by Jarrah Hodge
As hoped and predicted, Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth’s anti-choice Motion-312 went down in flames in its final vote yesterday, losing 91 to 203. I think most of us who worked on this issue are happy but would’ve preferred an even stronger split. To see how everyone voted, alphabetical by last name, click here.
The fact that several front-bench Conservatives voted in favour of the motion was most disconcerting. In addition, to Jason Kenney, who had announced earlier this week he was voting in favour, seven other cabinet ministers and two ministers of state voted yes, including Status of Women Minister Rona Ambrose.
Minister Ambrose’s move has led to calls for her to resign or be booted from cabinet. In a press release (pdf), Abortion Rights Coalition Executive Director Joyce Arthur said:
“Not only did Ambrose openly defy her Prime Minister’s instruction to his Cabinet to vote against the motion, she threw women under the bus,” said Joyce Arthur, Executive Director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC). “Her job is to advance the rights and interests of women, so her Yes vote on the motion was a shocking failure and a slap in the face to the women of Canada. She’s proven herself to be unfit for the job and must resign immediately.”
A Facebook page “Rona Ambrose Must Go” has been set up and I’m expecting online petitions to be started soon, so will keep you posted. In addition, four Liberal MPs supported M-312 in the final vote.
The Bloc, NDP, and Green caucuses were united against it though a couple of MPs missed the vote due to other important business. I hope folks take time to thank the MPs who voted against M-312, especially those who also spoke up in the press and social media and who lobbied their colleagues on the importance of protecting women’s constitutional rights.
Overall it was a hard-fought victory and it’s not likely to be the last time we see something like this come forward. Keep those Radical Handmaids hats on hand, folks, because it’s still at least a year until the next federal election and Stephen Harper clearly isn’t trying that hard to keep the abortion debate closed.