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Tories adopt several pro-life stands

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  • September 4, 2018

OTTAWA – While divided on abortion, the Conservative Party has adopted policies to remove the controversial pro-abortion attestation requirement of the Canada Summer Jobs program and to end funding for overseas abortion as part of Canada’s maternal and child health program.

Both positions were adopted in votes by party members at the Conservative policy convention in Halifax Aug. 23-25. Resolutions are non-binding, which means there is no obligation to include them in the party’s platform for the 2019 federal election.

Conservatives also agreed to oppose the expansion of euthanasia and assisted suicide “to minors, to people who are not competent and people who live with psychological suffering,” as well as adopting a policy to guarantee neonatal care to babies who survive an abortion. The party will also oppose any efforts to lower the age of “protection” for children below 16 when it comes to child pornography.

A motion related to the Summer Jobs Program was approved unanimously.

“The Conservative Party believes that it is unethical and wrong to require applicants for government-funded programs to sign a values test attestation endorsing government ideology in order to be eligible to receive government funding,” said the motion.

“We are happy to see the Conservative Party did not approve having a pro-choice values test for receiving government money,” said Tabitha Ewert, legal counsel for WeNeedaLaw.ca in an interview.

A more general resolution denouncing compelled speech received overwhelming support.

A resolution to reverse a Harper-era policy not to legislate on abortion received 47 per cent support, just shy of the majority needed to make it party policy. Despite losing the vote, Ewart said “the fact it got debated was definitely a good sign.”

The narrow defeat indicated the pro-life cause has momentum within the Conservative Party, said Jack Fonseca, senior political strategist for Campaign Life Coalition.

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