Friday, 27 April 2012

What the heck did that mean?

There was some surprise yesterday in Parliament when Government Whip Gordon O'Connor rose to give the CON response to Woodworth's Wank. After all, the purpose of the Party Whip is to ensure party discipline.

Look at the spanking discipline he meted out (bold mine).
Madam Speaker, I offer my response to Motion No. 312. The issue before us, in essence, is on what it is to be human. This has been debated as long as man has existed. Scientists, theologians, philosophers and doctors have all offered opinions.

The House of Commons, however, is not a laboratory. It is not a house of faith, an academic setting or a hospital. It is a legislature, and a legislature deals with law, specifically, in this case, subsection 223(1) of the Criminal Code.

The purpose of Motion No. 312, which we are considering today, is to open to question the validity of subsection 223(1), which asserts that a child becomes a human being only at the moment of complete birth. If the legal definition of when one becomes a human being were to be adjusted so that a fetus is declared to be a legal person at some earlier stage of gestation, then the homicide laws would apply. As a necessary consequence, aborting fetal development anywhere in the potentially new adjusted period would be considered homicide. Thus the ultimate intention of this motion is to restrict abortions in Canada at some fetal development stage.
. . .
Abortion is a very serious and long-lasting decision for women, and I want all women to continue to live in a society in which decisions on abortion can be made, one way or the other, with advice from family and a medical doctor and without the threat of legal consequences. I do not want women to go back to the previous era where some were forced to obtain abortions from illegal and medically dangerous sources. This should never happen in a civilized society.

Whether one accepts it or not, abortion is and always will be part of society. There will always be dire situations in which some women may have to choose the option of abortion. No matter how many laws some people may want government to institute against abortion, abortion cannot be eliminated. It is part of the human condition.

I cannot understand why those who are adamantly opposed to abortion want to impose their beliefs on others by way of the Criminal Code. There is no law that says that a woman must have an abortion. No one is forcing those who oppose abortion to have one.

Within the free and democratic society of Canada, if one has a world view based on a personal moral code that is somewhat different from others, then live according to those views as long as they are within the current laws. On the other hand, citizens who are also living within the reasonable limits of our culture and who may not agree with another's particular moral principles should not be compelled to follow them by the force of a new law.

As we know, Motion No. 312 is sponsored by a private member, not the government. I can confirm that as a member of the Conservative caucus for nearly eight years, the Prime Minister has been consistent with his position on abortion. As early as 2005 at the Montreal convention and in every federal election platform since, he has stated that the Conservative government will not support any legislation to regulate abortion. While the issue may continue to be debated by some, as in the private member's motion here tonight, I state again that the government's position is clear: it will not reopen this debate.

I am sure we all recognize that the issue of abortion raises strongly held and divergent views within and outside Parliament. However, I firmly believe that each of us should be able to pursue our lifestyle as long as it is within the boundaries of law and does not interfere with the actions of others. Trying to amend the legal rules governing abortion, as is intended by this motion, will not improve the situation. It will only lead to increased conflict as the attempt is made to turn back the clock.

Society has moved on and I do not believe this proposal should proceed. As well, it is in opposition to our government's position. Accordingly I will not support Motion No. 312. I will vote against it and I recommend that others oppose it.
My goodness. That's Woodwank taken out to the woodshed for a thrashin', ain't it? I wonder if he had any warning this was coming.

Like most people, I was expecting a bromide of 'respect for private members motions' frappéed with stern repetitions of 'we will not reopen the debate'.

O'Connor's statement was breathtakingly, decidedly pro-choice. Well, he is on ARCC's list of pro-choice MPs.

So how did fetus fetishists take it?

On the Canadian LifeShite, two straightforward stories: here and here. Crickets at the USian LifeShite.

At the brand new astroturfed site The Bertha Wilson Motion, there is an attempt at sarcasm and a link to an interview of Joyce Arthur (ARCC) by Brian Lilley of FauxNewsNorth. And this:
Even Gordon O’Connor, Minister of State and Chief Government Whip, got into the fray and lectured those who value all human life to shut their mouths on the issue.

