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"Focus on the Born": Image from a demonstration against Bill C-484, The Unborn Victims of Crime Act
When it became clear that an imminent election was in the stars, Harper distanced himself from the widely opposed Bill C-484, The Unborn Victims of Crime Act.
Now infamous, Bill C-484 was a private member bill introduced by Ken Epp (MP for Edmonton Sherwood Park, Alberta). It assigned legal personhood to unborn fetuses (in contravention of the Criminal Code). It was denounced by the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC), and other feminist organizations, as "an unconstitutional infringement on women’s rights." Similar laws are used in the United States to criminalize pregnant women who use drugs or alcohol for endangering the fetus, or to prosecute those who help them seek abortions.
While Epp refused to drop the Bill, which had passed its second reading, Harper vowed not to reopen the "debate" on abortion. (A promise, incidentally, that he has made before, during the 2004 election, and again in January 2005.)
But does that mean that reproductive rights are no longer an election issue?
Quite the opposite, according to the ARCC. Harper has said that he would not block private member bills about abortion (like C-484) in future.
In fact, on this issue, he has said he would lift tight party discipline and allow a free vote. Considering that the vast majority (74%) of current Conservative MPs are anti-choice, a majority Conservative Government could easily pass an anti-abortion bill into law.
Consider the following facts, largely culled from yesterday's press release issued by the ARCC:
You would think something like a detailed road map of ‘the modernization of the Canadian forces’, at the big fancy 8th Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas (CDMA) would elicit some sort discussion or analysis from the Canadian media/ chattering class. At the conference, Peter Mackay began to spin links between the need to respond to ‘natural disasters’ and ‘security of the Olympics’ with armed security. The highlight of the conference was the release of Canada's 20-year, $490 billion “Canada First Defense Strategy,” a detailed plan to modernize its armed forces and its military industry. McKay also signed a Memoranda of Understanding with his counterparts in Honduras, Guatemala and Bolivia, which falls under the Military Training Assistance Programme (MTAP). Yet hardly a boo, has been published about this week long conference, as the Republican convention in St Paul and the buzz around the soon to be announced election provided a nice blackout about things that were going on, that the media and lobbyist just aren't so interested in regular folks to know about.
So what do we know happened this week in the luxury resort of Banff where the delegates from 34 countries met under the theme of ‘Co-operation and Collaboration”?
According to CP Canadian Defense Minister and host of the conference, Peter MacKay addressed the crowd by stirring their shared belief that "Now more than ever, we are all connected and need to cooperate to achieve the security, democratic development, and prosperity we all desire”.
The Québec Native Women's Association has called upon the Canadian government to acknowledge that residential schools were an act of genocide.
Statement by Quebec Native Women's Association/Femmes Autochtones du Québec
Re : Government of Canada's Residential School Apology
June 11, 2008, Kahnawake
Quebec Native Women recognizes the Prime Minister's official apology concerning the genocidal experience of Aboriginal people in the history of the Residential School system. While the apology to Aboriginal peoples is long overdue it is contradicted by the oppressive policies of the Indian
The heinous crimes committed against Aboriginal children who were victims and survivors of the Residential School experience must be dealt with beyond mere apologies and monetary compensation.
Citizens protest the meeting of Canadian Prime Minister and Barrick
Two hours late and in the presence of a huge security entourage that included guards, police and special forces, Stephen Harper arrived at the offices of Barrick Gold and entered through the parking area, in order to avoid the peoples’ protest that started at 8:00 am at the entrance to the building.
The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.