagan discusses the bill as it narrowly passed in the House of Commons.
Brian Mulroney was confident that it would zip through the Senate, after appointing additional warm bodies to get his GST through.
But he hadn't counted on Senator Joyce Fairburn:
... the bill was passed in the House and was expected to pass the higher chamber of sober second thought when in 1991, Liberal senator Joyce Fairbain wanted to prevent this bill from becoming law. She rallied enough support among both Conservative and Liberal women senators to defeat the bill.This excerpt is from WOMEN AND THE REFORM PARTY, By Stephanie L. Montgomery, Department of Political Science, Faculty of Graduate Studies, The University of Western Ontario, January 1997.
Her dissertation was a study of what women could come to expect if the Reform Party were ever in power. And now that we have the Reform Party in power, calling themselves the Conservative Party of Canada, pro-choice advocates are once again concerned, given that Stephen Harper himself wrote the policy for Reform.
Women's rights may be at risk if Stephen Harper's Conservatives win a majority government, a coalition of pro-choice groups said Monday.Harper may say that he won't re-open the abortion issue, but we know that he does things incrementally. With a majority he will be able to eventually control not only Parliament and the Senate, but also the Supreme Court.
The group said Canadians should look at the Conservatives actions rather than Harper's reassurances the party wouldn't re-open the abortion debate, and pointed to comments last week by Conservative candidate Brad Trost, the incumbent in Saskatoon-Humboldt.
There will be absolutely nowhere to go for justice.
And if you think that the endgame for Harper is to simply re-criminalize abortion, I suggest you read Montgomery's thesis.
It "questions how the Reform Party looks at Canadian women and what it would mean for Canadian women if their party were to become the next federal government." They believe that violence against women is the result of too many demands: "For example. the issue of violence against women in the home is intrinsically tied to affirmative action and the economic empowerment of women." (p. 37)
And while women's groups believe that more women in politics would be to our benefit, that's not true with Harper's brand of Conservatism.
...even if we do see a considerable rise in the number of women elected to Parliament, parties like the Reform Party could continue their gender blind neo-conservative policies by selecting women whose goals are antagonistic to the women's movement.Remember, it was a woman, Candace Hoeppner, who introduced the private member's bill to abolish the gun registry.
All Canadian women should be concerned. Giving Harper another mandate, minority or majority, will be very bad for our health, literally.
Think twice, vote once.