Justin Trudeau, the new federal Liberal leader, has been branded as pro-abortion and anti-family by many in the pro-life movement. Photo by Michael Swan

Trudeau a stumbling block to pro-life cause

  • April 17, 2013

Pro-life activists are branding Justin Trudeau as a pro-abortion, anti-family Catholic politician committed to maintaining a legal vacuum around abortion.

“He’s no friend of the unborn,” Campaign Life Coalition president Jim Hughes told LifeSiteNews. com. “He’s not pro-life. In fact, he’s a raving pro-abortionist.”

Trudeau took the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada on the first ballot of a cross-country, online election that invited Canadians who aren’t Liberal Party members to vote. Trudeau took just over 80 per cent of the vote.

For Trudeau’s Liberals to topple the Conservatives in the 2015 election, the new leader will probably have to make significant inroads with Catholic voters. The Liberal Party’s traditional support among Catholic voters has been eroding over the past decade to the point where the Liberals received fewer Catholic votes than the Conservatives or NDP in the last election. The decline is particularly high among regular church-goers.

Trudeau has said he believes abortion is morally wrong but he supports a legal right to abortion. When parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Stephen Harper Dean Del Mastro claimed on his Facebook account that it was “outrageous” that Peterborough’s Catholic school board had invited Trudeau to speak to students, the Liberal leader found himself caught between pro-choice advocates who objected to his moral stance and pro-life people who condemned his political and legal stand. Conservatives said he wasn’t Catholic enough and the left claimed he was too Catholic.

“Now I’m getting guff from the other side because I said I don’t like abortion. Does anyone who’s ProChoice, as I am, really LIKE abortion?” Trudeau tweeted in September last year.

In 2012, Trudeau faced criticism after suggesting he might support Quebec separation if a Conservative government was ever “going against abortion and going against gay marriage.”

With the Conservative Party trying to muzzle its own MPs on abortion and silencing Parliament on the sex-selective abortion of girls, the pro-life lobby gains nothing by calling Trudeau the enemy, said University of St. Michael’s College history professor Mark McGowan. Polarized, single-issue politics have failed for 40 years to move the political needle toward protection of the unborn, he said.

“The real question is how well Catholics are served by any of their politicians,” he said. “Perhaps they should reassess how one participates in the body politic. That means maybe asking different questions, engaging politicians in different ways, perhaps even being more politically savvy.”

McGowan mourns all the time and energy pro-lifers have spent trying to rewrite abortion into the Criminal Code of Canada.

“For years the pro-life movement in Canada has been beating itself to death trying to create a law that for the most part most Canadians don’t want,” he said. “That’s unfortunate. That effort, that could be given to creating a culture of life across a seamless garment, might have changed attitudes down the road, when (Canadians) see what kind of a nihilistic ethic abortion on demand provides.”

Many pro-life activists blame Trudeau’s father, former prime minister Pierre, for opening the door to enshrining abortion as a legal right when the Liberal government in 1969 rewrote the Criminal Code to grant limited access to hospital-approved abortions.

But Pierre Trudeau was “a very serious Catholic,” said McGowan.

On a personal level, McGowan has personal memories of the young Trudeau from his days living in Ottawa. McGowan was a member of the same parish as the Trudeaus. He remembers the Trudeau boys getting personal catechism lessons from the St. Brigid’s parish pastor and serving as altar boys.

Trudeau made his Parliament debut as Liberal leader on April 15. He was welcomed by the Prime Minister at the same time that the Conservative Party was releasing attack ads that paint Trudeau, 41, as too inexperienced to become Prime Minister.

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