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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Libertarian Party releases policy on abortion. Will pro-lifers take notice?

Libertarian Party leader Dennis Young has provided the Western Standard with an exclusive look at the first policy item in the party’s national platform, which will be officially released in its entirety by the end of this week.

Young explains in an email that the party has gone through a three-part process to determine what policies should be part of its national platform.

1. It must be a policy that reduces the size and scope of government;

2. It must be a policy that appeals to an identifiable, highly motivated voting block;

3. And, it must be a policy that contrasts well against Stephen Harper and the Conservatives.

The second criterion was established as part of an effort by the party to build an activist base similar to the powerful “Leave Us Alone Coalition” created by Grover Norquist in the United States.

“The idea of the Leave Us Alone Coalition,” says Norquist, “is that everybody is there because on the issue that moves their vote – not all issues; they’re not all libertarians – but on the issue that moves their vote, what they want from the government is to be left alone. So around a table [are] the guys who want their money left alone, their faith left alone, their homeschooling left alone. They’re in on one issue, the one they vote on.”

The question then is whether or not the Libertarian Party can bring pro-lifers into this “Leave Us Alone Coalition," and pull them away from the Harper Conservatives.

First, let’s look at this Libertarian abortion policy, and then let’s get a reaction from pro-lifers.

The Libertarian Party will bring real choice to the abortion debate

Abortion is an issue that divides Canadians.

While the Libertarian Party supports safe, legal access to abortion, we also believe that the “freedom of conscience” of those who oppose abortion must be respected. The Libertarian Party will defend “freedom of conscience” and promote real choice by removing all federal government funding to the provinces for medically unnecessary abortions.

Pro-life Canadians have been ignored and mistreated by the Harper Tories for too long.

Stephen Harper has refused to allow debate on abortion and has said that he will work against any move that would prevent federal healthcare funding from being spent by the provinces on abortion. Harper has also abandoned pro-life Conservative MP Ken Epp and his private members bill that would make it a crime to kill an unborn baby while committing a violent attack on the mother.

The Supreme Court’s Morgentaler decision struck down Canada’s abortion law in 1988, but the decision of nine unelected judges should not permanently silence democratic debate on abortion in parliament.

-30-

This policy would eliminate federal spending on abortion, so it meets the first criterion of reducing the size and scope of government. (The provinces could still fund abortion so this policy would not interfere with provincial jurisdiction over healthcare.) It also contrasts well with Harper who has pragmatically stayed away from this political hot potato.

(The abortion debate just got harder for Harper to ignore. LifeSiteNews.com is reporting that only hours ago Montreal Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte has announced that he will return his Order of Canada in protest of abortion rights advocate Henry Morgentaler having been nominated to the Order.)

But will this policy be enough to attract pro-life voters?

Andrea Mrozek with the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada said “In Canada today, there is much shared ground between libertarians and conservatives. I could vote for a libertarian who would push for an end to abortion funding now, sure. Long term, however, I am not libertarian. It would be a marriage of convenience.”

Doris Gordon, founder of Libertarians for Life, said “Libertarians are against taxation. So every libertarian should oppose taxing people to pay for abortions. Tax funded abortions make every Canadian involuntarily complicit in this homicide. This is an injustice.”

Gordon added, “I agree partly with the position the Canadian Libertarian Party is taking and I hope it attracts interest and attention. Politically, what alternative do pro-lifers have?”

While Young acknowledges that he risks alienating both pro-choicers (Marc Emery?) and pro-lifers with this position, he believes that if this policy is communicated well, it could be seen as a practical, short-term reconciliation between pro-choice and pro-life voters. “I’m not talking about changing the abortion law; I’m talking about ending a specific federal healthcare spending priority that happens to undermine the freedom of conscience of a substantial number of Canadians,” said Young.

Defunding abortion at the federal level won’t end the debate for pro-lifers, but since the Conservatives have taken abortion off the agenda, it may be all they have this election cycle. (REAL Women of Canada left abortion off their national campaign pamphlet released on Wednesday, presumably because they couldn’t contrast Harper positively against the other parties on this issue.) (Source:  Download real_women_of_canada_federal_election_2008.pdf)

So will pro-life Canadians establish a “marriage of convenience” with the Libertarian Party on the issue of abortion?

Dennis_young_with_ezra_levant_4

(Picture: Libertarian Party leader Dennis Young talks with former Western Standard publisher Ezra Levant)

Posted by Matthew Johnston on September 11, 2008 in Canadian Conservative Politics | Permalink

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Comments

Matthew, I am pro-life down to the core. I believe that the unborn are humans no less than the born, so deeply that I can't express it strongly enough.

