Gordon Giesbrecht not the only anti-abortion candidate running in Manitoba
Four Manitoba Conservative candidates say they would support anti-abortion legislation
Tory candidate Gordon Giesbrecht is facing mounting criticism for a 2009 video in which he compared abortion to 9/11 and the Holocaust, and he's not the only Manitoba candidate with strong, public views on abortion.
The national anti-abortion advocacy group Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) sends out surveys to federal candidates, asking for their views on abortion and euthanasia. According to the CLC, five Manitoba candidates, including Giesbrecht, answered the survey.
As anyone fighting for any issue understands, discussion and debate is always good.- Jeff Gunnarson, Campaign Life Coalition
Conservative candidates Giesbrecht (Winnipeg South), Ted Falk (Provencher), Jim Bell (Kildonan - St. Paul), François Catellier (St. Boniface – St. Vital) and Christian Heritage candidate Jerome Dondo (Portage - Lisgar) responded that they would "support all legislative or policy proposals that would result in a meaningful increase of respect and protection for unborn human life."
The five also indicated there was no circumstance in their minds, such as rape or incest, that would justify an abortion, and opposed euthanasia.
Bell, Catellier and Dondo also indicated they would "strive to introduce and pass laws to protect unborn children from the time of conception (fertilization) onward."
Candidates need to stand apart
Taking a public stand on the abortion issue may lose these candidates some supporters, but political scientist Chris Adams says Canada's first past the post voting system means local candidates represent constituents directly.
Adams said that "means voters need to know where the candidates stand on a variety of issues. In a tight three-way race in this election every vote and every seat may count."
He said MPs in the next Parliament will likely vote on a euthanasia policy for Canada, and, like abortion, voters should know how each candidate feels about the matter and whether they can vote along their personal beliefs or toe the party line.
Advocate hopes abortion debate reopens
Jeff Gunnarson is a spokesperson for CLC. He said, despite the Conservative party's unwillingness to reopen the abortion debate, "there's always hope."
Gunnarson says backbenchers and even some cabinet ministers are often allowed to vote with their conscience on some issues, like abortion, and "as anyone fighting for any issue understands, discussion and debate is always good."
He has faith that the abortion issue will eventually be reopened in Canada.
"At one point someone is going to throw up their hands and say 'what are we doing here?'" said Gunnarson.
CBC asked for comment from the conservative candidates multiple times. Ted Falk's spokesperson said "no comment," and people from Bell's, Giesbrecht's and Catellier's campaigns have yet to respond.