Right-wing agenda dominates Conservative policy convention
Conservative faithful have elbowed Canada's governing party back to the right, just a month after Stephen Harper won another minority mandate with a campaign that hugged the political centre.
Some 2,000 delegates at the first Tory policy convention since March 2005 adopted resolutions Saturday that would strip human-rights tribunals of some powers and create new charges for the killing of unborn children.
They also strongly endorsed tough-on-crime measures, income splitting for couples with young children and a motion rewriting the party's position on equal pay for work of equal value.
The resolutions are not binding on Prime Minister Harper or his Conservative caucus, but they allowed party faithful to reaffirm their right-of-centre policy leanings….
A resolution encouraging provinces to experiment with private health care was defeated on the argument that privatization is happening anyway and the motion would simply provide ammunition to the Conservatives' political foes.
But other hot-button issues found wide support on the convention floor.
One policy would take away investigative and adjudication powers from the Canadian Human Rights Commission and tribunal for complaints of hate-mongering.
"This tribunal is a direct threat to our freedom of speech," the sponsoring delegate said to applause.
Edmonton MP Laurie Hawn supported the motion, saying "we already have hate laws" and the tribunals "punish individuals for expressing legitimate - even if they're controversial - views."
The resolution was adopted virtually unanimously.
Delegates had more divergent views on a proposal that would add charges to anyone who kills or injures a fetus during the commission of a crime against a pregnant mother.
The sponsoring delegate from Saskatchewan said the motion "recognized the unborn child as a victim of crime in the event of deliberate injury or death to the mother and child."
"You are essentially saying that the unborn child is a person," responded the first delegate to speak against the motion, drawing widespread cheers from supporters of the resolution.
Those cheers quickly turned to jeers as the woman from Saint John, N.B., continued in defence of abortion rights: "Therefore you are re-opening the way to that slippery path that will take away a woman's right to choose. This is the thin edge of the wedge."- Source