It might be better for the Libertarian Party to not state that they support abortion, but rather say they have no moral position on it whatsoever. However, that might alienate the pro choice crowd. In any case, defunding it is an excellent move and one that I, as a Christian and libertarian, like a lot.

Posted by: TM | 2008-09-11 1:06:50 PM


So will pro-life Canadians establish a “marriage of convenience” with the Libertarian Party?
Posted by Matthew Johnston on September 11, 2008

And if they do who cares. They might get a couple of hundred more votes. The Libertarian Party in this election is irrelevant.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-09-11 1:13:55 PM


This platform was written for exactly people like yourself, TM.

You might be right that the party should not have stated its support for safe and legal access to abortion. However, the party was no doubt balancing the divergent views in its own ranks.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-09-11 1:14:22 PM


As a measure of votes, you'll no doubt be right, Stig.

As a measure of influence, that will depend on how many candidates they end up with, and how well these guys get their message out.

I think this policy is exactly the sort of thing they need to do to court conservative votes and force themselves into the kinds of debates we have right here on the Shotgun.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-09-11 1:18:13 PM


I'm still not sure how enthusiastic I can be about this policy decision. Of course I want defunding of government spending for abortion, but this is NOT because I am opposed to abortion. I want defunding of ALL government coercive spending on health.

How emotional an issue would it be if the LP announced defunding of federal funding for ski accidents instead? Skiing is a pleasureable, voluntary activity with high risks. Why should the general public be asked to cough up funding for the generally wealthier class who go skiing? Won't this make the point you're trying to make without alienating our natural constituency?

I think the defunding of abortion plank is needlessly poking a stake into the eyes of people who would otherwise be on our side.

Paul Geddes

Posted by: Paul Geddes | 2008-09-11 1:32:42 PM


As a measure of influence, that will depend on how many candidates they end up with, and how well these guys get their message out.
Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 11-Sep-08 1:18:13 PM

As of today the have 41 candidates. As there are 308 ridings that means they have candidates in 13% of the ridings. They do happen to have a candidate in Parkdale--High Park named Zork G. Hun. I'm not kidding. Would any sane person vote for some named Zork G. Hun.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-09-11 1:35:05 PM


Paul -- pro-choicers face no more legal or political battles for abortion access. They have total access and are secure in the fact that abortion rights are firmly entrenched in law and in the political culture of our country.

I don't think sincere pro-choicers are going to feel threatened by this policy. Those who want not only safe and legal access, but full government financial support as well, are not pro-freedom voters.

I'm very interested in how this issue plays out.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-09-11 1:43:01 PM


I'm not clear on your objections, The Stig. I agree that the LP is "irrelevant" (in terms of affecting the outcome of the election) in this election, but that's not the issue.

The issue is whether this "Leave us alone" coalition is a good idea, and something that would make the LP more relevant in the future.

Separately, is this particular policy plank going to help (as the press release argues) or hurt (as Paul Geddes is arguing) in the Libertarian Party's efforts at becoming more relevant?

For my part, I like the "Leave us alone" coalition, and I do think that the pro-lifers need to make a statement to themselves be relevant (The Stig: Do you also think that pro-lifers are "irrelevant"?) Otherwise, the Tories can continue to ignore their position, while taking their votes for granted. Because where are they going to go? NDP? Liberal? Where?

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2008-09-11 2:31:18 PM


I'm not clear on your objections, The Stig. I agree that the LP is "irrelevant" (in terms of affecting the outcome of the election) in this election, but that's not the issue.The issue is whether this "Leave us alone" coalition is a good idea, and something that would make the LP more relevant in the future.
Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 11-Sep-08 2:31:18 PM

I have no objection to them, or anyone else for that matter running. The "Leave us alone" coalition is merely trying to be all things to all people.

Doris Gordon, founder of Libertarians for Life, said “Libertarians are against taxation.

I don't like paying taxes either, but I realize that taxes pay for the military, the police etc. I think that a lot of Libertarians are refugees from the Natural Law Party.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-09-11 3:09:22 PM


As a staunch pro-lifer - I'd be into this marriage of convenience in a heartbeat. AND, although not fully libertarian, I'd work with them long and hard on removing more coercive taxation after this particular one was passed.

Although the argument against coercive taxation can be applied in many places, it's hard to deny that abortion is given special funding status among all medical procedures. It's not medically necessary in the vast majority of the cases, Sask residents voted strongly against public funding of it in the '91 plebiscite, but the (socialist) government of the day uniquely argued for continued full funding of it, and decided to de-insure life-and-death diabetic supplies instead.

