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Greens clarify abortion stance after May says she wouldn t silence MPs

Greens clarify abortion stance after May says she wouldn t  silence  MPs
Politics
The Green Party says there is “zero chance” that any of its members would reopen the abortion debate in the House of Commons, issuing the clarification after leader Elizabeth May said she wouldn’t silence any Green MPs who felt compelled to bring the issue forward.

“It is the Green Party’s position that the abortion debate is closed in Canada. Any who disagree are not allowed to run,” the party said in a statement Monday.

"I could talk to them. I could try to dissuade them. I could say it would be unfortunate ... but I don t have the power as leader of the Green Party to whip votes, nor do I have the power to silence an MP," May said.

"And frankly, I think that s a good thing because democracy will be healthier when constituents know that their MP works for them and not their party leader.”

Hours after the video went live, the Green Party issued a statement clarifying that, although the party’s leader does not have the power to whip votes, all Green MPs must endorse the party’s values “including support of a woman’s right to choose.”

The party also said it has disqualified candidates in the past for holding anti-abortion views, but such an occurrence is “extremely rare.”

In an interview with CTV’s Question Period on Sunday, May was again asked about her personal stance on abortion and where the Greens stand on the issue.

“Women must always have the right to a safe, legal abortion,” she told Evan Solomon. “That is my personal view. It always has been, and that is the party’s position as well.”

May has a clear record of voting against anti-abortion measures. In 2012, she voted against a private member’s bill brought forward by a Conservative MP that sought to appoint a committee to study the Criminal Code’s definition of when human life begins.

May said she was “disturbed” by the motion and labelled it a “back-door attempt to re-open an abortion debate in Canada.” 

The vote failed 203 to 91.

She has also after a Morgentaler clinic was closed in 2014.

Seemingly settled social issues, such as abortion and same-sex marriage, were thrust into national conversation in late August when the Liberals revived a 2005 video in which Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says that “homosexual unions” don’t have the “inherent feature” of marriage because they cannot have children.

Scheer, a practising Catholic who voted against same-sex marriage and has gone on the record to personally oppose abortion, responded that a Conservative government will not reopen the debate on same-sex marriage.

Scheer accused the Liberals of trying to deflect from their own scandals, while his press secretary labelled the video a “desperation tactic from Justin Trudeau.” 
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