South Okanagan-West Kootenay Election 2019: How does your candidate view a woman's right to choose | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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South Okanagan-West Kootenay Election 2019: How does your candidate view a woman's right to choose

Changes have been made to the Kelowna Lake Country riding for the 2015 federal election.
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September 24, 2019 - 4:00 PM

PENTICTON - In case you missed it, abortion has re-emerged as a topic of conversation.

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 in South Okanagan-West Kootenay 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?

Helena Konanz, Conservative Party of Canada candidate

A Conservative government will oppose any attempt to reopen this debate and I support that position. Mr. Scheer will encourage all Conservative MPs to focus on issues that unite Canadians.

Justin Trudeau and the Liberals want to focus on divisive issues because they are trying to distract from their scandals. What I am hearing at the doors is that Canadians are tired of these scare tactics and want a government that will help them get ahead.

Connie Denesiuk, Liberal Party of Canada candidate

As the Liberal Party of Canada candidate for our region, I am in full support of our stance on abortion rights and safe access. I am proud to be a part of a party that expects all MPs to vote along pro-choice lines on any legislation regarding abortion and stand up for women’s right to choose.

In answering this question, I will note that anti-choice organizations such as Campaign Life Coalition, which have actively supported the provincial campaigns of Conservatives Doug Ford and Jason Kenney, are currently seeking influence in Canada’s 2019 election. Jack Fonseca, from Campaign Life Coalition, has publicly confirmed his organization’s support for a number of anti-choice candidates who are running for the Conservative Party of Canada in this election.

Andrew Scheer, as leader, would not stop Conservative MPs from introducing bills seeking to reopen the abortion debate. The relationship between Conservative politicians and organizations like Campaign Life Coalition is part in parcel of a larger social conservative agenda and set of policy objectives. These objectives are not exclusive to rolling-back women’s rights, and include opposition to LBGTQ2+ rights.

Our Liberal government not only opposes reopening the debate on the right to choose, but we will continue to strengthen women rights from coast to coast to coast. As the candidate for South Okanagan-West Kootenay, I am proud to be running for this party - a party that is committed to fairness for all Canadians, regardless of gender, background or orientation, and that is committed to moving forward.

Tara Howse, Green Party of Canada candidate

I - and the Green Party - do and will continue to support a woman’s right to safe abortions.

As a woman, and as someone who has worked largely with women’s issues, access to medical care is of pre-eminence and this includes access to abortions. The right to choose is a fundamental right for women’s rights and security. I, nor the Green Party, would ever reverse that right.

Richard Cannings, New Democratic Party of Canada candidate, did not respond to the question.

No contact information was listed for People's Party of Canada candidate Sean Taylor.

— This story was updated at 8:41 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019, to include a comment from Conservative Party candidate Helena Konanz.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Parker Crook or call (250) 864-7494 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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