Posted by: Shane O. | 2008-09-11 7:14:01 PM


I don't like paying taxes either, but I realize that taxes pay for the military, the police etc. I think that a lot of Libertarians are refugees from the Natural Law Party.

Posted by: The Stig | 11-Sep-08 3:09:22 PM


Stig, The things you've mentioned do need to be paid for and are completely in line with Libertarian policy. The LPC advocates user fees on a number of items used every day to pay for these necessities. But also advocates against personal income tax and taxation on everything you see, buy and do. In other words...if you want to use certain items you will do so knowing that part of your money goes to "necessities" of the country. As opposed to a general tax designed to keep us all under control. Remember, a wealthy, properly educated and armed population is difficult to control...and its "all" about control.

Posted by: JC | 2008-09-11 8:47:36 PM


The fact is that abortion is a provincially funded procedure not federal.
If this party wants to be serious then take it out of the CHA Canada Health Act unless needed to save the mothers life.
Furthermore legislate federaly to recognize a fetus as a person. Then you can say you have a pro-life policy

Posted by: Merle | 2008-09-11 8:58:48 PM


oh and a picture with Ezra and the party leader, means nothing as Ezra is not a Libertarain.
Libertarians dont use the state to enforce free speech rights as Ezra does often via defamation laws and law suits.

Posted by: Merle | 2008-09-11 9:01:37 PM


I will be sure to let you all know if that last post results in a law suit.

Posted by: Merle | 2008-09-11 9:05:47 PM


Merle - abortion is funded provincially and federally.

Harper has said that he would “oppose any bill limiting provincial funding to abortion services.” Here's the link:

http://westernstandard.blogs.com/shotgun/2008/07/does-canada-hav.html

It's the most aggressive abortion policy I've seen from any party so far.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-09-11 9:08:37 PM


As for the photo, Merle, it was the only one I had of Dennis Young.

Besides, I think it's a nice photo. I consider both those fellas friends.

As for being sued, didn't you issue a thinly veiled threat to sue the Western Standard in a recent thread?

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-09-11 9:15:53 PM


The LPC advocates user fees on a number of items used every day to pay for these necessities.
Posted by: JC | 11-Sep-08 8:47:36 PM

Such as? Lets cut out the bullshit. If you want to run this country and have a military that can properly defend the country, a Coast Guard that properly defends our maritime areas, an intelligence agency like CSIS and other vital national institutions, you are not going to do it with user fees.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-09-11 9:44:20 PM


I agree with Paul Geddes that this is a poor policy decision. I agree that those opposed to abortion should not be forced to fund it. But the reality is that taxpayers are forced to fund immoral wars, inoculations, the United Nations, corporate welfare, porno movies, CBC, hundreds of obscene government programs. The people who pay taxes and expect an abortion paid for by the state have every good reason to expect that the federal government will use their tax money to finance that abortion. 66% of Canadians approve of a woman's right to choose an abortion and they have a reasonable claim to not have the funding negated to appeal to a minority who object to this use of tax dollars. They paid, they are entitled to receive. That's the rule of law.

This policy smacks of expediency. Its also unnecessary and impractical in view of how health care dollars are collected and spent in this current socialized medical system.

Posted by: Marc Scott Emery | 2008-09-11 9:54:32 PM


Abortion is not fderally funded-the feds give money to provs for health funding and the provs must supply needed services that include abortion as per the CHA.
Thus indirectly they do fund it. The Feds do not fund abortion directly tho. Their are private clinics and their funding $ come from the prov funds.
Hospitals that provide abortion use health dollars that partly come from the Feds.
As for suing or not I am not a Libertarian.Sorry Matthew you stated something that only a Judge can decide and you made statements alleging fact that have not been proven yet in a court.
You interpreted an issue that has not been decided.
You did not say alleged you stated it as fact.
Glad to hear Ezra is your pal, I never thought otherwise.

Posted by: Merle | 2008-09-11 9:58:13 PM


The Feds give the provinces healthcare transfer dollars and those dollars are spent, in part, on abortion. That's pretty direct.

And then there is the federal money that goes to pro-choice advocacy groups like Planned Parenthood.

Here's another link:

http://www.westernstandard.ca/website/article.php?id=2725

Only a judge can settle your legal dispute, but the media can make all the judgments they want about public documents. You should really get real legal advice, Merle, if you plan to go the distance against Ezra.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-09-11 10:17:14 PM


Such as? Lets cut out the bullshit. If you want to run this country and have a military that can properly defend the country, a Coast Guard that properly defends our maritime areas, an intelligence agency like CSIS and other vital national institutions, you are not going to do it with user fees.


