Globe and Mail: "Birth control won't be in G8 plan to protect mothers, Tories say"

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Maysie Maysie's picture
Globe and Mail: "Birth control won't be in G8 plan to protect mothers, Tories say"

Fucking hell fuck hell fuck.

My head has spun off my body and is twitching on the floor.

There are no words.


Birth control won't be in G8 plan to protect mothers, Tories say

The Conservative government has offered an explanation for why it will exclude contraception from its initiative to improve the health of mothers in poor countries: Birth control doesn't fit with saving lives.

In no uncertain terms, Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon yesterday ruled out any kind of family-planning programs being included in Canada's "signature" initiative at June's G8 summit - a strategy to improve the health of mothers and young children in poor countries.

"It does not deal in any way, shape or form with family planning. Indeed, the purpose of this is to be able to save lives," Mr. Cannon told the Foreign Affairs committee.

Though Stephen Harper's government has suggested before that its maternal-health initiative would leave out family planning, Mr. Cannon's statements distressed those who had hoped for some flexibility.

Maternal-health advocates worry that the government's desire to steer clear of the abortion issue - and therefore not upset part of its political base - is also pushing it to rule out all other family-planning programs, like distributing contraceptives.


"This is really playing to the base in tractor-loads rather than with shovels," said Katherine McDonald, executive director of Action Canada for Population and Development.

"I'm very concerned that they're equating family planning with abortion."

She argues that no maternal-health policy can be effective without providing ways for women to space out pregnancies, because many childbirth deaths are caused by complications from having too many pregnancies too quickly or from unsafe abortions.

But it was Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff who first made abortion part of the issue, asking whether Mr. Harper's government would include access to abortions as part of the strategy. He suggested the Conservatives might copy the "global gag law" of former U.S. President George W. Bush, which cut off funding to international aid organizations that provided abortion services.

Full story here.

Issues Pages: 
remind remind's picture

This is the shape they are going to move towards in our own health care system, I believe.


I wonder if developed countries see helping out the poor as a hindrance to economic interest. Aren't droves of poor people with babies good for US and Canadian companies that want to exploit cheap labour?

Maysie Maysie's picture

So-called developed countries "help" the poor as long as it serves the interest of capital. We can view this in that way, from the perspective of the G8.

The fact that women will suffer is simply par for the course, an abstract idea, a bullet point in a document somewhere.



remind wrote:

This is the shape they are going to move towards in our own health care system, I believe.

Yes - if they get a majority, this is what we'll see more of.


Sineed wrote:

remind wrote:

This is the shape they are going to move towards in our own health care system, I believe.

Yes - if they get a majority, this is what we'll see more of.

Why would they need a majority?



Exactly, Unionist.


I believe they may have made a tactical error.  This bit of red meat for their social conservative core isn't getting them one new vote, but I don't think it will sit well with the general undecided electorate.  This could come back and bite them big time if the NDP can get some traction on it.  There's a helluvalotta "working canadian families" who use birth control.


There are no words to describe the deep feeling of hate I feel for Harper and his fundie fucking friends.

remind remind's picture

They do not need a majority to continue and make this domestic policy too.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

There was a story in the G&M earlier this week about how Canadian dollars that were supposed to help rape victims and their children in the Congo went to t-shirts and posters instead. One Congolese woman bitterly complianed that the dollars helped no one and the rapists can't read. So what happened? How did a program that was aimed at such desperate women go so wrong? The agency that was to deliver the program was ... wait for it ... Kairos. Once the Harper regime, in all its petty, despicable meanness killed funding for Kairos, they deprived these most vulbnerable and victimized mothers and their children of even the most basic assistance. Yep, Congolese rape victims help pay for Harper's Zionist creds. I have never been so deeply ashamed of a Canadian government.

ETA: Sorry not the link


This is a good way to take Harper on, on this issue.


Harper's G8 "maternal health" plan: 0 for 3 and counting

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Here is the article:


In 2008, two years after the launch of the CIDA project, an internal government report said the project was failing to prevent sexual violence or provide justice.

The report, written by four Canadian aid officials and obtained by The Globe and Mail, said the project had succeeded in providing medical services to some victims. But it said the project was “weak” in preventing further acts of sexual violence. And it said the project's justice component was “essentially non-functional.”

