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North Okanagan-Shuswap Election 2019: How does your candidate view a woman's right to choose

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NORTH OKANAGAN - In case you missed it, abortion has re-emerged as a topic of conversation this election cycle.

It's likely because of the ongoing political debate south of the border, which moved into Kelowna when rallies and protests rolled out. It was a hot topic in Penticton, Kamloops and the North Okanagan with the controversy surrounding screenings of an anti-abortion movie.

And ahead of the October federal election, the focus has turned to the candidates.

Anti-abortion group, Right Now, has said it is working to deliver 50 federal ridings to candidates it believes side with them on the issue.

Pro-choice groups, Action Canada for Sexual Health & Rights launched a campaign called The Personal is STILL Political. It asks voters to find out where candidates stand on everything from barriers to abortion access to sex education in schools.

Answers to these questions and more have been spoken about in various ways by party leaders so we turned to our local candidates to see where they stood.

QUESTION: Abortion access and reproductive rights have been threatened in many U.S. States and, despite being treated as a medical issue in this country since 1988, many Canadians seek are asking if that’s how it will remain. What is your personal opinion on this issue, and how do you expect your party will address this issue over the next term?

Harwinder Sandhu, NDP

I support pro choice and by being pro choice doesn't mean that we cannot be pro life.

Women in Canada and worldwide already have many struggles and barriers. No one should have a right to tell them what to do with their bodies,or the decisions they have to make. We don’t need to go backwards and make life more difficult for many women and girls as it’s already tough choice to make the decision about having the abortion.

I have been blessed as I never was in the situation many women or girls could might be in, personally. I cannot even imagine what women or girls go through and how difficult it is for them. I am a feminist and strongly support women empowerment as I personally faced many barriers, therefore I wholeheartedly support women and girl’s right to choose.

This shouldn’t even be the political issue or debate as we should let women make their own decisions.

However, if this even if it comes for debate in the house, I will be fully supporting women’s right to choose.

Mel Arnold, Conservative

A Conservative government will not re-open the abortion debate. I support this position and the Conservative party's commitment to focus on issues that unite Canadians.

Marc Reinarz, Green

Neither the Green Party of Canada, nor I as a candidate, plan to address this matter.

Cindy Derkaz, Liberal

I am pro-choice which means that I respect the right of a woman to choose to have an abortion based on her own values and beliefs. I am an advocate for women's reproductive health, including continued access to legal and safe medical abortions. This is in line with the principles and policies of the Liberal Party of Canada and will not be further addressed over the next term.

Kyle Delfing, People's Party

Abortion is a medical procedure that has had no legislation around it since 1988 when the Supreme court ruled the standing laws were unconstitutional. The court asked that parliament create fair legislation around the abortion issue.

I don’t believe Abortion is a topic to be used as political capital during the election, the personal opinions of any party Candidates or sitting members of parliament regarding abortion should not be interpreted as the political view of their party. We are after all looking to be a leading voice for our communities, not a condescending one.

The PPC does not have a policy proposal on Abortion, however, the PPC is a party that respects free speech.

It would be irresponsible of any party which forms government this election to ignore the abortion topic, if the Canadian people ask for a discussion on abortion to be had in the House of Commons. What results from such a discussion is anybody’s guess.

After all, the ruling of R vs Morgentaler struck down the ability for a committee to decide when a woman may have an abortion.

In her decision, Justice Wilson noted, “the value placed on the fetus is proportional to its stage of gestation and the legislation must take that into account”.

The last time an abortion bill reached the senate was under Mulroney Jan.  31, 1991, the bill was struck down in a tie decision. The 28 plus years since, abortion has been tossed around Canadian politics like a hot potato.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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