REALity July 2019
At REAL Women’s 2019 AGM, two very important resolutions were, which reflect problems that must be dealt with by Canadians if we are to live in a true democracy.
1. The Crippling of Parliament
The first resolution dealt with the crippling of Parliament due to it denying the public the right to participate in any debate on legislation that takes place there. That is, Parliament is no longer a forum for public debate but, instead, has become a forum for political leaders to promote their own agenda for the advancement of their respective parties.
This situation has developed over the years, starting with Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who centralized power in the Prime Minister’s office, excluding even his cabinet ministers from participating in the forming of public policy. Only the Prime Minister, his appointed, paid staff and senior bureaucrats now make public policy decisions in Canada. This flawed system has continued under successive prime ministers, both Liberal and Conservative. They enjoy this absolute power and will not willingly relinquish it.
REAL Women has written to every MP of all parties expressing our concerns about this grave problem and assault on our democracy.
MPs are now reduced to being obedient, compliant and docile tools for the advantage of the political parties.
Supposedly elected to represent the public, MPs are prohibited from deviating from their party’s policies without causing permanent damage to their political careers. Their role today is only to vote as directed by their party’s elite, never according to their conscience or the views of their constituents.
This results in public policy developed for the benefit of the political parties rather than for the benefit of the public.
The flawed practices now carried out in Parliament, which cut the public out of the loop, were detailed in REAL Women’s 2019 resolution:
REAL WOMEN OF CANADA RESOLUTION 2019
Parliamentary Reform to Restore the Independence of Members of Parliament and Responsible Government
WHEREAS Canada’s constitutional order is founded upon the consent of the governed through Responsible Government; and
WHEREAS “responsible government” is a system based upon the principle of Parliamentary accountability, which means that: (1) government is accountable to the people and, therefore, derives its legitimacy from the consent of the people; (2) the executive (Prime Minister and Cabinet and their respective departments) are accountable to the people through Parliament; and (3) the courts, as part of government, although independent of government, are, nevertheless, accountable to Parliament; and
WHEREAS Canada’s constitutional order has been gravely undermined by Parliamentary practices that transfer the responsibilities of Members of Parliament, including Ministers, to the political party leaders and the bureaucracy, resulting in the loss of accountable government and influence by the public in the formation of policies and laws; and
WHEREAS the party leaders approve of nominated candidates, despite the views of the local riding association; and
WHEREAS Members of Parliament are denied the right to vote according to their conscience or represent the views of their constituents, but are required to vote according to the direction of their party; and
WHEREAS the use of omnibus bills, which, by their nature, are large and complex pieces of legislation, that undermine and avoid the application of the normal principles and procedures of parliamentary review of legislation by restricting clause-by-clause review in Parliament’s Standing Committees and debate in the House of Commons; and
WHEREAS according to the House of Commons Standing Orders, which govern the operation of the House of Commons, the governing party’s house leader chooses the chairman of each Committee, denying Members of that Committee from participation in the selection process; and
WHEREAS the Speaker of the House of Commons, who formerly had the responsibility during Question Period of recognizing Members of Parliament to speak on topics of their choosing, is now required to accept a list of speakers provided by party house whips on matters chosen by the party; and
WHEREAS Members of Parliament are provided few opportunities to speak in the House of Commons on matters of concern to their constituents, which has severely diminished the public’s right to be heard in Parliament; and
WHEREAS there has been a consistent and continuing centralization of privileges and power in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and Privy Council Office (PCO), which has resulted in the weakening of Parliament’s privileges, oversight of the Executive, and the loss of ministerial responsibility; and
WHEREAS these Parliamentary changes have led to laws being passed without the meaningful consent of the public, and in contravention of the principles of responsible government;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that Parliamentary reform be undertaken immediately to restore the independence of Members of Parliament in order to establish accountable, responsible government.
2. Abortion Bubble Zone Legislation
The Provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland /Labrador have passed legislation protecting the operation of abortion facilities. This legislation includes prohibiting anyone from coming within 50 metres of their facility, prohibiting anyone from approaching a woman accessing the abortion facility services, and prohibiting anyone from providing any information to a woman on alternatives to abortion or on the support systems available to assist her during and after her pregnancy. The Province of Manitoba, however, thankfully rejected this legislation in 2019.
This controversial legislation was passed due to complaints made by abortion clinic owners and their staff, without any supporting corroborative police evidence. The purpose of the legislation is to protect the abortion industry to permit it to continue earning profits received from vulnerable women, even though it does not provide such women with impartial or factual information, but, instead, persuades them to undertake an abortion for the clinic’s financial benefit.
This legislation has been passed on the incorrect assumption that a woman walking into an abortion facility has already made up her mind to have the abortion, and is doing so freely and should not be prevented from doing so. Many pregnant women, however, are depressed and isolated and are not aware of humane alternatives and support services that are available to them in their situation. Pregnant and distressed women are entitled to care, support and information relating to their situation, including choices to resolve their problem. They should not be steamrolled by abortion clinics and pressured by family, friends, and the father of their child into undergoing the abortion by being denied full knowledge of the procedure and its alternatives. Such a situation prevents many women from giving a valid consent.
REAL Women has written to every provincial premier and attorneys general advising them of the problems that arise from bubble zone legislation. We requested that the five provinces that have passed the legislation, repeal it, and we have requested that those provinces which do not have such legislation, refrain from doing so in the future.
The resolution on abortion bubble zone legislation passed at REAL Women’s AGM in June is as follows:
REAL WOMEN OF CANADA RESOLUTION 2019
Abortion Bubble Zone Legislation
WHEREAS the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland-Labrador have passed legislation protecting abortion facilities under Abortion Bubble Zone legislation; and
WHEREAS the Abortion Bubble Zone laws prevent anyone from coming within 50 metres of abortion facilities, from approaching a woman accessing the abortion facility services or providing any information to the woman on alternatives to abortion and the support systems available to assist her during and after her pregnancy; and
WHEREAS this law prohibits the public from enjoying their fundamental rights under the Charter of Rights, to the freedoms of speech, conscience, belief, and religion; and
WHEREAS the Abortion Bubble Zone legislation was passed due to complaints made by clinic owners and staff of abortion facilities without supporting corroborative police evidence; and
WHEREAS a peer review study, published in the medical journal Canadian Family Physician[i], authorized by the abortion industry found that, even in circumstances where picketing has occurred, there was no interference, no complaints, vandalism or reports of threatening emails or telephone calls to or received by the abortion facilities; and
WHEREAS the purpose of the Abortion bubble zone legislation is to protect the abortion industry to allow it to continue earning profits received from vulnerable women, even though it does not provide such women with impartial or factual information, but, instead, persuades them to undertake an abortion for the clinic’s financial benefit; and
WHEREAS a poll published in Canada, in May, 2019, carried out by Public Square Research, indicated that 92% of Canadians want pregnant women to receive assistance when they are pressured to have an abortion; and
Whereas many of these pregnant women are depressed and isolated and are not aware of humane alternatives and support services that are available to them; and
WHEREAS pregnant and distressed women are entitled to care and support and information, including choices to resolve their problem, and not be steamrolled by clinics and pressured by family, friends, and the fathers of their child to undergo the abortion; and
Whereas the Abortion Bubble Zone legislation is corrupt and immoral;
BE IT RESOLVED that the Abortion Bubble Zone legislation in the Provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland-Labrador be repealed and no further abortion bubble zone legislation be enacted in Canada.
[i] Canadian Family Physician, 2016; 62; e209-217
[ii] Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Volume 22, November 4, Winter 2017