What happened

Suddenly all that screaming, screeching and shrieking we were hearing last week seems to have died out and it’s suddenly gotten very quiet

A new abortion law for Canada just isn’t in the cards, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Friday as the issue continues to bubble and backbench Conservatives press for new legislation. […]

“But I have been clear: I will oppose any attempt to create a new abortion law.”

On the other hand, maybe the rest of that sentence was “during this Parliament”.  Vigilance.

26 Responses to “What happened”


  1. 1 Reality.Bites Friday, May 21, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    The story was posted “over there” a few hours ago, but there’s yet to be a comment.

    I give it a day or too before some of them start talking about how they’re going to abandon Harper for the Fascist Heritage Party, like they did during the last federal election.

  2. 2 fern hill Friday, May 21, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Connie thinks the CPC will drop in the polls. Wouldn’t that be something? 😀

    Me, I think JJ is right to call for vigilance. He’s a lying prick who’ll say and do anything to stay in power.

    OT: JJ, please consider a preview function for comments in your next platform move. The tpyo-prone implore you.

  3. 3 Reality.Bites Friday, May 21, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    If there is a CPC drop in the polls in the next while, that would translate to an increase for some/all of the LPC, NDP or BQ. It would be hard/impossible to interpret that as being the result of disaffected socons punishing Harper.

    The “Dominionists” liked to take credit for the defeat of the John Tory PCs in the last provincial election, but the parties they were supporting (Family Coalition and Freedom) showed no increase in votes.

    While I wouldn’t care to speculate on what Harper would do in his version of a perfect world, in the real world doing anything to change the status quo on abortion would be a huge problem for him, creating the same nightmare of constitutional challenges and revolting provinces a marriage ban would have caused.

  4. 4 Torontonian Friday, May 21, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    From CTV, quoting Harper:

    “But I have been clear: I will oppose any attempt to create a new abortion law.”

    ——

    And he’s not going to put the final nails in the abortion issue coffin for the good of the parliamentary calendar.

    It’s almost a bogeyman that will come out every election to scare the rest of the people.

  5. 5 Jasper Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 8:58 am

    Stephen Harper,

    Get a spine.

  6. 6 Reality.Bites Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Jasper, you drooling imbecile, did it never occur to you that, as leader of a party that’s overwhelmingly anti-choice, a spine is exactly what he’s using in standing up to them?

  7. 7 JJ Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    RB – The post has garnered a few comments now, but the tone is general discouragement 😦 😉

    These people seem to have an overblown sense of the importance of their issues — marriage is a dead issue, and abortion doesn’t even register with most people unless they’re asked about it specifically, as in a poll. And even then, over 60% are either pro-choice or don’t give a shit either way.

    I think they need to find some other issue to concentrate on.

  8. 8 JJ Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    fern hill – Hard to say if the CPC will suffer because of this.

    For whatever socon support Harper loses, he may pick up even more support from centrists and liberal fiscal cons who wish he’d get off these dumb social issues and concentrate on the economy.

    This might actually be a great time for the LPC to add jobs and the economy to their talking points, while Harper is mired in social crappola. “Look at us, we’re talking about the things that really matter while Harper is hanging everyone up with social issues that have already been put to bed a long time ago.”

  9. 9 JJ Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    RB

    While I wouldn’t care to speculate on what Harper would do in his version of a perfect world, in the real world doing anything to change the status quo on abortion would be a huge problem for him, creating the same nightmare of constitutional challenges and revolting provinces a marriage ban would have caused.

    That’s the thing that everyone pushing for abortion laws doesn’t seem to remember — the old law was struck down because it was unconstitutional, IIRC… the right to privacy and security of person, something like that. Making a new law would require amending that part of the Constitution, wouldn’t it?

  10. 10 JJ Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Torontonian

    It’s almost a bogeyman that will come out every election to scare the rest of the people.

    This is why I still don’t understand what Harper’s game was with that G8 initiative. He didn’t have to leave out abortion and contraception, and he must have known that doing so would cause a shitstorm. If they’d been included, nobody would have commented on it other than probably Lifesite.

    Dog whistle? Trial balloon?

