Yes, every boy needs a hobby, including our parliament’s fetus fetishists. Thus the “Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus” rides again, now with Rod “Massive Poll” Bruinooge replacing Maurice Vellacott at the head of the fetus-fetishizing table. Stand back!:

The new chairman of a secretive pro-life Parliamentary caucus is pledging to rekindle the abortion debate in Canada and bring “more value” to the lives of unborn children.

Although Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said he’s not interested in reopening the divisive issue, Winnipeg MP Rod Bruinooge told The Canadian Press people need to be better educated about Canada’s abortion stance, which he says puts the country in a “class of its own.”

Secretive pro-life Parliamentary caucus”. Well, it’s no secret that there’s a cabal of fetus humpers in Parliament; most are in the CPC but there are also some turncoat anti-choice assholes in the Liberal Party. (Note to Iggy: time to clean house.)

And so what? The little parliamentary scab known as the “Pro-Life Caucus” has been festering away for years, oozing the usual repetitive rhetoric about how “Canada wants to re-open The Debate!” Oh, sure. Sure we do.

If Canada was so keen to “re-open The Debate”, there wouldn’t be a need for a separate “Pro-Life Caucus”, would there, now? And it most certainly wouldn’t have to be “secretive”. What’s with the secrecy, anyway? If the “Pro-Life Caucus” promotes something Canadians really want, why aren’t we allowed to know more about it so we can all get in on its incredible awesomeness?

Bruinooge is right about one thing: Canada is in a class of its own. With no regressive abortion laws, not-a-one, we lead the world in keeping the pearl-clutching, crotch-sniffing nanny state out of women’s private lives. And that’s a status quo most Canadians can live with.

UPDATE: Impolitical has an interesting take.  It’s too true — Conservatives just. don’t. get it.  They’re becoming more like their GOP role models every day.

(h/t – Lulu)

26 Responses to “Secretive”

  1. 1 Niles Sunday, December 28, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    They’re not hidden…they’re just keeping secrets close to their chests, as in just who the membership is, mostly I would presume because they *claim* to have members from all parties and pro-coerced childbirth, last I thought, is an official no-no re: NDP.

    So it’s like an indirect claim as to how *dangerous* it is for MPs to be brave soldiers for the unborn because the unedimicated public would turn on the martyrs viciously at the call of the secular liberal uhm…mind-puppeteers. Certainly more sexy to believe that.

    But I don’t believe Bruinooge is going ‘off the reservation’ (oi, is that a loaded metaphor given the ‘many accomplishments’ of Brazeau). I think the ‘puir wee unbairns’ is just more dog whistling to the religious base while Parliament is out and Harper is turning the Senate into the Shelter for Unloved (unwed?) Conservative Candidates (another area where the electorate just didn’t know who was good for it).

    Harper can’t say it directly, so he lets Bruinooge yap away on his little moral hill and lets the man mix in one more angle that well-placed Liberals are secretly supportive of the Conservative agenda rather than their own.

    Just fits in nicely with all the cheese and whine of the Christian martyr season that McVety et al are exploiting like the weasels they are. Babyyy Jeezus wasn’t aborted, amen.

    It’s a nice transitional position to excuses to cut down on abortion funding because of bad economic times.

  2. 2 JJ Sunday, December 28, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    Niles – Great analysis, thank you.

    It’s actually not too hard to figure out who these guys are: most CPCers are anti-choice, and the rabid ones are pretty obvious. They don’t want to name names because of the liberals on board, idiots like Lee and Szabo. If it’s such a popular cause, then what’s the problem? On the other hand it does add a nice touch of paranoia and persecution, nothing these nitwits love more.

    “Harper can’t say it directly, so he lets Bruinooge yap away on his little moral hill and lets the man mix in one more angle that well-placed Liberals are secretly supportive of the Conservative agenda rather than their own.”

    I agree. I liked Impolitcal’s analysis, but the only CPC MPs who ever seem to “go rogue” are the ones who are on their way out (ie. Epp with Bill C-484). Bruinooge is far from retirement but he’s not particularly influential (he’s a backbencher), so I think Harper’s letting him play with this to throw a bone to the socons, and as you say, possibly make some embarrassment for the Liberals.

