Sunday, May 16, 2010

No Political Payoff

One issue that gets lost in the Harper abortion funding debate, is how he boarded this train in the first place. Let's remember, when Harper turned into Bob Geldof, the Conservatives were in complete disarray, even trailing the Libs in some polls, prorogation was on the front burner, they desperately needed to change the channel. This "found Jesus" moment, wherein Harper suddenly championed issues that he never articulated in the past (at the time I challenged Conservatives to cite ONE example, in Harper's entire career, where he spoke passionately about maternal health in the developing world- NOTHING came), was nothing more than crass political opportunism hatched by the PMO to soften his image. Don't ever forget the circumstances that led to the whole debate, because this always was a total snowjob.

I actually don't think the PMO even bothered to think through this initiative. In fact, the Conservatives didn't seem to realize where other nations stood on the issue, and that their ideological bent would completely derail the intended benefit. I can't fault the Liberals for using wedge politics, because frankly the prospects of Harper actually pulling off this makeover attempt was offensive- women and children used as pawns to soften the edges of a politician desperate to look somewhat sympathetic. The PMO saw the Haiti situation, then used these issues to cobble together a new narrative- again, if I'm wrong, someone give me some chronology to show the pre-Bono evolution.

The anti-choice forces feel emboldened, for some strange reason. I take great solace in the fact that Harper is getting ZERO traction on this issue, beyond his borg-like base:
Stephen Harper's much-vaunted maternal health initiative that was meant to galvanize next month's G8 summit is now causing some queasiness — among Canadians and internationally.

A new poll suggests that a majority of Canadians opposes the Prime Minister's refusal to fund safer abortions in developing countries, even as international concern grows about the state of his G8 maternal health initiative.

The Canadian Press-Harris Decima poll found that 58 per cent of respondents oppose Harper's exclusion of abortion funding in his drive to improve maternal and child health in poor countries.

That's up from about 46 per cent in March, when a similar question about aid for abortion access was asked. The increase suggests people are taking their time to think through the complex pros and cons before making up their minds, said Megan Tam, vice-president at Harris-Decima.

"It appears that the general sentiment of most Canadians is to have a maternal health policy that includes funding for abortion," she said.

Only 30 per cent of respondents said they would support the government's decision, down from about 48 per cent in March.

Fantastic. Harper was never a pure advocate, and his pro-life base has forced a further politicization, alientating Canada from its partners, and now casting a poor light at home. It's just right that this issue blow up in the PMO's faces, because it was never sincere, it was just convenient. If the Conservatives actually did improve their standing with Canadians, that would just be wrong, wrong, wrong. The great humanitarian was always a charlatan, and I'm glad his narrow base has exposed the fraud for everyone to see. Let's just hope they is some red faced moments at the G8 summit as well, because a more deserving fraud is hard to fathom. Harsh, but OHHH so true.


Tomm said...


This post is a joke right?

Because you are in fact saying that you have no direct or indirect knowledge of Harper caring about families.

Why do you think he is in politics rather than any number of other lucrative careers? He obviously cares. So does Ignatieff, Layton, Duceppe, Dion, Martin, May, etc. If they didn't they would have gone into something that pays a hell of a lot better.

Harper has two kids, quietly gives money to charity and is hugely supportive of his wife's causes. But, no he doesn't care. Because the media has shown no photo op that you believed was real. That just shows how jaded you've become.

But anyway, it is a good idea and it is good that Canada is leading it. The world needs this stuff. It is a real issue. Maternal care and care for young children is the biggest health issue in LDCs bar none. Abortion support is a side issue that is a 1%er in the countries that desperately need maternal and child care.

But if you're happy the Liberal's are making a wedge issue out of that, than you've got your wish.

The G8 has already indicated they are totally supportive and on board. I am sad that your pet secular media people will stamp their feet and scream armageddon every time Bob Rae stands up to criticize Harper over the 1%. It just shows how unable the Liberals and their media lap dogs are in seeing beyond their own biases.

Harper clearly cares about mothers and kids. You actually already knew that. You are just being a prickly partisan.

Calgary Junkie said...

"... and that their ideological bent would completely derail the intended benefit."

Let's wait and see how this all plays out when the G8 leaders issue their final communique.

I'd be surprised if the other leaders embarass their host, PM Harper, by bringing up their differences on abortion funding.

At this point, it looks like the final talking point will be along the lines of: "Each country will contribute X % of their GDP into a fund, and each will stipulate how they want that money to be used"

Steve V said...

Anybody who thinks this initiative is sincere is a joke. Baa baa.

Steve V said...


Even if we do see that scenario, Harper has lost the high ground he sought. I don't expect high profile digs, but you will hear more criticism and reminders.

RuralSandi said...

Steve - I wish you would use the term pro-choice instead of pro-abortion.

It isn't the case. Many who wouldn't have an abortion themselves believe it's the woman's decision, between her and her doctor and that we shouldn't judge and jury on it.

Tomm - you are so naive.

Steve V said...


Can you find me any background speech, utterance, policy mention, blue book reference, prior to the epiphany?

Steve V said...


Sorry, you're right.

Steve V said...

Looking at the pdf for the poll, amazing, even amongst Con supports more oppose their position than support. 48% oppose government decision 40% support amongst Con voters. It's also 49%-33% in Alberta.