'Life begins at conception': Anti-abortion group names Ken Cheveldayoff top Sask. Party candidate
Cheveldayoff was among the 4 leadership candidates who spoke with political advocacy group Right Now
An anti-abortion group in Canada has revealed its recommendations on who to vote for in the Saskatchewan Party leadership race.
RightNow — a group dedicated to electing candidates who are opposed to abortion — ranked Ken Cheveldayoff as the top candidate to vote for and Scott Moe as second.
Both are quoted on the website as saying they are "pro-life."
A spokesperson told CBC News on Wednesday that Moe is "pro-life" but believes life begins when a baby is born.
In his answers, Cheveldayoff is quoted as saying he would support provincial legislation that "protects the unborn child, anything that emphasizes that life begins at conception."
'Very few exceptions' for abortions
He confirmed to CBC News he stands by his statements, including one where he's asked about restricting abortions in the province, where he is quoted as saying he agrees on "very few exceptions" for the procedure, such as if a woman's life is in jeopardy.
"I wanted to be clear about that to Saskatchewan residents that indeed, if the life of the mother is in danger at all, I would see that as an exceptional circumstance," adding after he wouldn't view that as an abortion.
Asked if he would consider a victim of rape who becomes pregnant an exceptional circumstance, he said: "No, like I said in the article, the life of the mother would be where I would draw the line."
Cheveldayoff said he doesn't have other examples of exceptions and that the piece demonstrates his personal views on abortion.
Clarke says First Nations don't believe in abortions
Former member of Parliament Rob Clarke, who was the latest to enter the race to replace outgoing Premier Brad Wall, was ranked third by the anti-abortion organization.
In his interview posted on their website, Rob Clarke says Indigenous people don't believe in abortion.
The former Mountie said he is both First Nations and anti-abortion and it's a stereotype that Indigenous people are left-wing.
"First Nations don't believe in abortion," Clarke is quoted as saying on the site. "I'm First Nations and I don't believe in abortion. It's a stereotype, where most people believe that First Nations and the Métis are so left-wing and vote NDP, and no, the NDP dictate what we should be doing."
A spokesman for Clarke's Saskatchewan Party leadership campaign said the posted interview is accurate and that Clarke is letting the interview stand without further comment.
'It's never black or white'
Margaret Poitras, CEO of All Nations Hope, said abortion is a complex issue for Indigenous people and one that she is still wrestling with.
She explained while there are teachings that say life should be valued, there are teachings against being judgemental.
"It's never black or white. Nothing ever is in life. You always have to think about what's happening, what's the positive or negative."
Female candidates don't answer
The website ranked Tina Beaudry-Mellor and Alanna Koch — who did not respond to the group's questions — as the least-preferred candidates.
Beaudry-Mellor said she supports a woman's right to choose and took to social media, saying "We have had the conversation on reproductive rights. We are not going back."
NO. Full stop, NO. Women in this province are worried about jobs, about scaling up businesses, about kids education, interpersonal violence. We have had the conversation on reproductive rights. We are not going back. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/skpoli?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#skpoli</a>—@tbeaudrymellor
"The No. 1 issues I hear about are education, I hear about jobs, I hear about scaling up businesses, I hear about interpersonal violence. This is not an issue I hear about," she told reporters later.
NDP MLA Carla Beck said she supports Beaudry-Mellor's position.
"Well, as a party, the NDP [has] been very clear: We support a woman's right to choose. I think this is an issue that frankly, I'm surprised we're having this debate."
Sask. Party leadership candidate Gord Wyant, the former justice minister, got a failing grade from Right Now.
He told CBC he is pro-choice and noted that provincial laws are only effective when they do not contravene the Constitution, which is why he says other provinces have failed to pass such legislation.
With files from The Canadian Press