    “It’s a nice transitional position to excuses to cut down on abortion funding because of bad economic times.”

    The first woman who died from a kitchen table abortion because she couldn’t afford a legal one would also bury whatever party initiated such a funding cut. They need to cut, they’d do well to look elsewhere than medical procedures.

  3. 3 Reality Bites Sunday, December 28, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    I’m not entirely convinced that our “unique” status is necessarily a good thing. I think Canadian women might be better-served by a law that explicitly legalizes and guarantees access to abortion services up to a certain limit in weeks and provides for late-term abortions only under specific circumstances – namely those that are already informally in effect.

    It’s certainly clear to me that Canada doesn’t lead the world in providing safe, convenient access to abortion for all women.

    I don’t, needless to say, think there’s any prospect of Canada enacting such a law.

  4. 4 JJ Sunday, December 28, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    RB – I hear ya, and in a sense I agree. Like I keep telling SUZANNE — be careful what you wish for. Because any ‘abortion legislation’ that might eventually find its way into our law books won’t be the kind she wants, that’s for sure.

    Although I love that we have *No law*, I also recognize the downside: as long as there’s no law the fetus fetishists will never stop screaming. Abortion rights might be in more danger without a law that they would be with one, at least one such as you describe (enshrining the status quo). Especially if they start getting anywhere with this “fetal rights” routine they’re pushing now.

    On the other hand… if there was a law they could just keep working to make it more & more restrictive. It would have to be explicity-enshrined in the constitution, unchangeable, untouchable. I could get behind that 🙂

  5. 5 fern hill Sunday, December 28, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    It seems to me no law is best. Why law? Law is needed when there are conflicts. There are no conflicts here. It is entirely a private matter.

    Once there is a ‘law’, there will be attempts to amend it. And that won’t be good.

  6. 6 Alison Monday, December 29, 2008 at 12:29 am

    I agree with Niles – this is just more rotting red meat flung at their base, but … oh noes!
    Mr. Bruinooge said that it is illegal for an individual to have a kidney removed and auction it off on eBay.

    “The bottom line is that people like myself are not going to stop until, at the very least, unborn children have more value than a Canadian kidney,” he said.

    Who is in the secret Pro-kidney-on-ebay Caucus?

  7. 7 JJ Monday, December 29, 2008 at 3:06 am

    fern hill – No law is obviously best, since as you say its a private matter.

    But obviously not everyone agrees, and that’s what RB is getting at — without being enshrined in law somehow, abortion rights are wide open to attack. So he has a point, that codifying the status quo might offer some protection. But the problem with any law is amendments.

    Also, from the other direction, the “fetal rights” thing is a concern. If abortion rights aren’t enshrined in some way and they start making inroads with fetal rights (via things like C-484), it could be problematic.

    The best scenario IMO is no *law* per se, but having abortion and contraception rights *explicitly* enshrined in the Constitution. Abortion laws were struck from the Criminal Code because they violated the Constitutional right to “security of person” (how R v Morgentaler was decided, IIRC). That should be good enough, but as long as there are 100,000 fetus fetishists trying to get abortion (and contraception!) restricted or banned, it’s not.

  8. 8 JJ Monday, December 29, 2008 at 3:20 am

    Alison – Bruinooge doesn’t do analogies very well, does he? No, we can’t sell a kidney on EBay, we also can’t sell an aborted fetus on EBay (although I’m sure there’d be takers if we could — shudder). So what on earth is he getting at with that? Duh!

    I can’t believe Harper is allowing this guy to say this kind of thing, since it basically flies in the face of what Harper himself has said.

    I think it is just meat, since I’m pretty sure they say the same thing every year (this “pro-life caucus” has been going for at least 8 years). But I can’t recall them being this noisy about it.

    It could also be Slow News Time. Parliament prorogued, no question period antics, the media have to report about something exciting.

