Green Party will not silence MPs who are anti-abortion, says Elizabeth May
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says members of the Green Party “won’t be prevented “ from trying to reopen the abortion debate in the next Parliament.
This goes against May’s own personal belief that women have “a right to a safe, legal abortion,” but May goes on to say that she does not have the power as the Green Party Leader to “silence an MP,”
“I could talk to them. I could try to dissuade them. I could say it would be unfortunate … but I don’t have the power as leader of the Green Party to whip votes, nor do I have the power to silence an MP.”
“And frankly, I think that’s a good thing because democracy will be healthier when constituents know that their MP works for them and not their party leader,” said May in a CBC interview.
With the abortion topic being a pressure point already used against Andrew Scheer, May’s next comments were more aligned with that of Prime Minister Trudeau’s, stating that she personally believes that abortion is a woman’s right.
“A woman has a right to a safe, legal abortion. I’ve never wavered in that position since I was, like, eight years old and realized what was going on when I heard my mother arguing with people about the issue,” said May.
Different policies exist throughout the major federal parties in Canada. The Trudeau Liberals made their stance clear by barring all new members of his caucus from supporting any restrictions on access to abortion.
The NDP have also made clear that a candidate must be pro-choice to run for the party. NDP spokesperson Melanie Richer stated.
May, a practising Anglican, leads her party with a more nuanced approach.
“We are an inclusive and all-embracing society. Within the Green Party, we have candidates from every faith and religion and a lot who don’t believe there is a God and wonder why anyone would be so foolish as to think so. And everyone is respected and welcome.”
May’s previous comments
A similar conversation surrounding May’s abortion beliefs came about in 2006, when she told nuns at a convent in London, Ontario that she has talked several women out of having abortions.
“If one group of people say a woman has a right to choose, I get queasy because I’m against abortion,” said may in a recording, according to Straight. “I don’t think a woman has a frivolous right to choose. What I don’t want is a desperate woman to die in an illegal abortion.”
When May was asked in 2011 if she thinks abortion is morally wrong, May replied, “No.”
“I don’t think that anyone is for abortion in the sense that you hope people are going to have abortions,” May said.
“You hope in an ideal world that every pregnancy is a wanted pregnancy. My friends and family members who’ve ever gone through abortions have found it a traumatically difficult decision to make. It’s a personally difficult decision. You can’t trivialize how hard that choice is. But a woman has a right to make that choice, and it’s not a morally wrong decision by any means.”
Former B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver will sit in the B.C. Legislature as an independent MLA starting Jan. 20.
Weaver’s initial announcement to step down came weeks after Weaver was diagnosed with labyrinthitis, a disease that causes vertigo, nausea, and potential hearing loss.
It was fully expected that Weaver would step down from his role as B.C. Green leader, though he was not resigning his seat in Oak Bay-Gordon Head, an essential spot for the Greens and one that the Green Party has held since 2013.
Weaver’s decision to leave the Greens, though, will not have an immediate impact on the B.C. Legislature, CBC reports.
According to a source inside the Green Party, Weaver “intends to honour the confidence-and-supply agreement” that the Green Party have in place to support the minority New Democrats.
Weaver, who himself is a climate scientist, was the lead author of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group which, with Al Gore, went on to win the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
Weaver started his political career a half-decade later in 2012, going on to be the first Green elected to the B.C. Legislature. He then ran for his party’s leadership in 2015.
A tombstone in Belleville, Ontario has gotten some attention, as it was erected to commemorate “all victims of abortion”.
The black gravestone, propped by the area’s Knights of Columbus, posted an image of their tombstone of Nov. 2 and Nov. 8, leading to a national debate across social media.
In response, comment sections flooded with reaction memes, insulting the eighteen men in the photo, calling them misogynists, crusty white boomers, and other insults.
The three photos collectively garnered about 3,300 reactions on Facebook. According to figures from The National Post, “roughly sixty-six percent of people reacted to the images with a ‘Haha’ or ‘Love’ while about 20 percent responded with an ‘Angry’ reaction.”
In response to the controversy, Belleville chapter grand knight David Cameron said there’s nothing to debate about it. “We’re not engaging in any sort of debate about it … This is our belief and we don’t feel we’ve done anything wrong … it speaks for itself,” said Cameron to the National Post.
Engraved in the granite are other messages, such as “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I consecrated you,” “unborn lives matter,” and “life is sacred,” a reference to Jerimiah 1:5.
The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternity founded in 1882 did not give a figure for the cost of the gravestone, though Cameron did note that the cemetery, St. James Roman Catholic Cemetery, supported the gravestone.
Local activists, though, say the tombstone attacks a woman’s right to choose.
According to Elissa Robertson, the co-ordinator of Warrior Women of Quinte, organized a demonstration in response to the Knights.
“It was designed to shame people. I think it was absolutely uncalled for and that money they put into this anti-abortion monument could have done a lot of good somewhere else,” said Robertson, according to InQuinte.
“It ties into patriarchal values and this idea that women’s bodies are meant to be controlled by men. It’s a broader issue that ties into violence against women, it ties into health care, it ties into safety.”
Cameron went on to say that there are 137 gravestones commemorating unborn lives across North America, each erected by the Knights of Columbus.
Councillors in Victoria, British Columbia are trying to raise their salary by more than 50 percent. They are also hoping to provide additional benefits, according to the Times Colonist.
In an online survey on Victoria’s budget, the City asked respondents whether they would agree to raise their salary to $70,100. This figure is the same median salary for city employees. Overall, this is an increase of $25,000.
Councillors are currently paid around $45,000 a year, and the mayor of Victoria receives $113,000 a year. There are no plans to alter the mayor’s salary.
Speaking to the Times, a councillor justified their pay raise by saying the city wanted to “attract professionals and others, and not just have very wealthy people serve on the council, I think we do have to set the compensation at a level that [would attract] younger people.”
The current salaries were set in 2009 upon the review of an independent commission.
Elizabeth May is out as the leader, but the Green party certainly isn’t stopping.
According to a recent report from the CBC, Jo-Ann Roberts is considering recruiting former Liberal Cabinet Minister and now independent MP, Jody Wilson-Raybould to the party’s top job.
Wilson-Raybould is the only Independent in the House of Commons after she was kicked out of Liberal Party by Justin Trudeau over the SNC-Lavalin scandal. Then, attorney general, Wilson-Raybould said she was bullied and pressured by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his office to spare the SNC-Lavalin, a Quebec engineering firm with Liberal ties from prosecution.
The federal government has blocked almost all genuine investigation into the matter, with the RCMP even facing difficulties when it comes to having confidentiality waived on key witnesses.
Although hopeful, Jo-Ann Roberts has not reached out yet, as she believes former party leader Elizabeth May will take the lead on recruiting, given her close relationship with Wilson-Raybould, and the close working proximity on the hill.
May has previously attempted to recruit Wilson-Raybould, following the SNC-Lavalin affair, offering her the leadership even back then.
While the interim leader has stated her hopes to recruit Wilson-Raybould, she has also stated that her party is actively looking at other strong candidates who could join the leadership race.