"Many still think that Stephen Harper, despite his blunt statements to the contrary, is genuinely pro-life but is following a temporary but necessary political strategy of laying very low on the issue until the Conservatives win a majority. Then, it is said, he will free some of his MPs from his currently tight control, to propose private members’ bills that would gradually increase protection for Canada’s unborn children."No kidding.
"Based on easily obtainable evidence, however, such a scenario appears unlikely to ever happen as long as Harper is Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister. In fact it remains to be seen whether even an opposition member will be allowed to introduce and have a vote taken on a bill deemed in any way related to changing the abortion status quo."
I've been saying so since the sky was blue.
It isn't a secret either. Harper's been very open from the beginning that for him the dreaded "A" issue is on the backburner so long as he is leader. People just forget, or choose to ignore those past comments in the party.
Back when Harper was running for the Alliance leadership, I distincly remember him answering the Abortion question by saying that he would be willing to commit his government to not introduce Abortion legislation in it's first term of office. That willingness soon became commitment as you read his comments later on. During the Alliance race he was even asked repetitively in one instance of his PERSONAL views on abortion.
He was asked again.
Then finally he blurted "quite frankly I'm divided on the issue."
It is the sole time I have ever heard him ever make a pronouncement on his personal views on moral issues. Harper probably regretted saying that and probably feared it would be blurted on the news as "Harper divided over woman's right to choose." I've never forgotten the moment and never will.
I don't gather his opinions have changed much since then. Although I get the distinct impression that as his children grow older he's gained more simpathy towards the pro-family cause. But in the end whenever a reporter has asked him what philosophy best describes his views he answers "Libertarian."
Now there are many types of Libertarians. Not all are pro-choice. But many are. And in Harper's case that answer he gives at nauseum at the very least insinuates that his priority is more towards the fiscal conservatism side of things.
So then why did I, and many other informed so-cons support him? It's simple. He's a TRUE BIG TENT Conservative.
And when I say "Big tent" I don't mean a tent that is filled with so many people that are completely oblivious to the word conservative or that conservative principles are so completely watered down being "conservative" means nothing anymore. What I mean by a "big tent" is that all the factions of conservatism, Red Tories, Libertarians, Populists, Democratic Reformers, So-Cons and every other type of conservative are welcome at the table so long as they believe in those basic conservative principles of limited goverment, a strong military, and a justice system that works.
Harper believes that he needs all the factions to be united to win. He literally believes that if one of those factions isn't in line, he looses support. He's watched the Liberals. He knows that the only way for conservatism to succeed in this country is for all the factions to be united.
That's a see change of difference between him and candidates of the likes of Belinda Stronach, who quite frankly would have went on a crusade to exorcise the party of anyone with a contrary ideology - especially people of a moral conservative bent.
Harper's openess to so-cons means that so-cons can fight at the table for their views on equal footing. It means that so-cons have a shot. That's how the party's Trad Marriage position in my opinion came about. I've always questioned whether Harper really has a moral objection to SSM or if it's more a political one... Notice his position is that he is in support of "civil unions..." Not once does he ever offer a moral objection to SSM like a so-con would.
It's no matter. So long as so-cons exist in his caucus, the point is, HE WILL LISTEN to them.
That's Harper's strenght. He believes in a Conservative Party that is united and principled. He's no so-con of the likes of Stockwell Day or Jason Kenney, but he could suprise people - and HAS.