    I suspect this is leading up to the re-introduction of another version of Bill C-484. They WILL do it, and I bet it happens sooner than later.

    To the barricades! Again!

  9. 9 Bene D Monday, December 29, 2008 at 3:59 am

    I think it’s a red meat lead up to another C-484. And yeah, between Christmas and the New Year is Very Slow News Time.

    He won by just over 100 votes, give him his stage and spotlight and his martyr complex, all the more reason to pay attention.

    Fern – excellent point – although Bruinooge certainly wouldn’t agree.

    Wouldn’t matter if this was in the Constitution, fetal rights supporters aren’t going to stop.
    Solution – don’t stop pushing back.

    Canadians aren’t going to take kindly to any legislation the secretive cabal is going to promote, we face more important issues affecting us and the country. If (when) they pull an Epp, the public backlash could set them back years.
    Winnipegers aren’t going to take kindly to his latest public drama queen foray – hopefully this is his next election swan song.

  10. 10 900ft Jesus Monday, December 29, 2008 at 6:10 am

    Correct me if I’m wrong –

    all proceeds from committee meetings must be made available to the public unless the committee is dealing with sensitive material that could affect national security, or is dealing with the formalizing of info not yet to be relased because people could use it to ufair advantage (ie details of a budget before it is tabled)

    So how can these MPs (who we pay, who were elcted to represent their constituents) hold meetings without divulging their membership or their complete hansard-style notes?

    If these douchebags want to form their own little anti-choice group off-Hill and as private citizens, that’s their right, but they are using their role as elected members, using federal resources for their meetings, probably using federal staff and federal administrative resources as well.

    That means, I believe, they have to be accountable and publicly show expenses, members, and activities.

    (That kidney argument is moronic and so dishonest)

  11. 11 Reality Bites Monday, December 29, 2008 at 7:57 am

    I have to disagree – there is a problem here in terms of access, and while individual health care is very much a private matter, access to health care is not.

    We don’t have a free market in health care where the government can say, “Oh sorry, no one wants to do heart bypasses in your province, but you’re welcome to get on a bus and travel to one where they’ll do it.”

    I definitely recognize it’s a two-edged sword. We all know that banning late-term abortions for other-than-health reasons won’t stop a single late-term abortion from taking place, but SUZANNE et-al are absolutely obsessed with the idea that it’s theoretically legal to do something that is legal only because it never happens.

    I also realize it’s a moot point. Even an NDP majority government would never bring in a bill guaranteeing access to abortion. Like a lot of socially progressive issues, action can only come through court challenges.

  12. 12 Reality Bites Monday, December 29, 2008 at 8:00 am

    900ft Jesus, this isn’t a committee of parliament. It’s a private group of MPs who choose to associate together, legally no different from a tea party in one of their homes, or more accurately in this instance, a circle jerk.

  13. 13 mouthyorange Monday, December 29, 2008 at 8:08 am

    “I can’t believe Harper is allowing this guy to say this kind of thing, since it basically flies in the face of what Harper himself has said.”

    I think the way Harper works is to say things that seem more moderate so that he appears to be more moderate, while his people bring in through the back door the agenda he actually intends to institute.

    For example, you don’t see him inciting people to riot. Of course not; if vigilante mobs started to riot against, let’s say, Easterners or perceived liberals or aboriginals or gays, he might well say something publicly that appeared to condemn it. But the Drones too often act as though they have derived different signals from his carefully crafted denying statements than what the rest of us think we have heard. Then the Drones act out, or threaten to act out, something not spoken in the content.

    During the week we were waiting to get the prorogation verdict and SH started pumping out the rhetoric about separatists and so on, nutcase CON supporters on CBC blogs and, if I remember correctly, elsewhere suddenly went public and threatened to bring out their unregistered rifles and blow away Coalition supporters. Not to mention threatening to disregard any rule of law that went against their Leader’s wishes. There appeared to be a direct relationship between these threats and H’s rhetoric about the Coalition being dangerous, even though, as I say, his words didn’t actually instruct people to pick up guns. But the pattern of coincidence between his speech and vigilante threats and actions (such as vandalizm against Liberal or Coalition signs and people’s houses) is fascinating. Also, H doesn’t have to say much more once a pattern of violence and ignorance has formed in the wake of something he’s already publicly said. Sometimes just a small reminder from him of the original rhetoric that sparked the original response, and the flames of the Drones flare up again. Unbidden? He can deny responsibility for any and all of it.

