It’s time once again for The Future American’s FAIL OF THE WEEK! Every Saturday, I name a person or group who has spent the past seven days behaving in a particularly idiotic way. Since it’s my belief that idiocy knows no politics, nobody is safe.
This week’s fail was brought to you by everyone, some of whom I know personally, who made the latest “abortion bill” in the Canadian Parliament all about abortion. Does that seem off? Welcome to Canada. Generally speaking, our politicians prefer to avoid the issue entirely, except MP Stephen Woodworth (Kitchener Centre), who introduced a private member’s bill to debate the legal definition of human life. The bill went down 203-91, but not without some ridiculous post-game reaction.
First, some background for American readers. Most federal legislation in Canada is introduced by the Cabinet, composed entirely of sitting members of the party with the highest representation in Parliament. This legislation requires all MPs to vote with their respective party leaders, on pain of being booted from the party. (Yeah, it’s that stupid.) A private member’s bill can be introduced by any MP, and members can vote on them however they choose. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has spent his time at the helm avoiding abortion like the plague; Woodworth’s dissent will be duly noted.
Anyway, Status of Women Minister (yes, we have one) Rona Ambrose (Edmonton–Spruce Grove) voted for the bill, which comes as no surprise as she represents a fairly small-c conservative part of the country. Since then, multiple Canadians, most of whom never vote Conservative anyway, have demanded her resignation or dismissal. That they’re limiting her respect for women to the pro-life/pro-choice binary is bad enough, but not entirely unsurprising. I haven’t heard any MPs talk about transvaginal ultrasounds, is all I’m saying.
The real problem is their failure to understand how free votes work in Parliament. It’s a rare opportunity for MPs to vote according to their constituents’ wishes, as well as their own consciences. Ambrose says her concern is over sex-selective abortions in particular, which isn’t a bad excuse, but ineffective against these rabid beavers. And even if she were pro-life, what would it matter? The failure of this bill is proof enough that abortion isn’t on Parliament’s radar.
This debate might not be necessary, but like it or not, abortion isn’t the settled issue some claim it to be. That makes a debate on principle worthwhile. If Ambrose is truly out of step with the Canadian mainstream, her opponents should win such a debate handily, right? Why are they afraid of giving it a try? The 91 MPs who voted for the bill certainly weren’t afraid of a challenge.