Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 7, 2003
MP's clear amendments before Bill C-13's vote
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
The federal government's controversial Assisted Human Reproduction Act is a step closer to being passed in the House of Commons after MPs cleared away dozens of amendments in voting during an evening sitting March 26.
Among the proposed amendments to Bill C-13 that was defeated in the Liberal-dominated House was one by Canadian Alliance MP Jason Kenney, which would have banned embryonic stem cell research.
Prior to the vote, the Catholic MP and member of the all-party, pro-life caucus, said his Motion number 17 amendment was designed to "ban the odious practice of embryonic stem cell research and to assert thereby the inalienable dignity of innocent human life."
Kenney's amendment, however, was defeated 149-60, with most Liberals voting against it.
In a statement Jan 29, the Catholic bishops of Canada urged MPs not to permit research on human embryos.
"The problem with embryonic stem cell research is that while the research has the potential to benefit those living with disease, it actually harms the embryo who dies in the process, said the statement.
"Ultimately, the embryo is exploited for the benefit of others."
As well, Dr. Richard Haughian, president of the Catholic Health Association of Canada, said Bill C-13 does not "acknowledge adequately the advances made in adult stem cell research."
Although Kenney's motion was defeated, Motion 13 by Liberal Paul Szabo, also a member of the pro-life caucus, was passed by the narrow margin of 11 votes. It would ensure that Bill C-13 bans all forms of cloning.
Szabo said the proposed bill had a "back door" that would have allowed for so-called "therapeutic cloning," involving the replacement of the nucleus of an unfertilized egg cell with the material from the nucleus of a "somatic cell" such as skin, heart, or nerve cell.
The Catholic bishops had also called on the government to ensure that the Bill C-13 "captures all forms and possibilities of cloning."
The House of Commons is expected to vote on Bill C-13 in early April.