Liberals are hoping to pin down Prime Minister Stephen Harper over where he stands on abortion in his G8 maternal-health initiative for the Third World.
The Opposition is to introduce a motion in the House of Commons on Tuesday demanding that the plan cover a "full range" of family-planning options, which would include contraception and abortion.
The Conservative government has been unclear about whether the plan will fund such options.
The motion says funding all options would be consistent with the policy of previous governments -- both Conservative and Liberal -- and with the approach approved by all G8 countries, including Canada, just last year.
The motion should pass easily with the support of all three opposition parties.
It could put the Conservatives in an awkward spot, forcing them to clarify the issue and potentially alienate one faction or another within the party.
Some readers may recall that Iggy and I have a troubled relationship, though I did applaud him when he first threw down the abortion gauntlet. But I really think this issue has legs.
From the beginning Motherhood Steve has been flipping and flopping on his G8 maternal health initiative.
The trick is to get the language -- oh noes! 'abortion language!' -- just right. Appease the base -- no contraception, no family planning. But repeating ad nauseum 'we will not reopen the abortion debate' -- for everyone else.
It's not working very well.
LifeShite has this headline: 'PM Harper "Caves": "Not Closing the Door" on Contraception in G8 Maternal Health Push'.
"As we have been saying all along, we are not closing the door on any options that will save the lives of mothers and children, including contraception," Oda said in response to a question from Bob Rae. "And as we have been saying all along, we are not opening the abortion debate."
Layton pressed the Prime Minister further, asking a question that he called "extremely important" and "extremely clear": "Does the Prime Minister agree with the broad sweep of opinion that is extremely clear, that contraception saves lives?"
Harper avoided the question, insisting that he had already answered it, and attempted to raise a different issue.
. . .
Mary Ellen Douglas, national organizer for Campaign Life Coalition, called the Prime Minister's comments "a giant step backwards and a disappointment."
"We're disappointed that the Conservative government has taken a step backwards in accepting contraception when they were very clear that their aim was to provide good maternal care," she commented. "All Canadians were supportive of providing good maternal health care, safe water, medicines and so on, so why bring in divisive items such as contraception and abortion?"
Douglas concluded, "The Prime Minister has caved in to pressure from pro-abortion activists to allow for contraception in the G8 health plan. Hopefully he will not cave on abortion too."
Ooooo, the dread word -- 'caved'.
A CBC poll asked if contraception should be part of the initiative. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of Canadians said YES (90% to 9%).
This issue resonates with normal people. This issue clearly demonstrates Stevie Peevie's problem with his base. He's hog-tied.
But don't listen to me. Listen to my Facebook friend Connie Fournier at the Freaks:
Ignatieff is playing this perfectly. He knows that Harper will run like a sissy from this issue, and it will cause another fracture in the conservative base.
When Harper promised to never let anyone discuss the issue of abortion, he showed the Liberals his Achille's heel. He proves it every election cycle when he makes some lame-assed pro-abortion* comment in the middle of the campaign and his poll numbers immediately take a dive.
As long as Harper lets them kick this sand in his face, they are going to keep doing it.
Kick that sand! Ride that horsey!
*Actually, I think it should be 'when he makes any reference to abortion', his poll numbers dive.