Social conservatives salute Conservative Party resolutions

Joanne McGarry

Joanne McGarry

November 11, 2013

CALGARY – Conservative Party resolutions at its Oct. 31-Nov. 2 convention against gendercide, euthanasia and legalized prostitution have pleased social conservatives.

"We're pleased several socially conservative resolutions did pass," said Cecilia Forsyth, who attended the convention as a delegate from the Saskatoon-Humboldt constituency.

The motion that originated in Forsyth's riding said: "The Conservative Party will not support any legislation to legalize euthanasia or assisted suicide."

Though news reports say the issue was contentious and the vote close, Forsyth said it passed with a comfortable margin.

Forsyth, a Catholic who is also president of REAL Women of Canada, said she attended the convention in a personal capacity and was not speaking on behalf of the pro-family, pro-life women's organization.

"I'm extremely pleased with the euthanasia vote," said Campaign Life Coalition Ottawa lobbyist Johanne Brownrigg.

The vote bolsters the stand that Justice Minister Peter MacKay and Health Minister Rona Ambrose have been taking when questioned about Quebec's euthanasia Bill 52.


Both ministers have said the Conservative government will not reopen the debate on euthanasia, noting Parliament decided the issue in 2010.

Brownrigg also applauded the resolution on gender selection and the delegates' "conclusion that sex selection abortion is a cultural practice that displays the highest form of discrimination."

Tory MPs had let the issue be hijacked by pro-choice MPs in both the NDP and the Liberals. Brownrigg noted that while Liberals used to allow free votes on conscience matters, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has signaled he will not allow free votes on abortion.


"We're a nonpartisan organization," said Catholic Civil Rights League executive director Joanne McGarry.

"With that said, it's very encouraging to see a major national political party adopting these stands that are in support of the sanctity of life and dignity of women and girls."

"To me, personally, the resolution against gender selection touches on both those issues," she said.

"Life is equally valued, and both sexes are equal."

McGarry said the resolution against prostitution was especially pleasing to the league, which has been intervening before the courts in the Bedford case heard before the Supreme Court of Canada in June.

Canada's highest court is examining whether Canada's prostitution laws violate sex trade workers' rights to security of the person under the Charter. An Ontario court had struck down Canada's laws on that basis.

The resolution says the Conservative Party rejects the concept of legalizing the purchase of sex.


It also declares "human beings are not objects to be enslaved, bought or sold;" and that the party "will develop a Canada-specific plan to target the purchases of sex as well as any third party attempting to profit from the purchase of sex."

McGarry said the proposal for the Canada-specific plan is based on the Swedish or Nordic mode and "has a lot to recommend it."

Forsyth said social conservatives "want abortion addressed head on." But they have to look at the alternatives in other parties that have no family-supporting policies; and no policy against legalizing euthanasia.

Social conservatives are "a little bit unhappy" with the Conservatives, "but we have to look at what we do have and keep pushing" for changes, she said.