With the epidemic of sexual violence continuing, the report spoke of the “banalization” of rape in Congo. It criticized the CIDA project for spending too much money on T-shirts and vests (intended to educate Congolese people about sexual violence) and on “relatively minor activities such as thousands of dollars planned for meetings.”



Forgive my ignorance, but why is the G8 funding maternal health care and exporting policy in and to other countries in the first place? I don't like the assumptions inherent in this news item, that 1) we have the authority to develop "initiatives" for other countries, and 2),  that we can decide in what ways they need our "help". In other words, I don't see the value in arguing what we're helping with, when in fact it's the help itself that is questionable.

I think the G8 would do well to look at the third world conditions in our own countries before playing benevolent benefactor in others.

remind remind's picture

you know if they need condoms, or medication, of any sort, and they ask us for it as part of our aid, i personally think we should be providing it.


Yeah, I don't know too many couples who don't use some form of birth control or other, since most couples I know who have been together for over a decade don't have 8 kids.


Tories backpedal:

Birth control won't be excluded after all from the Conservative government's new maternal health intitiative for developing countries.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper clarified the government's position on the foreign aid program Thursday, two days after Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon insisted that contraception would not be part of it.

Read more:


Maternal health: What does "no debate on abortion" mean?

I take the prime minister to be saying he will contemplate any accord that includes access to contraception or abortion. But I don't think it's possible to be certain, so I think he will have to be asked again.

remind remind's picture

NDP Leader Jack Layton said he welcomed the apparent change in the government's position.

"We're glad to see that there's a recognition now that contraception certainly cannot be excluded," he said. "It's, in fact, a vitally important part of protecting women's health, particularly in the poorest countries of the world.

"Although what the prime minister said was that it wasn't being ruled out, but does that mean it will be funded? He wouldn't answer that question."

from the cbc link

kim elliott kim elliott's picture

I appreciated this commentary from Saturday Morning Coffee:

"it would appear that the Conservatives are finding it a little difficult to step outside of the box, try on a new policy and run with it. Instead, the ‘maternal and children’s health issues’ that Canada was hoping to address on a wider scale didn’t actually address one of the major issues of the 21st century – contraception – at least not until the PM was hounded by aid agencies, NGOs, journalists and even a UN official citing the importance of contraception for maternal health. The Foreign Minister and the Minister of Int’l Cooperation both were ignorant of the PM’s plans and instead issued statements stating the contrary. So now, the PM is supporting contraception, leaving his Minister’s in the dark, but also condemned strongly abortion."

Full blog posting here.


Ha, I love one of the sarcastic comments below the CBC piece that Sineed posted: "Just great, now it's going to cost us arm and a leg to buy a kid from the developing world!"  Made me snarf my sip of water. :D

To expand on that theme, it's clear that there is an ideology at work here - one that creates desperately impoverished people with no access to reproductive health care. 

So, women are kept subservient that way, populations are kept poor enough to be desperate enough to take any sweatshop job offered to them by western corporations and their international sweatshop collaborators, and those families who aren't forced to send their kids to work are forced instead to sell them into indentured slavery or into western "adoption".

George Victor

What we are seeing reproduced in Canada is standard political fare south of the 49th...It's called the social conservatism of fundamentalists, played to by Steve.  In the third world, employers of course do not want to raise the cost of labour. For the international corporation, in whom investment managers seek the greatest returns for their First World investors, the limits are described in No Logo. 

Seems to me it makes clearer an already distinct line of beliefs/values between the Cons and all the others. And the longer this government governs from a minority position, the more difficulty they have in hiding their malevolent, bible-based structure. They have grown in strength over the past few decades...they would not have had the nerve to propose it 40 years ago. But back then, we had not yet entered the chic "post-feminist" age.


remind wrote:

They do not need a majority to continue and make this domestic policy too.

Phony minority Tories will need support from their political cousins, the Liberals.

And those Liberal MPs supporting the Tories will have to play their hands in front of their consituents.

Some of their constituents will be under the illusion that the Liberal MPs they elected are significantly different than Tories.

Hopefully those voters will experience an epiphanal eureka moment sometime before next election after observing how their Liberal MPs have voted in the House over the last several years.


Catchfire Catchfire's picture

No abortion in Canada's G8 maternal health plan


The federal government has disclosed for the first time that Canada will not fund abortions in its G8 child and maternal health-care initiative for developing countries.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced late last year that Canada, as the host of the upcoming G8 meeting in June, would champion maternal and child health in developing countries.

