Monday, December 30, 2013

Why we do what we do

I am continually surprised at the lack of publicly pro-life politicians in this country. Federally there are some, and they are very brave indeed. This posting is not about them. It's about the rest.

In Ontario, I can't even think of one publicly pro-life politician. Maybe there is one. I just wish he or she would make themselves known.

Why is that? Is it because they're scared of being demonized by the pro-abortions? Is is because they are cowards? Is it because they just don't care? Or is it all of the above?

Abortion--it's discussion in any kind of public way; the increasing lack of availability of obtaining accurate abortion statistics; the inability to get a politician to answer questions on the subject; what is all that?

The subject is going underground. It is verboten.

We used to be able to depend on Statistics Canada to provide us with accurate data. But when the quality of those statistics started deteriorating because of non-disclosure by the provinces, Statistics Canada didn't want their name attached to such inaccurate numbers. Now CIHI's numbers are inaccurate and under reported. It isn't very helpful to have numbers that paint only a partial picture of what is going on in Canada with abortion. Accurate statistics should be legislated. Why aren't they?

Federal Access to Information requests increasingly yield "cabinet confidences" and "solicitor-client privilege" excuses at an alarming rate. And information commissioners are toothless to to anything.

Ontario freedom of information requests aren't even allowed anymore. The Ontario Conservatives--who one would hope would keep the Liberals in check--did nothing to stop this from happening. These Conservatives seem to have a don't-talk-about-abortion-ever policy. They're whipped by the Government in power--a mean feat if there ever was one.

All the while children continue to be killed

Those of us who are marginalized because of our pro-life views keep on doing what we can to change the tide. It sometimes feels like we will never make any headway.

Looking over the past year though, I notice a common hopeful thread in all the people who I know who are pro-life. They are committed to the plight of the unborn. Really committed. They are driven. They don't give up and they don't give in. They speak up. Continually. They educate women. They support women in crisis pregnancies. They pray in front of abortion clinics. They write letters to the editor and op-eds for newspapers. They push for legal protection and advise politicians who will listen. They legally challenge the government, sometimes for no pay.

They do what they can, and they never stop doing it. They do it for the children. They inspire me to keep going. They are my super-heroes.

Happy New Year and God bless every one of us.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Open and transparent Ontario government in downward spiral

I finally received my long awaited response from the Ontario Minister of Health, Deb Matthews, regarding my questions to her. And regarding my questions to Premier Wynne.
It is a sad little letter that doesn't actually answer any of my questions, so I'm not really sure why she bothered. Maybe she was just trying to shut me up. 
(I wonder if Deb liked my comic and if Kathleen enjoyed my video?)
Regardless, I'm formulating my reply to her now. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, I know you're dying to read what the Honourable Ms. Matthews wrote, so here it is for your reading enjoyment on this snowy-and-soon-to-be-more-snowy week in Ottawa land.
HLTC2966MC-2013-9720
Thank you for your e-mails advising of your meeting with Madeleine Meilleur, MPP for Ottawa--Vanier, and for your questions regarding records relating to the provision of abortion services, under section 65. (5.7) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). Premier Kathleen Wynne has also referred your e-mail of October 21, 2013, on the same matter to me for response.
The passing of Bill 122, the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act, 2010, which contained the provisions that amended FIPPA so as to bring hospitals under FIPPA, followed the customary legislative process, ensuring there was opportunity for public scrutiny, input and open debate. On October 20, 2010, the bill received first reading, and at that time it was publicly available for review.
After second reading on November 16, 2010, the bill was referred to the Standing Committee on Social Policy. The committee held public hearings on the bill on November 22nd and November 23, 2010, at which time eighteen interested parties made deputations to the committee.The bill was also debated several times in the House after both second and third readings. As a result, there was ample opportunity for views on any issues associated with the bill to be considered. For more detail about the passing of Bill 122 the following Legislative Assembly of Ontario Website link takes you to the Bill 122 summary:
Regarding the Canadian Institute for Health Information’s (CIHI) published abortion statistics, I understand that CIHI specifically indicates that when reporting abortion figures, counts of abortions by province are an underestimate count and that it is currently the best way to produce pan-Canadian comparable data.  For information on CIHI’s compilation of statistical data you may wish to contact CIHI directly.
Thank you again for writing. I hope this information is helpful.
Sincerely,


ORIGINAL SIGNED BY
Deb Matthews
Minister
cc: Premier Kathleen Wynne
    Madeleine Meilleur, MPP



Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Explaining gestational limits legislation

Sean Murphy gives pro-lifers an excellent explanation of the legal status of abortion in Canada.

He explains why a law to restrict abortion (sometimes called abortion incrementalism) would not create a "right" that did not previously exist.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Ontario's "open and transparent initiative" isn't very open or transparent

I asked the Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne, a question about her open and transparent government initiative on October 21.

I asked her if the initiative would "include the lifting of the secret curtain on abortion services in Ontario?"

I have followed up that letter, with numerous emails and telephone calls, trying to find out exactly when the Premier would be answering my question.

The only person who has ever called me back was someone from the correspondence unit. All she could tell me was that they had received my letter. When I questioned her further, she had no idea as to when I could expect a response.

The premier's automated response says that:
"Given the volume of emails and letters I receive, and the fact that I may need to share your email with one of my Cabinet ministers or the appropriate government officials for more information, a response may take several business days."
Clearly I've waited longer than "several business days".