  11. 11 JJ Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Jasper – Harper is just doing what he has to in order to stay in power. If people even get a hint that he might be driving a serious wrecking crew towards any social issue, it would be political suicide.

  12. 12 JJ Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    RB – That’s a good point. The vast majority of the CPC is virulently anti-choice: for Harper to continually slap them down takes some balls.

    Not that that means he’s to be trusted, but it’s amusing to watch.

  13. 13 Bleatmop Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    “But I have been clear: I will oppose any attempt to create a new abortion law.”

    That’s a nuanced statement if I ever heard it. He could very well oppose such a new law by voting against it, but still allow a free vote on the subject. A free vote that could pass in a CPC majority, especially with all the LPC forced birthers out there.

  14. 14 Michelle Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    It’s not in the cards as long as Canadians aren’t stupid enough to grant Harper a majority in parliament.

    The extremists will demand their pound of flesh the moment he gets a majority – make no mistake about it. Harper’s pissed about Bruinooge and the G-8 thing right now because it’s hurting his chances of getting the majority he craves – right when he’s starting to plan another election.

  15. 15 Reality.Bites Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Bleatmop, in regards to the Looney Brooney Bill


    A senior government official also says that while the prime minister will not “whip” or demand Conservative MPs vote as he votes, it will be “very strongly recommended” that Conservatives vote to defeat the bill.

    Frankly, a “strong recommendation” from Harper means more than a whipped vote from a Liberal or NDP leader.

    He also said prior to or during his first winning campaign that he would do everything possible to make sure no private member’s bill on abortion (meaning directly, not this silliness) even comes to a vote.

    I mean honestly – why would Harper want to destroy his career over an ultimately doomed attempt at an abortion law?

    (I hate it when it sounds as if I’m praising him. I’m not)

  16. 16 Bleatmop Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    RB – You may be right. I hope you would be right even when Harper gets his majority. I’m pretty sure it’s happening next election.

  17. 17 JJ Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    Bleatmop

    That’s a nuanced statement if I ever heard it

    It is. Someone here (it might have been you, or maybe RB) mentioned that if Harper got a majority, there’d be nothing he could do to stop his caucus from tabling a bill. With the help of Liberal anti-choicers 👿 they might even succeed in getting it passed. But it would create a bizarre situation for the CPC, where a PM who just won a majority is treated like a lame duck by his caucus 😯 Given the control he exercises over them even in minority government status, I can’t see this happening. But you never know.

    Of course, it’s also contingent upon whether Harper’s telling the truth when he makes that nuanced statement.

  18. 18 JJ Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    Michelle

    Harper’s pissed about Bruinooge and the G-8 thing right now because it’s hurting his chances of getting the majority he craves – right when he’s starting to plan another election.

    The timing couldn’t be worse for this issue to rear its ugly head. That’s why I am suspicious that it’s some kind of trap — he could have crafted a normal G8 initiative that includes all the usual reproductive services, without raising any eyebrows. For the life of me, I cannot understand why he’d do it in a way that would clearly raise a lot of unwanted noise over a topic he tries to avoid like the plague. The hidden agenda is back! With a vengeance! Just what he needs in an election year.

  19. 19 JJ Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    RB

    I mean honestly – why would Harper want to destroy his career over an ultimately doomed attempt at an abortion law?

    That’s my feeling — I don’t trust him, but it doesn’t make any sense that he’d want to revisit some dumb social issue that most people consider closed, then go through a long, protracted, ugly battle over it which he’d eventually lose anyway, and have THAT as his legacy. (And pretty much ensure consecutive Liberal majorities in the next few elections.) Good grief, it would be like deciding to go back and re-open marriage. The average person’s reaction would be “WTF? Closed issue!” Everyone’s moved on.

  20. 20 JJ Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    Bleatmop – You think Harpie will get his majority? I’m not so sure, especially after all this recent stuff, the hidden agenda etc.

    He must be tearing his hair out 😆

  21. 21 Reality.Bites Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 6:11 am

    And when you look at the marriage issue, which he was more-or-less stuck with (by his own doing), he really showed he was all talk.

