Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


25 years later, the Cabinet on abortion
November 18, 2013 7:51 AM   Subscribe

The Canadian Press has released minutes from the Cabinet's discussions of abortion. The conversations began after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled unconstitutional the restrictions on abortion (wiki).

CBC commentary.
National Post commentary.

Interesting note:
There was only one woman in the twenty-person Cabinet, the Minister for the Status of Women (Barbara McDougall) - which PM Mulroney specifically noted and called out as a problem.
posted by Lemurrhea (21 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
/technical digression

If you use NoScript, you might have to go to "Blocked Objects" and allow some of the fonts. Otherwise, it looks like this:

: 6 jblis wbtddijm ulmir @]B @ct sic. 63, snjbcbtnr-cjbilt prbvbjiai
Via`rmbla prnciss, tdi Kblbstir ne St`ti (Eimir`j-Wrnvblcb`j Vij`tbnls ripnrtim td`t tdi @m Dnc Cnkkbttii ne Kblbstirs e`vnurim ` erii vnti nl ` anvirlkilt risnjutbnl prnpnsbla ` jiabsj`tbvi `pprn`cd (i.a., trbkistir nr twn-st`ai), `lm tdil bltrnmucbla anvirlkilt jiabsj`tbnl f`sim nl tdi nutcnki ne tdi vnti. @jtirl`tbvijy, tdi mr`etbla ne tdi jiabsj`tbnl cnujm fi rieirrim tn ` Dnusi Cnkkbttii, nl wdbcd ` erii vnti cnujm ujtbk`tijy fi dijm
which is a pretty clever way of preventing cut-and-paste.

/back to the subject
posted by benito.strauss at 8:17 AM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can a Canadian explain the significance of the fact that the CBC and National Post commentaries are identical?
posted by benito.strauss at 8:22 AM on November 18, 2013


It looks as if both sites used the CP story unaltered. So let's scroll down to the comments to see if we can find anything -- DEAR GOD NO WHAT WAS I THINKING!?!
posted by maudlin at 8:26 AM on November 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


They both bought the piece from the Canadian Press, the CanCon equivalent of the American Associate Press news agency/wire service.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:27 AM on November 18, 2013


Was considering posting this myself. Probably the most shocking revelation is how reasonable Mulroney sounds.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:15 AM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can a Canadian explain the significance of the fact that the CBC and National Post commentaries are identical?


Whoops. Shamefully, I included the NP just because it was there, and decided against reading it to avoid raising my rage-meter. My apologies!
posted by Lemurrhea at 9:18 AM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


After having read only the NP article I was surprised that they used the wording anti-abortion instead of pro-life.
posted by Midnight Rambler at 9:36 AM on November 18, 2013


Ah, Byron Muldoon, the chin that walked liked a man. Canada's Nixon: So corrupt* he needed three aides to screw his pants on in the morning©, yet retrospectively progressive, given the right wing goons that have been elected in his wake.

* Allegedly!
posted by docgonzo at 10:48 AM on November 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Was considering posting this myself. Probably the most shocking revelation is how reasonable Mulroney sounds.

Mulroney was one of the greats. Stevie Cameron is an unadulterated douchebag.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:33 AM on November 18, 2013


Was considering posting this myself. Probably the most shocking revelation is how reasonable Mulroney sounds.

That sound you are hearing is the Overton window slamming to the right because of the combined weight of all the crazy on that side of the political spectrum.
posted by srboisvert at 11:53 AM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Keep in mind that this was the Progressive Conservative Party, a political entity that no longer exists at the federal level. In many ways they actually lived up to the name; especially during the short-lived Joe Clark era.
Then they merged with the Alberta-based (think Texas) socially conservative Reform Party and were never heard from again.
posted by rocket88 at 12:04 PM on November 18, 2013


"Mulroney was one of the greats. Stevie Cameron is an unadulterated douchebag."

Hmm. I propose that Cameron's work on the missing women should add some adulterant to your view, at least.
posted by docgonzo at 12:22 PM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Here's a scoop: the 2006 Cabinet discussion on the same topic, the minutes of which I found on an OC Transpo bus a couple of years ago:
____

...

The Prime Minister then explained that Cabinet would soon have to announce the newly elected government's definitive position on abortion. He reminded Cabinet that while in opposition during the previous decade, the Reform Party, the Canadian Alliance and other forerunners of the now governing party had all pronounced firmly in favour of the right to life. On the other hand, polling confirmed that by a wide margin Canadians continued to oppose any change to the existing abortion law.

After pausing slightly to eye a Cabinet member who had coughed quietly at the far end of the table without first raising his hand to request permission, the Prime Minister invited his colleagues to express their views.

