And he won't back down
With an election call seemingly only days away and spurious opposition to Bill C-484 -- the Unborn Victirms of Crime bill -- stubbornly refusing to abate, the Conservative government is moving to try to disperse what it seems to fear is a coming storm.
"We've heard criticism from across the country, including representatives from the medical community, that Mr. Epp's bill, as it is presently drafted, could be interpreted as instilling fetal rights," announced Justice Minister Rob Nicholson. "Our government will not reopen the debate on abortion."
Bill C-484 would, indeed, introduce fetal rights. However, because of the fact that the bill contains an explicit clause forbidding its use in cases of abortion or against any act (of commission or omission) of the mother, those rights would not supercede a preggnant woman's right to choose an abortion. The fetal reights recognized by Bill C-484 would begin and end with an unborn child's right to be protected from crime.
Naturally, the fundamentally intellectually-dishonest pro-abortion lobby refuses to acknowledge this.
Nicholson has promised new legislation that would require judges to consider a woman's pregnancy during the course of sentencing. Right now judges can, and often do, but law still cannot recognize the tendency of many offenders -- such as Jared Baker and Gary Bourgeois -- to target unborn children intentionally.
Fortunately, however, Bill C-484 is not a government bill. Rather, it's Elk Island MP Ken Epp's private member's bill. He isn't obligated to withdraw it, and it's the last thing he plans to do.
"I definitely will not be withdrawing my bill," Epp announced. "They're quite different. I don't intend to let up."
If Nicholson is looking for an easy way out, he isn't going to find it. His government will either have to stay the course with Bill C-484 and endure the (actually very necessary) debate over abortion, or defeat its own member's bill, as it did with Leon Benoit's Bill C-291.
Ken Epp is well within his rights to stand his ground will Bill C-484 and not allow the government to introduce a watered-down bill protecting the unborn. This bill has passed two readings already -- in a parliament devoid of ideologically-grounded party discipline, this bill very much could pass.
Yet the Conservative government seems to be intent on ducking the abortion/fetal rights debate in the name of winning an election it isn't supposed to be calling in the first place.
Fortunately, Ken Epp isn't backing down. Nor are the other supporters of Bill C-484.