Is There a Pro-life Future Full of Hope?

Andrew Scheer quote

Is There a Pro-life Future Full of Hope?


Many of us in the pro-life community had much to cheer for on Saturday night- Andrew Scheer, a pro-life MP, upset Maxime Bernier and became the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.

For the first time in a long time, we may have a pro-life Prime Minister in Canada.

Let’s let that sink in…

It was with some twisted delight that I listened to commentators on TV trying to make sense of the strength of the social conservative (aka so-con) “uprising” in the CPC tent. ("Because like, aren’t we supposed to be past all this abortion stuff? Haven’t all the pro-lifers died off yet??”)

Not only did Scheer show well, but Pierre Lemieux and Brad Trost also garnered notable support. What this tells me is that there is a real voice for the unborn in the conservative movement in Canada. That pro-lifers are making a home there.

I became a card-carrying member of the party so that I could vote for the next leader and I am so glad that I did. As an MP Scheer has a perfect voting record on life issues. He is openly pro-life and yet also has street cred as having served as the youngest Speaker of the House in Canadian history.

Oh yes, and he is Catholic. But the kind of Catholic who doesn’t forbid pro-life MPs in his party. And, for that matter, the kind who will allow pro-life motions to come forward.

This is a pivotal moment for the Canadian pro-life movement!

His candidacy was not without some hurdles. Campaign Life Coalition and Parents as First Educators both declared him unsupportable. Their urging of their base to write in only Trost and Lemieux and no one else made Scheer’s road to the leadership more perilous than necessary. It also exposed a significant divide in the Canadian pro-life movement, at least in terms of approach.

Related: My Response to Brad Trost and Maurice Vellacott, by Alissa Golob

On the one side there is CLC. Campaign Life Coalition has worked diligently to be the political arm of the pro-life movement in Canada. They have long given leadership to the movement, connecting people with hearts for the most vulnerable and introducing young blood to the pro-life cause. I have benefited personally from their efforts and count their leaders as friends.

But after this campaign I have to question their advice.

In their unyielding aim of making all abortions in Canada illegal (something we all want) and demanding the most outward expression of pro-life commitment in those they endorse, they actually weakened a pro-life candidate in this race.

If more people followed the CLC advice, Maxime Bernier would be the partly leader. Instead of a leader with a perfect voting record by their own standards they would have helped someone with a poor voting record on abortion get elected.

On the other side of the divide there is a younger, more strategic and pragmatic face of the movement. They have seen what has worked in other contexts and realize that it is a many-step process to remove the scourge of abortion from our country. That to change a culture, incremental gains are necessary. That candidates for political leadership must not only be pro-life but also have a reasonable hope of being elected.

Prominent among these voices are Alissa Golob and Jonathan van Maren.  

I see the incremental approach pro-life gains as the only way to go right now. As Cardinal Collins recently said at the March for Life:

“If it’s either all or nothing, we are going to get nothing.”

Related: Taking Steps for Life, by Fr. Raymond de Souza

Perhaps this is a moment of awakening in the broader pro-life movement, or perhaps it is a changing of the guard.

Whatever happens, I am hopeful! Let’s pray that God guides all our steps toward building a free and truly just society in Canada.

May God bless all who work to safeguard the dignity of all life. May God bless and guide our new party leader Andrew Scheer. And may God bless all our leaders and give us a pro-life PM! 

This is a pivotal moment for the Canadian pro-life movement! — Josh Canning

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