The Honourable Jason Kenney spoke with some eloquence to the need for all Members of Parliament to follow their souls on such a challenging issue. Once the general laughter had settled, Kenney asked for the lights in the Cabinet Room to be dimmed, and walked colleagues through an exhaustive 57 minute PowerPoint detailing the impact of 14 different policy positions on the voting projections for 38 swing ridings. He then recommended that Cabinet adopt the voting-optimized policy position of "Abortion if necessary, but not necessarily abortion", which would result in a 13.9 percent increase in support from Filipino-Canadians aged 29 to 37, an 11.2 percent increase in support from ultramontane Newfoundland sealers, a 2.2 percent increase in support from left-handed Greek-Canadians who had between 1 and 3 grandparents born in Smyrna, and would finally convince Delmer Finlay in Peterborough to vote Conservative. This combined swing, he assured Cabinet, would bring the party within 6 seats of a majority in the next election.

The Honourable Vic Toewes spoke next, placing considerable emphasis on the importance of allowing women freedom of choice on this matter. The only exception should be idiot neighbourhood women of babysitting age, for whom the decision should be taken by any serving member of Cabinet. As his apoplexy peaked, the Prime Minister requested that the attending RCMP remove the Minister from the room.

The Honourable John Baird began his intervention in his traditional fashion, by hanging from the chandelier and throwing his own feces at the portraits of Pierre Trudeau and Lester Pearson. This pleased the Prime Minister, who threw Minister Baird a banana. Thus mollified, Minister Baird then uttered shrieks and howls which, it was generally agreed by the Cabinet, suggested that Minister Baird favoured whatever the Prime Minister wanted.

The Honourable Tony Clement made the final intervention by noting that while he believed strongly that the correct course of action would be to conduct a seance to channel the views of either President Reagan or President Botha, he understood that time pressures would prevent this. Therefore he recommended that Cabinet simply approve the reallocation of $50 million currently earmarked for anti-terrorism programs to fund abortion clinics in his riding.

The Prime Minister glared balefully at the Cabinet for perhaps five minutes, shook his head, and got up. As he walked out of the room, the Honourable Maxime Bernier asked if the Cabinet might beg the Prime Minister's indulgence and request the honour of hearing his decision. Without even stopping to confirm whether Minister Bernier had assumed the requisite supine posture before addressing His August Personage, the Prime Minister merely shouted "You schmucks can wait to read about it in tomorrow's Globe and Mail like everyone else".
posted by senor biggles at 12:36 PM on November 18, 2013 [18 favorites]


senor biggles is right to point out that as bad as he is Stephen Harper is the least crazy member of his party.

I will give Harper credit for never having accepted an actual briefcase full of cash. Mulroney 's corruption was epic.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:50 PM on November 18, 2013


... but fisheries minister Tom Siddon "emphatically" stated his disappointment that cabinet did not protect the rights of the fetus.

Well, I'm certainly glad we consulted the fisheries minister on this.
posted by flyingfox at 1:22 PM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Mulroney was one of the greats. Stevie Cameron is an unadulterated douchebag.

This is sort of out of left field. Care to elaborate?
posted by Hoopo at 1:34 PM on November 18, 2013


Abortions for some, miniature Canadian flags for others?
posted by blue_beetle at 3:17 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


One forgets how reasonable Mulroney was in a lot of ways. Too bad that was all overshadowed by him being such a corrupt ass hat.

flyingfox: "Well, I'm certainly glad we consulted the fisheries minister on this."

People think that Foo Minister is generally an expert at Foo and while the stars align some times it's just as likely with a few notable exceptions that the Foo minister is just an able (you hope) executive to has been assigned a particular division of the government.
posted by Mitheral at 7:44 PM on November 18, 2013


This sounds so incredibly Canadian.

Despite the recent notoriety, I am rather okay with the role it plays in Canadian government, rising out of the deep like a Kraken once a generation to swat down an odious House bill.

The truth about Mulroney is that he was so full of himself he loved playing the role of the wise leader who could solve everyone's problems. N'oublie pas, it was his ego that lead to two attempts at constitutional reform going down in flames.
posted by dry white toast at 8:23 PM on November 18, 2013


Mulroney was one of the greats. Stevie Cameron is an unadulterated douchebag.


Perhaps the singularly most idiotic Canadian related comment yet on this fine website.

Mulroney introduced new levels of sleaze and cynicism to the Canadian body politic that allowed a thug like Chretien and a borderline sociopath like Harper access to the levers of power. Participation in elections in this great deaf dumb giant of a country have been going downhill for years, due in large part to the kind of politics Mulroney and his ilk mastered. I mean you're dealing with a person who would only go into politics if he got to be leader right off the bat.

Stevie Cameron was cleared of any wrong doing in regards to 'On The Take: Crime, Corruption and Greed in the Mulroney Years', primarily the accusations that she was a police informer during the investigation of the Airbus Affair. All part of the public record, too.

And really, 'douchebag'? Really?
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 12:27 AM on November 19, 2013


which is a pretty clever way of preventing cut-and-paste.

It’s not so great for search engines and blind persons.
posted by Fongotskilernie at 2:06 AM on November 19, 2013


« Older Ten years ago today, invoking the “dignity and equ...  |  "The collaborative, web-based,... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments