Entries Tagged human life debate - Inside Politics
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Entries tagged “human life debate” (1)

UPDATED: Let the debate over when human life begins be ... postponed until fall?

UPDATE: When asked about the delay during pre-caucus scrums, Woodworth told reporters that the move was made for scheduling reasons, as his mother is ill and he wasn't sure he'd be able to be in the House for the last hour of debate, although it's worth noting that under House rules, he doesn't have to be there for it to take place. As long as five members rose at the end of the time allotted to private members business, the vote would be deferred until the following Wednesday. 

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Apparently, Stephen Woodworth isn't quite ready to start the conversation on the legal definition of "human being" after all. 

According to the Order Paper
, his motion to review the current Criminal Code provisions on homicide in light of medical and scientific advancements has been dropped from the top of the private members' business priority list. 

As of yesterday, M-312 was scheduled to come up for a final hour of debate on Thursday afternoon, with a vote to be held next Wednesday, but it appears that Woodworth did a last minute swap with Liberal MP Scott Brison, and is now 14th on the precedence list. With just 12 sitting days remaining before the House is scheduled to rise for the summer break, will almost certainly put his motion on ice until the fall.  

Members are, of course, free to trade PMB slots amongst themselves, usually to avoid scheduling conflicts. In this case, however, Woodworth likely hopes to spend the summer shoring up support for the motion, and combat the chilling effect of pressure reportedly being brought to bear against caucus colleagues sympathetic to his cause by no less powerful an adversary than the Prime Minister's Office. 

Although the government has thus far stopped short of whipping the vote -- which would be virtually unprecedented, given that this is both a private members' motion and deals with a so-called "conscience" issue -- when it came up for a first round of debate earlier this spring, Conservative Whip Gordon O'Connor delivered an eloquent -- and categorical -- indictment of both the substance and intent of the motion that would seem to suggest its ultimate fate is all but assured, at least if PMO gets its way. 

Under the rules governing private members' business, Woodworth can keep his motion alive virtually indefinitely by trading down the precedent list whenever his name threatens to reach the top. At some point, however, one suspects that his supporters might start to wonder why he seems so reluctant to put the question to the House. 

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Get inside the story and inside the Hill with CBC's parliamentary bureau and blogger Kady O'Malley. Through up-to-the-minute liveblogs, dispatches, video, audio and features, Inside Politics gives you immediate and in-depth coverage of Canada's political system and culture.

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