Saturday, September 20, 2008

Analysis: Dion plays Harper like a fiddle on C-484

Poor Stephen Harper. Apparently he thinks he's really smart. But Stéphane Dion played him like a fiddle last month with respect to the unborn victim of crime bill.

In case you aren't aware, bill C-484 was a private member's bill that sought to make it a separate crime to harm a pregnant woman's unborn baby. The author of the bill, Ken Epp, went to great lengths to make sure that the bill did not have any effect on a women's right to have an abortion. It was certainly not a pro-life bill. With the election call and the dissolution of Parliament, the bill is now dead.

Several polls indicated that the bill had the support of 70-75% of Canadians, with slightly higher support among women. Rarely will you find such a consensus on any topic.

Nevertheless, pro-abortion fanatics, including Stéphane Dion, misconstrued this bill as an attack against abortion rights. Dion voted against the bill in the House of Commons and spoke openly against it, but the bill still passed first and second reading.

With an election call looming, Dion devised a clever tactic to kill C-484. The media have often portrayed Harper and the Conservatives as having a "hidden agenda" of wanting to ban abortion. In early August, Dion capitalized on this media bias by publicly demanding that Harper clearly state his intentions regarding abortion in Canada.

Such a statement came out of the blue, since Harper had not spoken about abortion in ages. In response, Harper made his usual statement about how his government had no intention of introducing any legislation on the abortion issue.

Whatever Harper's views on abortion or any other issue, there is one consideration that trumps everything: power. Harper wants a majority government and he's ready to sell his soul in order to get it.

Fearing that his statement on abortion may not have appeased all pro-aborts, particularly in light of the ongoing controversy surrounding bill C-484, Harper and his justice minister, Rob Nicholson, announced that they would table their own bill that would simply increase penalties for attacks on pregnant women, without making it a separate criminal offense (as in C-484).

The goal was to effectively undercut bill C-484 and make it appear unnecessary and redundant. MPs who supported C-484 because of the obvious need to protect pregnant women would now have a less controversial alternative that pro-aborts could accept.

Unfortunately, the new bill was grossly inadequate, because pregnancy is already considered an aggrevating factor in sentencing and because the new bill denies the reality of the loss of a baby that the victimized mom experiences.

But Harper couldn't let such trivial considerations as justice and fairness get in the way of his quest for power. So he played into Dion's hands and undercut C-484. I have no doubt that if Parliament had not been dissolved, C-484 would have been defeated and the government's lame-duck alternative would have passed. These days, very few MPs have real leadership. They prefer avoiding controversy in the hopes of getting re-elected.

It was a setup. A clever design by Stéphane Dion. Harper fell for it.

What has Harper gained through this? Nothing, in my opinion. The radical pro-aborts will still not vote for Harper. Meanwhile, he might lose votes to the frustrated and disillusioned groups that wanted to protect pregnant women through C-484. Folks like me are looking for a new place to park their vote.

Bad move Stephen.