    He delayed as long as possible, then made it a vote on whether or not they should look at it, rahter than a vote on an actual repeal of the Civil Marriage Act or a new law explicitly prohibiting marriage. And he made it plain he would not use the notwithstanding clause, nor would he make dissolve existing marriages (making an untenable situation of different levels of rights).

    We can also look at Mulroney, stuck with a promise to hold a vote on restoring capital punishment and having a massive majority, but managing to retain the ban.

    Harper, of course, has made no promise to hold a vote on abortion. And should he win a majority, those additional seats are going to have to come from places where the desire for an abortion law is minimal.

    I don’t think it’s impossible that there’s a backbencher more interested in the issue than having a career. And of course that backbencher could just as easily be a Liberal, who has no need to fear Harper.

    But I do think Harper would do everything possible to keep the status quo.

    My personal opinion is that the worst case scenario would be a ban on late-term abortions except in the case of danger to a woman’s health – in effect, codifying the status quo. But I don’t want this bitter, divisive and pointless debate to happen. No good can come of it.

  22. 22 JJ Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    RB – Great comment, thanks.

    I don’t think Harper ever had any intention of fucking with marriage. 😆

    That said, I was following it closely at the time to see just how medieval this government intended to get, but as soon as I heard it would be “a vote on whether to have a vote”, I suspected the socons were about to take another dropkick to the gonads. 😆

    But I do think Harper would do everything possible to keep the status quo.

    Agreed. As you said above, I hate when it sounds like I’m defending the geek because I really don’t like/trust him, but when you do the math it just doesn’t make any sense for him to do otherwise. He will leave it for some future PM to deal with, and as time goes by, it gets less and less likely that anyone will. With the passage of time, the optics for re-opening this thing only get worse — it increasingly smacks of dragging the country backwards. No politician wants to be known as “the guy who dragged the country back three decades” on any issue. That’s why they say the phrase “Moving forward” so much.

    But as you say, even the worse case scenario would be codification of the status quo, since they’d craft the law using CMA guidelines already in use. And if anyone had the jam to do such a thing, you can bet it would be a long long time before anyone tried it again.

  23. 23 Bleatmop Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    JJ – Considering that this private members bill managed to get tabled with Harper’s “tight control” over his caucus, I somehow wonder what exactly he has in control. If he really didn’t want this issue brought up again, especially during an election year, why would he allow someone to table this motion, even as a private member bill.

    Its my personal opinion that Harper has about as much control over the Socons as I do over my cats. They’re (the socons) are only in it to win it, so to speak. Once they get their chance, don’t expect them to squander it.

  24. 24 Bleatmop Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Also, as to the majority question, I do think he’s going to get it. The trend has been more seats every time for the Cons in I don’t know how many elections now. 3? 4? Harper has achieved recognition as being prime ministerial, or at least what he’s transformed that office into (and Chretien, to a point). Combine that with an abysmal failure of a leader so far duck in Iggy and Jack’s health problems, I expect even more gains for the CPC and BQ. The LPC and the NDP have not made any headway against him in a long time.

  25. 25 Reality.Bites Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Harper controls only those who have career ambitions. If you have no ambitions of ever being anything but a backbencher you can do what you want, up to a point.

    Chrétien, the only reliably pro-choice PM we’ve really ever had, allowed his anti-choice MPs far more freedom on the issue than Harper – and kept them out of cabinet.

    In this article http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/spector-vision/abortion-more-huffing-and-puffing/article1575246/ we see

    There, a “reliable source” (meaning Dimitri Soudas is my guess) tells reporter Joel-Denis Bellavance:

    “If a private members bill criminalizing abortion were tabled, it would be a party vote. So, all Conservative MPs would be required to vote against the bill. We never want such a bill to pass.”

  26. 26 JJ Monday, May 24, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    Bleatmop

    Also, as to the majority question, I do think he’s going to get it.

    It seems imminent, given the lack of any discernible direction from the opposition.

    I’m not downplaying what could happen under such a majority. It just doesn’t seem to add up that Harper could get a majority by avoiding the socon issues that drive the “hidden agenda” fears in the electorate, only to embrace them and ensure many years of Liberal majorities to follow.


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