dogriver: (Default)
Dear Mr. Trudeau,

Your recent statements of policy regarding abortion have, I must say, come to trouble me on a number of levels. And so it is in this open letter that I wish to address these issues. Hopefully those reading this will find something to think about as well as they go.

The first question that comes to mind is, Why is this issue coming up at all? For years, Liberals have accused the Harper government of wanting to reopen the abortion debate. For those same years, the Harper government has insisted that it didn't want to do so, and indeed, it hasn't done so. But you have, and my question is, why?

You say that any candidate running for the Liberals must be willing to vote pro-choice. Vote when, on what? Are you yourself preparing to do, if elected, the exact same thing your party has been accusing the Harper government of wanting to do, reopen the abortion debate? If so, why? To what end? Why does it matter how your candidates would vote on an issue you don't intend to reopen?

Next, you imply through your statements that the abortion issue is about two things: religion and women's rights. I submit to you that it is much more complex than that. First of all, there are plenty of non-religious people who oppose abortion from an ideological perspective. I am a Christian, but I believe that, even if I were not, I would fiercely oppose abortion as much as I do now. Second, is abortion about women's rights? Certainly, to a point. But, in addition to a woman's right to choose, it is about a person's right to exist. Even if you do not believe, as I do, that life begins at conception, there can be no doubt that an abortion prevents a future human being from existing, a future human being who has no choice in the matter. What takes precedence: a woman's right to choose or a human being's (or future human being's, if you wish) right to exist? Where does it end? Do Liberal candidates need to support the practice of aborting babies because they will be girls, something which is already being done? What about aborting babies because the parents don't want disabled children? Must potential Liberal candidates support such actions as well? I know many disabled people who live meaningful lives and contribute as much to society as anyone, all because their parents chose to raise a disabled child or, if they could not, have that child adopted out to someone who could. What I'm trying to say is that the abortion issue is not simply about religion or about women's rights, it is much more, and by adopting the stance you are taking, you may well force your party members to take some pretty unethical stances. You can't have it both ways. You're already trying to do that with the grandfather claus, and the issue will just get more muddled as time goes by and prenatal diagnosis becomes more common.

Finally, there is the question of inclusion. The Liberal party has traditionally prided itself on its policies of inclusion, of accepting all idiologies and thoughts. You have consistently accused the Conservatives of being restrictive, of not embracing and allowing for the values and beliefs of all Canadians, but it seems to me this kind of restrictiveness is precisely what you yourselves are now engaging in. Is it a matter of people only being open-minded if they agree with your position? You are one of the main three parties in this country. For you to take the stance you do is, I would have to say, contrary to Canadian values. I would also be saying this to any mainstream party leader who would take a hard-line pro-life approach.

Mr. Trudeau, I believe you are making a big mistake. I would never run for politics, but if I did, I would not be able to run for your party because of my core beliefs as a human being. Why would I want to vote for a party that would not have me? Why would anyone want to vote for a party that would not have them?

On this issue alone, I sincerely hope the Liberals, under your leadership, do not make it into power, because I see many dangers ahead if they do. You, the Liberals, accused the Harper Government of having a hidden agenda when it comes to abortion. Which is worse, the hidden agenda that wasn't, or the blatantly obvious agenda that is?

Sincerely,
Bruce Toews
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
May 25, 2014

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Bruce Toews

August 2017

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