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A Discouraging Victory

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More Anti-Choice MPs Elected than Before
By Joyce Arthur (copyright © July 2004)

The so-called cliffhanger election in Canada is behind us, with the Conservative Party consoling itself with official Opposition status in a Liberal minority government. Social liberals, including pro-choicers, breathed a huge sigh of relief after having faced the jittery prospect of a Conservative minority—possibly even a majority—government. Although these fears proved to be overblown, so perhaps, is our feeling of relief.

There are more anti-choice MP's in Parliament now than before, the majority of them Conservatives, but more than a few Liberals as well. The majority of previous anti-choice incumbents were re-elected, some by wide margins.

Prior to the election, the Pro-Choice Action Network checked the voting records of all MP's who voted in favour of last October's private member's motion M-83, which was an attempt to define abortions as not medically necessary. We also reviewed anti-abortion websites to determine which MP's attended anti-choice rallies or conferences, publicly spoke out in favour of anti-abortion measures, or gave anti-choice answers to current and past election questionnaires put out by the anti-abortion movement.

83% of the Conservative caucus before the election was publicly anti-choice—59 out of 71 MPs. That's not counting three former anti-choice Conservative MPs who recently turned Independent (Chuck Cadman, Jim Pankiw, and Larry Spencer).

A review of the election results reveals that almost one-third of new or re-elected MP's are publicly anti-choice—that is, they have an anti-choice voting record, or have publicly spoken at or attended events organized by anti-choice groups, or have publicly stated they are "pro-life" or would support abortion only in limited circumstances[1].

Anti-Choice Federal MPs

Before the Election After the Election
83 of 297 MPs (28%) 90 of 308 MPs (29%)
59 of 71 Conservatives (83%) 69 of 99 Conservative MPs (70%)*
20 of 168 Liberals (12%) 20 of 135 Liberal MPs (15%)
4 Independents (3 former Conservatives) 1 Independent

* Note: Perhaps 5 to 10 Conservative MPs are pro-choice or likely pro-choice. The stance of the rest is uncertain or unknown, but at least some are anti-choice.

Conservative Party of Canada — Anti-choice Incumbents

An asterisk (*) indicates a previous incumbent; the rest are newly elected.

* Jim Abbott * Gurmant Grewal Pierre Poilievre
* Diane Ablonczy Nina Grewal * James Rajotte
Dean Allison * Art Hanger * Scott Reid
* Rob Anders * Richard Harris * John Reynolds
* David L. Anderson * Loyola Hearn * Gerry Ritz
* Leon Benoit Russ Hiebert Andrew Scheer
* Garry Breitkreuz * Jay Hill * Werner Schmidt
Gordon Brown * Howard Hilstrom * Carol Skelton
Colin Carrie * Dale Johnston Joy Smith
* Bill Casey Guy Lauzon * Monte Solberg
* Rick Casson Tom Lukiwski * Kevin Sorenson
* David Chatters Randy Kamp * Darrel Stinson
* Cheryl Gallant * Jason Kenney * Chuck Strahl
* John Cummins Ed Komarnicki * Greg Thompson
* Stockwell Day * James Lunney * Myron Thompson
* Norman Doyle * Rob Merrifield * Vic Toews
* John Duncan * Bob Mills Brad Trost
* Ken Epp * James Moore * Maurice Vellacott
* Brian Fitzpatrick Rob Moore Mark Warawa
* Paul Forseth Rob Nicholson Jeff Watson
* Peter Goldring * Deepak Obhrai * Randy White
Gary Goodyear * Brian Pallister * John Williams
* Jim Gouk * Charlie Penson * Lynne Yelich

Liberal Party — Anti-choice Incumbents

An asterisk (*) indicates a previous incumbent; the rest are newly elected.

* Raymond Bonin * Joe McGuire Alan Tonks
* Joe Comuzzi * Dan McTeague * Rose-Marie Ur
* Mark Eyking * Shawn Murphy Joe Volpe
Albina Guarnieri * Pat O'Brien * Tom Wappel
Jim Karygiannis * Jerry Pickard Borys Wrzesnewskyi
Judi Longfield * Paul Steckle Paul Zed
* Lawrence MacAulay * Paul Szabo  

Other — * Chuck Cadman (Independent, formerly Conservative)


Conservative MP Rob Merrifield beat his closest competitor (a Liberal) by a wide margin—26,503 votes to 4,441. Merrifield had proposed independent counselling for women considering abortion. Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant won 10% more votes than all her competitors combined.  Gallant had compared abortion to the beheading of Nick Berg in Iraq. Conservative MP Randy White won by a landslide, receiving 62% of the vote vs. 20% for the next closest candidate (a Liberal).  White wanted to invoke the notwithstanding clause to stop abortion. 


[1] According to these sources:

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