Posted by: The Stig | 11-Sep-08 9:44:20 PM


Really? And just why not? We already pay HUGE taxes on gasoline and so many other things it boggles the mind. Where does all that money go?
Into a whole lot of horse shit feel good, robbing peter to pay paul bottomless pit political crap....as opposed to "useful" things like Defending "our" nation and upholding laws of "justice". We throw so much money down the fu**ing drain every day that it really should be treated as criminal and treasonous. And you don't think people would pay a 10 or 15% user fee on fuel (Billions alone) to support the necessities? Come on man! They're already willing to give up WAY more than that which would be required to run an efficient show....without all the pork and waste.

Posted by: JC | 2008-09-11 10:17:47 PM


Abortion is an evil act perpetrated on the innocent child in the womb. And it is camouflaged under the slogan "freedom of choice.

The Evil of “Choice”
By Stephen J. Gray

“Woe to those who call evil good” (Isaiah 5:20).

The word “choice” is frequently used by proponents of the abortion industry. Has this industry successfully camouflaged what abortion is by using the word “choice?” After all, who could be against “choice?”

But, what is this “choice” that these people are promoting? Is it healthy? Is it ethical? Is it decent? Of course not. What is healthy, ethical or decent about having a “choice” to kill a child in the womb? Yet, abortion supporters advocate this type of killing, provided that this life is not wanted.

The use of language to dehumanize victims is not a new phenomenon. Throughout history, words have been used to dehumanize those slated for killing. “Useless eaters” was used by the Nazis to justify their killing of human beings. And a slogan used by abortion advocates in today’s society is, “Every child a wanted child,” the idea being that if the unborn are not “wanted,” the “final solution” is to kill them in the name of “choice.”

The atrocities committed under the slogan “freedom of choice” have resulted in over 100,000 innocent lives killed yearly by abortionists in Canada, and untold millions world-wide. This massive genocidal execution program for the innocent “unwanted” is presided over by governments of all political stripes. These same governments who say the Holocaust must never be forgotten overlook that they are party to the massive holocaust of innocent unborn children.

“Politics have no relation to morals” (Machiavelli).

“I support freedom of choice on abortion” is the boast of many politicians on the election trail. “Vote for me and ‘choice’ will continue,” is their message; in other words, killing will continue.

Many of them voice platitudes about “human rights” but when it comes to that tiny human in the womb, the only “right” they will apportion to him is to be killed by “choice.” (Note: In Canada, spotted owls, grizzly bears, and other animals have more protection than children in the womb.)

When politicians speak of supporting “choice,” on abortion, what that actually means is permitting unborn children to be cut up and carved to pieces, or killed by other methods such as poisoning by saline solution. Others are murdered by having their skull pierced by sharp scissors and their brains suctioned out (partial birth abortion). Barbarity is being practiced and human sacrifices are made.

“Today in seventeen European countries, there are more burials than births, more coffins than cradles” ( Pat Buchanan in his book, The Death Of The West, page 9).

The consequences of “choice” are there for all to see. Many years of killing the unborn has resulted in an ever-increasing aging population in many parts of the world.

Here in Canada, there is a lack of workers for many jobs. Some in the “investigative” media blame this on “low fertility.” However, no connection is made by the media that if you kill millions of unborn human beings over the years, the result will be an aging population, and a lack of workers.

Speaking of workers, trade unions here in Canada are big supporters of “freedom of choice,” and now these union “experts” are complaining about union membership declining. They are the authors of their own misfortune.

Furthermore, in some countries, females are the present day “unwanted,” and are killed by abortion. This has resulted in an imbalance in their populations of more boys than girls. One wonders where the radical feminists who speak of “equality” are when these innocent females are slaughtered by discriminatory “choice?”

The idea that human life is disposable has created a frightening reality for today’s aging population: perhaps the generation raised to believe that parents can kill their children will soon act on the idea that children can kill their parents. It seems euthanasia is not far off, showing that society will reap what it sows.

To see the heinous act of “choice” go to: http://www.AbortionNo.org

Stephen J. Gray

Posted by: Stephen J. Gray | 2008-09-11 10:37:22 PM


The real issue isn't abortion. It's fetal rights. When will the Libertarian Party acknowledge the equality and natural rights of unborn children?

Posted by: SUZANNE | 2008-09-11 11:31:32 PM


And you don't think people would pay a 10 or 15% user fee on fuel (Billions alone) to support the necessities?
Posted by: JC | 11-Sep-08 10:17:47 PM

And what is the difference between a user fee and a tax? Think you could get the provinces to play along? I doubt it.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-09-12 5:33:55 AM


And what is the difference between a user fee and a tax? Think you could get the provinces to play along? I doubt it.