Mrozek spluttered:
Terrible arguments! Abortion will always be with us, says he; it cannot be eliminated. “It’s part of the human condition.”

This must be the PMO’s spokesperson as he is now detailing how this is a private member’s motion, not a government bill.
(That's the entirety of her post, by the way.)

SUZYALLCAPS, in her Twitter incarnation of @roseblue, was all over the tweets yesterday with her usual baseless assertions of 'it's a fact'. On her blog (, she now has posted the text of Woodworth's Wank, without comment, and a link to the FauxNewsNorth interview, with a snark at Arthur.

More crickets at Blogging Tories.

So what's going on here? Montreal Simon is celebrating a WIN! Dr. Dawg is having dark thoughts. Cliff at Rusty Idols thinks the Wild Rose debacle in Alberta affected Harper's strategy. Dave at The Galloping Beaver thinks we witnessed the public knock-out of an intense but private fight. (All those links are conveniently gathered together at the handy new Canadian Progressive Voices site.)

Me, I'm not celebrating anything yet. I will continue to watch and report.


Niles said...

In any case, thanks to those who got out and made sure this did not slink by. I suspect a civil rights equivalent of the Swiss militia will still be needed and on guard for thee, for this was only the first salvo over the barricades by those testing the defenses. Again.

DJ!'s Fern Hill took some weird shrapnel wounds from backroomboiz and an op-ed association redefinition was forced on the matter. Accommodation appears to be taking a back seat to a plain line in the sand.

I personally, am wondering if, with this said, the Harper government will continue with the defunding efforts that have been their mainstay. They've been getting much less publicity with that and it affects many health issues that end up touching on access to abortion.

How many women in the North and rural areas have access to sex ed/natal care/child health/gynecology/abortion when the Aboriginal and other health units/funding are *poof* gone?

Beijing York said...

I'm not celebrating yet. Harper has been attacking women, specifically Aboriginal, immigrant and low-income women through hundreds of cuts to various programs that provide much needed support.

The only women who have benefitted directly from this regime are middle class mothers who can afford the baby bonus approach to daycare funding and boutique tax credits to offset the costs of their children's after-school activities. Harper's targeted women most frequently live in households enjoying income splitting, home renovation tax credits and registered educational savings tax shelters.

I also came to a similar conclusion as Cliff at Rusty Idols. This motion was a purposeful, Harper sanctioned trial balloon. All was going as planned, similar to all the previous backhanded private members' bills that were only barely thwarted at the eleventh hour, with the exception that they now have a majority. They were also counting on a Wildrose majority to prove that Canadian values had indeed changed to hard right conservative values. I think that the Wildrose failure and the cross-Canada loud sigh of relief made it unpalatable for Harper to let business go on as usual.

Harper had to get on the moderate side of this issue as swiftly as possible and his best bet was to get O'Connor to make that address. I'd also add that those adamantly against Woodsworth's ridiculous motion mobilized quickly and got their message out loud and clear. We were bound and determined not to let things progress until we found ourselves battling repugnant legislation at the 2nd or 3rd reading stage.

Anonymous said...

part of me wishes that Harper would go ahead with all of his right-wing plans. Do some crazy shit and then maybe people will start paying attention and vote him no questions asked! dispell the myth once and for all that Canada is a right wing country.

Anonymous said...

haha. I came across this awesome comment on yahoo of all things. Let me share:

"They should debate if women are cows or persons. As cows then the males can control their breeding like any other kind of livestock. The dept of Agraculture could manage female issues. As persons woumen should vote out anyone who think they should be treated like cows. Women are on their way to becoming property if they don't wake up."

"Does the state own and have control over female reproductive organs. Does the states interest in female reproduction over ride the woman's interest. If the answer is yes then women are cattle and not persons, off to the dept of Argraculture. If the answer is not then what ever the woman decides is her own business and the rest of us should but out. Then she should vote out all the people who though she is a cow of the state."

LOVE that person

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