The Prime Minister at the World Economic Forum last week announced an initiative to put the health of mothers and children on the agenda at the G8 conference this summer.
Instead of cheering or at least giving an approving nod to a laudable policy topic, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff decided to make a rare pronouncement on policy. This time it was about abortion of all things.
Abortion has been a topic that is scantly discussed and rarely debated, if at all, within the realm of public policy in the last couple of decades. How it has come up now, represents an objectionable political goal for Michael Ignatieff. The Liberal leader is looking for a wedge.
To respond to politics, the Conservatives should consider responding politically. In this case, to neutralize the issue. Many Canadians feel strongly about the topic, but nothing but failure (for both sides) can come from playing politics with the issue.
Here’s what the Conservatives might say about Michael Ignatieff’s flirtation with abortion policy,
“Mr. Ignatieff doesn’t seem to realize that in the past 34 years, we Canadians closed the divisive debate on abortion in this country. This topic has split families and the debate has caused heartache for countless Canadians. We are saddened by Mr. Ignatieff’s attempt to reopen the topic for discussion and to callously use the philosophical debate over life and the exercise of reproductive rights as a political football to be tossed about carelessly.
Mr. Ignatieff we’ve moved past this. We will not allow you to bring the American-style politics of abortion to this country as a wedge issue to divide Canadians.
Canadians that we’re consulting these days are concerned about jobs and the economic recovery. While Mr. Ignatieff wants to hold university style seminar discussions about abortion, we’re focused on phase II of our Economic Action Plan.”
It should also be noted that the only leadership of any party to try and reopen the debate on abortion in recent memory has been that of the Liberal Party, mostly as a wedge issue to imply that the Conservatives have a hidden agenda on social issues. If merely revisiting the Canadian abortion debate is a slippery slope for pro-choice activists, why applaud Liberals when they keep bringing it up and condemn Conservatives for their non-agitation on the issue?
In reality, this move by Ignatieff reflects desperation. The abortion maneuver by Liberals is always done when the Liberals have nothing left to talk about. In this case, the Conservatives should deprive Ignatieff of oxygen on the issue and ignore it completely for the cheap attempt that it is.