    I don’t believe a word he says to the Canadian public; I read opposite intentions into almost all of it. Just like when he said he didn’t want to open up the “abortion debate.” Hah. Worse–I figured if he was any truth to that twisted statement, it was only in that he didn’t intend to open up *debate* about it, but instead meant to slip in legislation that would be the beginning of the end of legal access to abortion in this country. Why open up messy debate if you can get things done undemocratically? (By the way, I’m using this as an example, not advocating debate about abortion. I like your thing, JJ, about rights being enshrined in the constitution. No laws; no one else’s business.)

    Psychological responses to specific forms of communication. An interesting topic.

  14. 15 JJ Monday, December 29, 2008 at 10:58 am

    Bene D – It’s red meat, the same meat they get every year. I agree that ultimately what this caucus will be working on is tabling another version of C-484. The grassroots voted for it a couple of months ago, so I’d be willing to be it happens by early spring.

    As for the secrecy, this caucus has always been secretive as a way of protecting (I think) the liberals on it. No conservative would decide to vote against an MP that they found out was anti-choice (most would be pleased), but many Liberal voters, especially women, would vote against an anti-choice Liberal MP. Thus the need for secrecy.

    But really, this is only being played up so much because there’s been a change of chairman, there’s nothing else going on, and Harper has decided it’s a nice juicy wedge issue to distract people from the economy. At least that’s my humble opinion 😉

  15. 16 JJ Monday, December 29, 2008 at 11:07 am

    900 – As RB says, it’s just a friendly little circle jerk of like-minded nitwits, not a committee, so hopefully it’s something they do on their free time.

    However, I think since they’re discussing women’s rights and how to roll them back, it’s time they were outed.

  16. 17 JJ Monday, December 29, 2008 at 11:13 am

    RB – I agree there’s a problem with access, especially in remote areas. When there’s only one doctor and he turns out to be a fetus fetishist, what do you do? Not everyone can afford to travel. So this is a real problem.

    I think we’re basically on the same page with the double-edged sword aspect of a law. I can see how it could be protective. OTOH, what usually happens with abortion laws is that they’re amended and amended again to make them more & more restrictive. So it could go either way.

    In any event, although Bruinooge is yapping about “re-opening the debate”, Canadians don’t want “the debate”, it’s a loser, it’s over. All the pro-life caucus will be doing is trying to get another C-484 tabled. Which is bad enough, of course. But this is generally the same shit they talk about every year.

  17. 18 JJ Monday, December 29, 2008 at 11:18 am

    orange – “But the pattern of coincidence between his speech and vigilante threats and actions (such as vandalizm against Liberal or Coalition signs and people’s houses) is fascinating”

    Oh for sure — look what happened at Sarah Palin’s rallies. The wingnuts were going apeshit. And she wasn’t saying “Obama is a terrorist”, but close enough insinuations to drive the brain dead into a frenzy.

    Harper knows how it works, you can say more with a whisper than a scream. Just use the power of suggestion and let peoples’ imaginations go crazy.

  18. 19 Reality Bites Monday, December 29, 2008 at 11:57 am

    I’m not sure I’m in agreement that the secrecy is about protecting the Liberals. I can’t recall any of them being even slightly shy about their views.

  19. 20 JJ Monday, December 29, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Ya think? Why would they be secretive about it then? I mean, they’re not secretive that the thing exists, or about what they’re discussing (more or less), just their membership.

    Why do you think, RB?