Posted by: The Stig | 12-Sep-08 5:33:55 AM


The difference is, it doesn't come off of my paycheck. Leaving me with choices as to what I do with 30% of "my" money. And I doubt the governments, Federal or Provincial would play along. That's why we need a bottom up reorganization.

Posted by: JC | 2008-09-12 6:19:56 AM


Moral cowardice is no substitute for honesty. The Libertarians should come clean and state that they, like other parties can't agree on whether or not abortions for convenience constitute human killings. Downloading the issue to provinces without the practical ability to direct provincial funding is bogus and a cop-out.

Unravelling leviathan is a paradigm shift far greater than what can be accomplished by dabbling in sound-bite politics. The people have to be there before politicians can get in front of the crowd and pretend to lead.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2008-09-12 10:44:00 AM


“This policy smacks of expediency. Its also unnecessary and impractical in view of how health care dollars are collected and spent in this current socialized medical system.”

Posted by: Marc Scott Emery | 11-Sep-08 9:54:32 PM

I think you are probably right about this. But don't all political policies smack of expediency?

“The people who pay taxes and expect an abortion paid for by the state have every good reason to expect that the federal government will use their tax money to finance that abortion. 66% of Canadians approve of a woman's right to choose an abortion and they have a reasonable claim to not have the funding negated to appeal to a minority who object to this use of tax dollars. They paid, they are entitled to receive. That's the rule of law.”

Posted by: Marc Scott Emery | 11-Sep-08 9:54:32 PM

If I understand you correctly, I disagree strongly. The list of things people would believe the government ought to fund is endless. And although you may be right that it is the law, that is not reason enough to stay silent on the matter. There are also laws about marijuana, but many agree they are unjust and therefore oppose them.
Furthermore, what does the 66% have to do with anything? It does not make abortion right or wrong. If 66% of the people thought marijuana should be illegal, would you speak up? Or if 66% of the people thought homeless people should be jailed, would it make it right?
Correct me if I am wrong, but on the one hand you want politicians to be above political expediency, and yet on the other hand you seem to support the same behavior when it favors your personal convictions, for example abortion.

Posted by: TM | 2008-09-12 1:17:43 PM


The problem libertarians have with abortion is that it's rightness or wrongness can not be determined solely by libertarian principles. All libertarians respect the right to life of all human beings. The disagreement is over what constitutes an autonomous human being.


I liken this issue to differences over other religious concepts. After years of one religion sending members of another to the stake over their disagreements we finally learned that it is better for all concerned to leave such issues up to the individual with moral suasion as the only tool used to change people's opinion.

Until science can provide us a consensus position on when a fetus becomes human being, decisions on abortion must be considered religious decisions and treated as all other religious decisions.


That said, the LP is correct in advocating the prohibition of tax money to fund abortion. It is up to those who don't want to see a woman make her decision based on whether she can a afford an abortion, to raise the money needed for those who can't pay their own way.


Similarly, it is up to the opponents of abortion to come up with the money to help raise the fetuses that are not aborted when the main reason for doing so would have been the fear of not being able to afford a child. I respect the decision of someone not to abort but not their right to force me to financially support their decision.

Posted by: June | 2008-09-12 1:40:06 PM


June, wouldn't it be better to have those who want abortions to pay for them and those who don't, to pay for raising their kids? It's pretty simple. I woudln't expect you to be asked to pay to raise someone elses kids no matter the situation.

On another note, I don't see how you can call it a religious matter, but I respect your opinion. There are mnay things in life that we don't have a consensus on that we don't call religious matters. Simple things, like is coffee good for you or bad for? Should you take vitamins or not? Is homeschooling accepptable or not? Is it OK to speed 10kph over the limit or not?

Slavery was always wrong but not always a consensus. Yet you would probably not call it a relisious matter.

Posted by: TM | 2008-09-12 2:41:48 PM


Sigh - Modern science conclusively identifies the unborn as a distinct, living, member of homo sapiens. Those who don't recognize this are living in Medieval science. The correct debate to be having is "when is human life protectable?" The facts are what the facts are - people are free to have their own opinion about them, but it speaks very little of the intelligence of the average modern citizen that we can't get basic human embryology correct.

Seriously, when people don't recognize that science has an answer to 'is a human fetus a living human being', it's like trying to discuss space flight with people who are still debating whether the Earth is flat, or whether the Sun revolves around the Earth.

Posted by: Shane O. | 2008-09-12 6:36:49 PM


Good answer Shane.

Posted by: TM | 2008-09-13 12:03:39 AM



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