Kitchener-Waterloo

Pro-choice advocates rally in front of MP's office amidst his support to defund abortions

Over a dozen rally goers came together on the sidewalk next to MP Harold Albrecht's office to express their disappointment in their representative's actions to defund abortions, protesters say.

“It’s scary in this community that we have an MP that would still open up this discussion" says Nancy Brissett

Pro-choice rally goers posed for a picture in front of MP Harold Albrecht's Kitchener-Conestoga constituency office. (Kirthana Sasitharan/CBC)

Pro-choice advocates rallied outside of Kitchener-Conestoga MP Harold Albrecht's office on Monday in an effort to protest against the Member of Parliament's move to sign on to a petition in the House of Commons "to cease providing taxpayers' dollars" to fund abortions. 

The small crowd of over a dozen people held signs that read 'Pro-choice is my choice' and 'I support choice' and many rally goers expressed their disappointment in the MP for bringing up the issue at all. The group yelled chants about women's rights in unison as cars honked their horns along Max Becker Drive. 

"It's scary in this community that we have an MP that would still open up this discussion," says Nancy Brissett, a healthcare worker and one of the organizers of the rally.

The MP had also been criticized by some  pro-choice advocates after he tweeted out in early May about having attended an anti-abortion rally in Ottawa and attending a screening of the anti-abortion film, Unplanned, in April. 

Brissett says the issue around abortion rights for women is a done issue after it was discussed and addressed by governments in the past for years. 

"It's another opportunity for a man to be telling women what they need to be doing with their bodies," says Brissett. 

She says while MP Albrecht has every right to hold his own opinion, the way he goes about advocating for his opinion isn't representative of his constituents. 

"When he holds the role he holds, he should not be opening up this issue around women's issues and women's healthcare." 

Rally goers at a pro-choice rally gathered in a circle to speak about why they were there and why they felt it was important to rally for women's rights. (Kirthana Sasitharan/CBC)

Abortion rights to be a hot topic amidst the election

Karis Burowski is with the Society of Freethinkers and attended the rally on Monday. 

She says she's been a part of the abortion debate since the 1970s and can't believe the conversation is still ongoing. 

"I see the rise in negativity over women having control over their own bodies,"says Burowski. "We saw it starting up in the States and now it's moving up here. Now we have politicians jumping up on that bandwagon to pass laws and rules that are going to impact women's rights and freedoms." 

Burowski says the dialogue that's taking place in the U.S. and now in Canada will now give people the wake up call they need to get out and vote in the upcoming election.

Karis Burowski is no stranger to the abortion debate since she says she's been advocating for better rights for women since the 1970s. She says she can't believe the discussion is still ongoing. (Kirthana Sasitharan/CBC)

We will not re-open the abortion debate: MP Harold Albrecht

In a response to CBC News, MP Harold Albrecht did not address the protestors directly but said he always stands up for 'a Canadian's right to express their opinions.'

"It is well known that for 13 years I have worked to promote a culture of life, including improved palliative care, organ donation, suicide prevention, as well as protection for our pre-born," he says. 

"The Leader of the Conservative Party has been clear: a Conservative government led by Andrew Scheer will not re-open the abortion debate. Unlike Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party, the Conservative Party respects that MPs and many of their constituents have different views on this and many other issues," said Albrecht.