On December 10 when I called again, I was told it could take another four weeks, but the receptionist couldn't tell me more than that.

It's already been almost two months now, that I have been waiting.

I was watching Ms. Wynne's video on youtube this week. It did inspire me I have to say.



It inspired me so much, that I posted my own message for Ms. Wynne.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

CIHI 2012 abortion statistics available March 2014

From CIHI:
"The 2012 abortion statistics will be available by March, and are slated to include clinic and hospital breakdown for Quebec. 2011 clinic and hospital breakdowns for Quebec will be available at the same time."

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

CIDA does IPPF site visits in only two of five countries

It seems DFAIT's (formerly CIDA) due diligence criteria of making field visits to ensure that the $6 million funding to IPPF does not include abortion services, didn't happen in three of the five countries involved.

This latest ATIP request to DFAIT was based on an email I had received previously from a CIDA media person that stated:

"Field visits to projects and regular monitoring by CIDA field representatives also provide key information that permits CIDA to determine and assess whether the implementing organization is performing or delivering services in accordance with the terms and conditions of the funding agreement."

So I asked for:

"all information regarding these field visits to the five countries benefiting from the $6 million funding to IPPF."

This is what I received.

There were site visits to Bangladesh between February 12, 2012 and Feb 23, 2012.

And this note:

"All partners were very pleased to have a CIDA officer visit. Some have been receiving funding for several years but have never had the opportunity to welcome a CIDA officer."

Sounds like this is the first time CIDA had done any checking as to how our funds are being used in Bangladesh in several years.

We know that FPAB [IPPF's member association in Bangladesh] does menstrual regulation in Bangladesh, but supposedly no Canadian funds are being used for this. But then we read this comment in the report under their "advocacy program":

"...the management team indicated that FPAB does a lot of advocacy work. Advocacy is part of everything they do, either at the policy making level through activities targeting the MoHFW (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) or at the district and grassroots levels, whenever there is an opportunity during formal meetings with local authorities and religious leaders at training sessions etc. They envision this staying the same over the next few years."

Would that mean then, advocacy for menstrual regulation and abortions? One would assume so, since it is a well known fact that IPPF wants to make abortion legal everywhere and never shies away from telling us so.

The "background" portion of the information does make one reference that abortion services will not be funded under the initiative.

Pages 76 and 77 identify a site visit to Tanzania, but it says virtually nothing about how the funds are used here. It does say that:

"IPPFAR [IPPF Africa Regional Office] also mobilizes resources for its MAs ([member Associations], and advocates for sexual and reproductive rights at the county, regional and international level."

There's that "advocacy" word again.

And you may be asking, what about the due diligence that our money is not being used for abortion services is Afghanistan, Mali and the Sudan? Good question. My ATIP revealed this:

"Please note, no records were found for Afghanistan, Mail or Sudan."

Apparently those field visits and regular monitoring to three of the five countries to "determine and assess whether the implementing organization is performing or delivering services in accordance with the terms and conditions of the funding agreement." never even happened.

(Note: this ATIP was for the first Annual Progress Report for the project: 27 January - 31 March 2012, and for the Mid-year Report: 1 April - 30 September 2012. There will be additional reports for each year of the funding.)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

MP Maurice Vellacott puts two motions on the Notice Paper

As Mike Schouten, director of WeNeedaLAW.ca points out, Mr. Vellacott has given Canadians two early Christmas presents.

See here for Mr. Velacott's Private Members' Notices of Motions.

M-482 — December 6, 2013 — Mr. Vellacott (Saskatoon—Wanuskewin) — That a special committee of the House be appointed to: (a) study the decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada since 1988 related to children before birth in order to understand what the Supreme Court has said about Parliament’s responsibility with respect to resolving public policy questions in this area; (b) propose options that the House and/or the government could take to address any negative impact these decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada may have had, directly or indirectly, on women, men, children and Canadian society; and that the committee consist of twelve members which shall include seven members from the government party, four members from the Official Opposition and one member from the Liberal Party, provided that the Chair be from the government party; that in addition to the Chair, there be one Vice-chair from each of the opposition parties; that the committee have all of the powers of a Standing Committee as provided in the Standing Orders; that the members to serve on the said committee be appointed by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs and the membership report of the special committee be presented to the House no later than 20 sitting days after the adoption of this motion; that membership substitutions be permitted to be made from time to time, if required, in the manner provided for in Standing Order 114(2); and that the Committee report its recommendations to the House no later than 6 months after the adoption of this order.

M-483 — December 6, 2013 — Mr. Vellacott (Saskatoon—Wanuskewin) — That a special committee of the House be appointed to determine what legal protections Canada ought to provide to children before birth, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Canada ratified in 1991, which states that “the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth“; and that the committee consist of twelve members which shall include seven members from the government party, four members from the Official Opposition and one member from the Liberal Party, provided that the Chair be from the government party; that in addition to the Chair, there be one Vice-Chair from each of the opposition parties; that the committee have all of the powers of a Standing Committee as provided in the Standing Orders; that the members to serve on the said committee be appointed by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs and the membership report of the special committee be presented to the House no later than 20 sitting days after the adoption of this motion; that membership substitutions be permitted to be made from time to time, if required, in the manner provided for in Standing Order 114(2); and that the Committee present its final report to the House no later than 6 months after the adoption of this order.