Trudeau clarifies: pro-life incumbent MPs must vote pro-choice on abortion

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau now says incumbent Liberal MPs opposed to abortion will be required to support a woman’s right to choose in any vote on abortion.

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau now says incumbent Liberal MPs opposed to abortion will be required to support a woman’s right to choose in any vote on abortion.

The Liberal leader clarified Wednesday his decree that anyone who wants to run for his party in the next election must be willing to vote pro-choice should the issue come up in the House of Commons.

When he first disclosed that position last month, Trudeau said incumbent MPs would be “grandfathered” and their beliefs “respected to a certain extent.”

But he hedged when pushed to say whether three pro-life incumbents — Toronto MP John McKay, Prince Edward Island MP Lawrence MacAulay and Winnipeg MP Kevin Lamoureux — would be allowed to vote freely on the issue.

“Well, it’s a tough one because one of the things that’s a strength of the Liberal party is that we draw in voices from right across the country and on a range of perspectives,” he said at the time.

Eventually, he added: “We will see what happens … when that issue comes up.”

The ambiguity allowed NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, whose party has long been officially pro-choice, to mock Trudeau’s “two-tier” approach to abortion. And it led to some evident confusion within Trudeau’s own caucus.

MacAulay this week told a Charlottetown newspaper, The Guardian, that he took Trudeau’s comments to mean he could continue to vote however he chooses on the matter.

Not so, Trudeau clarified Wednesday.

The “grandfathering” of incumbents applied only to the vetting process the party conducts for anyone seeking to run for a Liberal nomination, he said.

“The existing incumbent MPs were green lit (to seek nominations) originally through a different process that we respect. But the policy going forward is that every single Liberal MP will be expected to stand up for women’s right to choose.”

Even before Trudeau issued that public clarification, MacAulay took to social media to reverse himself and promise to toe the party line.

“I am personally pro-life and have long held these beliefs,” he said in a series of tweets following a Liberal caucus meeting.

“However, I accept and understand the party position regarding a woman’s right to choose. Despite my personal beliefs, I understand that I will have to vote the party position should this issue ever come up in the House of Commons.”

Lamoureux said he had always understood that he’d have to vote the party line on abortion, despite his personal beliefs.

“That was my interpretation and I’m very comfortable with it,” Lamoureux said in an interview.

He added that he’s “passionate” about a whole range of issues and recognizes that “at the end of the day, in the parliamentary process, that you need to be able to work from within a caucus in order to get things done.”

McKay declined to comment on Trudeau’s clarification.

“I’m going to leave it as I’ve said what I’ve said, I’m not saying no more. I’m done,” he said.

McKay apologized last month after he was secretly recorded by a Conservative sympathizer criticizing his leader’s decree on abortion.

In the recording, McKay said he initially thought Trudeau’s dictum was a “bozo eruption.” He went on to suggest the leader’s inner circle has “no political sense whatsoever” if it doesn’t realize how “toxic” the abortion issue is.

Just Posted

Looking out for neighbours to fight rural crime

Building community to address crime

Suspect arrested after collision in stolen truck

Driver faces charges in court today

WATCH: From humble beginnings Red Deer-based wrestling promotion is growing

It wasn’t that long ago that Dylon Featherstone and the Canadian Wrestling… Continue reading

WATCH: Families make yo-yos and weaved yarn at Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery

It was all about making yo-yos and yarn bombing at Red Deer… Continue reading

WATCH Replay Red Deer Feb. 18: Your weekly news highlights

Watch news from Red Deer and Central Alberta

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

New paramedic team coming to Red Deer

Paramedics provide on-site care tothose with chronic conditions

Toddler breaks leg after boot sucked into escalator at Vancouver airport

VANCOUVER — A Calgary woman is reminding parents about the dangers of… Continue reading

Liberals looking at creating use-it-or-lose-it leave for fathers, Trudeau says

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is raising the idea of creating… Continue reading

Trump gets angry about election meddling, but not at Russia

‘Weirdest thing’: Trump expresses anger, but not over Russian election-meddling

New doping charge could hurt Russia’s chance at reinstatement

Russia could lose its chance to be reinstated before the end of the Winter Olympics because of a doping charge against curling bronze medallist Alexander Krushelnitsky.

#Metoo movement causing confusion in many men, fear of missteps with women: experts

Being painted by the same sweeping brush as those alleged to have mistreated women has angered men

Virtue and Moir break their own world record

Virtue and Moir break short dance record to sit first in ice dance at Olympics

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month