Shame: Canada’s Conservative Hypocrisy on Human Rights

The Conservative government led by Stephen Harper has, several times, made decisions and set policy in opposition to world opinion and the consensus of the “political classes.” Recently, Canada was the first to pull out of the Kyoto protocol on carbon emissions. Canada was one of the first nations to pull out of the Durban conference on human rights, which has showed with disturbing regularity its tendency to degenerate into an anti-Semitic hatefest. The government has gone ahead with plans to scrap the long gun registry and end the Wheat Board monopoly in Western Canada (how come it only applied to Western farmers, anyway?).

You may agree or disagree with some or all of those decisions. You can’t argue that the Harper Conservatives are merely blowing in the wind of political pressure. In each of these cases, they’ve taken a stand.

Commendably, they have also made a public stand for human rights on the global stage. At a recent Commonwealth summit in Australia, Harper pressed other nations to do more to promote human rights, even going to far as to threaten to boycott the next Commonwealth meeting in Sri Lanka if more is not done to address human rights abuses. Harper, in 2009, publicly criticized China for its endemic abuses of human rights and suppression of dissent.

Again, kudos to the Conservatives for their effort to craft a “principled foreign policy.”

So why cry “shame” and accuse them of a failure to lead? Because of the hypocritical pragmatism of this government, which dares to tell other nations to respect human rights and yet utterly refuses to act in the matter of the greatest ongoing abuse of fundamental human rights in Canadian history: the abortion of millions of unwanted unborn children.

Abortion is the “third rail” of Canadian politics: touch it and die. So say the experts. And yet 80% of Canadians don’t even know that Canada has absolutely no restrictions on abortion. And yet 60-66% of Canadians consistently indicate in polls that they would favour some restrictions on abortion. I think the “traditional political wisdom” is not rooted in facts, but rather in an ideological precommitment to abortion rights that has taken hold of our political classes.

The result of Canada’s lack of abortion policy has been a Holocaust. In Ontario, for every 100 live births, 37 babies are killed in utero. For teen pregnancies, 157 babies are killed in utero for every 100 live births. What is even more staggering is that those figures are just for hospitals – abortion clinics are not included. The real numbers are higher.

In ancient Rome, parents were allowed to leave unwanted babies (usually girls, but also babies with birth defects and the like) to die by exposure. In ancient Palestine, Caananites would sacrifice their firstborn sons to Molech by burning them. I suspect that the public outcry if someone tried to introduce these practices in Canada would be deafening. Yet it is no different.

Abortion is usually defended by appealing to “women’s rights.” That has as much moral authority as the Southern States’ appeal to slaveholder rights to justify the continuation of race-based slavery in the United States.

Yet the Conservative government, by refusing to act in this matter, perpetuates these atrocities. Their pragmatism, designed to protect their political prospects, allows the abortion lobby to succeed in defining what constitutes human life in terms of the convenience of others.

Recently, a Conservative MP suggested re-opening the legal question of the definition of life. His idea was swatted down by the Conservative justice minister. For shame.

What is the point of a more muscular foreign policy, a public commitment to human rights, and everything else the Conservatives say they stand for if they deliberately refuse to protect the most vulnerable of Canadians? What a travesty.


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