But until Monday, no one in the government had disclosed whether abortion would be included in the corresponding programs Canada supports.

International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda said the government would consider funding family planning measures such as contraception, but not abortion under any circumstances.

"We're saying that we're using the definition in our discussions of family planning, which does not include abortion," Oda told reporters on Monday in Halifax, where she was meeting with her G8 counterparts.

"We're not debating abortion; we're clarifying family planning."


No, they're debating abortion.


remind remind's picture

Bev Oda, in her press conference yesterday, I believe, deliberately and outright lied to Canadians. Though it is not quite clear what exactly the lie(s) is, or are.

Her lie(s) is that the Canadian government's new stance, differentiated from last's years stance after the G8, was now exactly the same as the USA's stance, which is she said; "no funding of abortions through foreign aid."

Oda even brought a US representative up to the mic to have him reaffirm that there was no difference in  our 2 country's policies. And interestingly,  and crucially as it indicates Oda/Harper are fabricating, he did say that our 2 country's foreign policies on this were the same, but then went on to detail the opposite of what Oda had just stated.

As, in actual fact, one of the first things done by the Obama admin was to take that odious foreign policy of Bush's out and reimpliment abortion funding as part of their foreign aid. As Hilary stated here not so long ago, it is crucial to family health, as a woman dies every 8 mins from a botched and illegal abortion.

So this definitely indicates lies, by Harper and Oda.

Are they playing to their base and lying about the policy change, and really keeping it the same,  and hoping that the "religious" base will never find out otherwise, in order to sooth, read lull them?

Are they actually changing the laws, and lying to unknowing, or oblivious to political shenanigans, Canadians, who do slightly pay attention, with their saying it is now the same as the USA's, when in fact it isn't? 

Either case of lies would be for the bandwagon effect, to keep those follower minions on their side.  And this of course would effect pro-choice, as well as anti-choice, who pay semi-attention, both could believe their beliefs are being met.

Or is it all just a ploy to divert attention away from the other scandals the Conservatives are involved in currently.

Hopefully, Oda and the Conservatives, get called publically on the lies, and the media pin her down on the diverging of reality and truth, from the smoke screen being emitted.

The really nasty and evil thing, of course, is that they are playing lying politics with women's rights and lives, and are thinking there is nothing wrong with it.

Sean in Ottawa

There are two important points that are not being reported on or discussed related to this:

The first is that there are no firewalls at the border and many Canadian NGOs work both in and out of the country. As the government pulls back funding for abortion from international initiatives, organizations involved with women's health in Canada as well as internationally are threatened and organizations seeking to restrict abortion in Canada are getting benefits including money ostensibly for overseas efforts that may help them here. To suggest that you can have a "no support for abortion outside Canada" policy while supporting choice in Canada is a lie and people need to start calling the government publicly on this right away. The effects of this policy with NGOs and women's health organizations in Canada could be felt for years to come long after this current government goes in the dustbin of history.

The second issue that must be recognized is that what rich countries do internationally is not charity. We have, through the distortion of political power and capitalism more than our share of the world's resources in Canada and our involvement out of the coutnry is a question of obligation and rights not charity. Therefore when we impose our will to follow a Stephen Harper religious agenda, we are doing this with world resources that do not belong to Canada but have fallen in to our hands due to inequities that we have contributed to creating. This is an essential part of the perspective that needs to be brought to the table.

I can also add that if Canada does not wish to support and promote women's choice and equality on the world stage, just what do we speak for exactly and what is our role? (In that I am not looking for an answer as the question is rhetorical.)


Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I believe someone made the point earlier - that this is Harper and his party playing to their base, in other words, following an extreme right wing agenda. The bastards need to be defeated in an election asap. I doubt Iggy's Liberals will be as bad as the HarperCons if the Liberals somehow manage to eke out an electoral victory (although that looks unlikely right now).

remind remind's picture

Good points sean, and thank you for indicating that what is really needed is action of an immediate nature here at home, in this respect.

Your indication about it  not being charity, but our obligation, is a point that should be well taken.



One of the first acts of the Bush administration when it was elected to its first term in 2000-2001 was to do precisely this: ban foreign aid to family planning orgs that either advocated or provided abortion services.

One of the first acts of the Obama administration was to reverse the ban, back in Febrary 2009.

The Harper gov't has revealed itself to be a good decade behind the worst, most incompetent US administration since Andrew Jackson held office.  Keep up the good work guys.