  20. 21 Reality Bites Monday, December 29, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    Possibly because it is damaging for a member’s career prospects? Harper (like Martin before him) really doesn’t care where someone falls on the issue. What he cares about is that they shut up about it! There are pro-lifers in cabinet. There are vicious homophobes in cabinet (Jason Kenney for the double-header, as an example). What there aren’t, are people who talk about it – at least not anymore, not since the magical 2006 election where it was decided nothing they ever said in the past counted anymore and the media decided to play along.

    I’ve been wondering how swift, stern and public Broony’s smackdown from Harper is going to be. Is it going to be a Martin/Chretien-esque “respect for opinions, free speech, no impact on government policy” or a Harperesque “No debate on abortion, no private member’s bills, God has spoken and we’re sending him to the same doctor who aborted Cheryl Gallant’s tongue two years ago.

  21. 22 JJ Monday, December 29, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    RB – So you think this thing operates independently of Harper’s input? I guess that makes sense, since it’s been around since long before Harper. That would explain the secrecy — although it wouldn’t be too hard for Harper to figure out who’s in it.

    I guess if Broony 😆 is operating independently, going rogue so to speak, he’ll be getting a smackdown at some point, but why not 3 weeks ago when this was first announced? It kind of reeks of being a diversionary tactic.

    Speaking of vicious homophobes, just for fun I googled “parliamentary marriage caucus”, just to see if these bozos were up to anything ELSE. Nada, except for that one-day shindig they had 2 years ago, before that “vote on whether there should be a vote on marriage”. Equal marriage at least is here to stay.

  22. 23 JJ Monday, December 29, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    RB – Here’s a chuckle for you. From the Interim, the “Pro Life and Pro Marriage record of MPs” survey taken just after the CPC won the 2006 election, here’s “Tristan Emmanuel”:

    “Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper made a promise to Canada
    to fight for the restoration of real marriage in Canada. The ECP Centre
    has some bold plans to rally the support of Canadians to drive this
    agenda to success.”

    FAIL 😆

  23. 24 Beijing York Monday, December 29, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    I think the fact that a back bencher like Bruinooge has gotten so much media play is indicative of it having Harper’s finger prints all over it. I’m just not sure why? Sheer political distraction? Trial balloon (Bill C-484 went relatively smoothly with little repercussions for Herr Harper)? Dog whistle to increasingly dismayed grass roots supporters?

    Bruinooge is such a nobody that it’s safe to say that there is no political risk to Harper if he’s not well received.

  24. 25 JJ Monday, December 29, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    beijing – Distraction, maybe a trial balloon for another C-484 (which I KNOW will happen again this year), maybe just serendipitous timing.

    This caucus has been around for years, after all, and has always been secretive about its membership. It’s getting a little attention this year because the chair is changing from Vellacott to Bruinooge, and also there’s nothing else going on with parliament prorogued — otherwise it would be flying under the radar.

    But this is one of those “Now that you mention it…” things. Now that it’s got our attention, we need to demand some answers from these clowns. If they’re going to sit around and discuss taking away Our Rights, I want to know who the fuck they are.

    So let’s find out (or make so much noise that the MSM starts pushing the issue and gets answers).

  25. 26 Reality Bites Monday, December 29, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    OK, definitely swift!

    OTTAWA – In the face of dissension within the party, Stephen Harper’s Conservative government is reiterating its commitment to not reopen the debate on abortion.

    “Throughout his political career, the prime minister has been clear on this issue,” said Dimitri Soudas, a spokesman for the prime minister. “We will not introduce or support legislation on abortion.”

    The issue resurfaced Monday when Rod Bruinooge, a Conservative MP for Winnipeg South, published an opinion piece in the National Post arguing why he has “no choice but to advocate for the unborn and seek to have their value restored.”

    Conservative officials were quick to denounce any suggestion that the government will reopen the debate on abortion, but the issue is likely not closed.

    Bruinooge was recently elected chairman of the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus, a multi-party caucus that predates the Harper government by many years. Bruinooge could not be reached for comment.

    Yeah, I just bet he can’t be reached for comment. From now on he’s going to need a driver when he wants to go to a drive-thru, because he’s not going to be allowed to use ANY microphones.

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