It’s been 50 years since Andy Williams recorded the Christmas hit, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”. And, as Canadians get set to key it up once again, we learn this week that we have been given an early Christmas gift – a healthy dose of common sense from one of our elected representatives.
In what seems to be a pattern of independent thinking from Members of Parliament, Maurice Vellacott has announced today that he is filing two motions in advance of his name being added to the Order of Precedence some six weeks from now.
“We thank the Member from Saskatoon-Wanuskewin for responding to the call from the Canadian people to properly deal with the issue of pre-born human rights,” said Mike Schouten, director of WeNeedaLAW.ca.
“The mission of WeNeedaLAW.ca is to build support for legislation that protects children in the womb and to move us into line with every other democracy in the world,” said Schouten. “The motions Mr. Vellacott placed on the Order Paper echo a refrain we have been emphasizing for the past two years – first, that the Supreme Court of Canada has repeatedly and emphatically told us that Parliament should address legal protections for the pre-born child and second, that Canada is violating the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child, which our country ratified in 1991,” continued Schouten.
Mr. Vellacott’s first motion (M-482) reads:
That a special committee of the House be appointed to: (a) study the decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada since 1988 related to children before birth in order to understand what the Supreme Court has said about Parliament’s responsibility with respect to resolving public policy questions in this area; (b) propose options that the House and/or the government could take to address any negative impact these decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada may have had, directly or indirectly, on women, men, children and Canadian society.
“The Supreme Court justices of 1988 would never have anticipated a twenty-five year legal vacuum surrounding the rights of children before birth,” continued Schouten. “They struck down Canada’s abortion law on constitutional grounds, but were very clear that it was the mandate of Parliament to enact new laws protecting pre-born children. In fact, even Justice Bertha Wilson opined as to where protections should be placed when she said, ‘The precise point in the development of the fetus at which the state’s interest in its protection becomes compelling I leave to the informed judgment of the legislature which is in a position to receive guidance on the subject from all the relevant disciplines. It seem to me, however, that it might fall somewhere in the second trimester.’ In light of this judgement as well as more recent jurisprudence in this area it is entirely appropriate for Parliament to study the impact of the status quo.”
Vellacott’s second motion (M-483) states:
That a special committee of the House be appointed to determine what legal protections Canada ought to provide to children before birth, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Canada ratified in 1991, which states that “the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth.“
“Canada needs to adhere to the commitments we made when we signed this treaty. The lack of restrictions on abortion are not only an anomaly when compared with all other Western nations, this lack of legal protection is also an infringement on the rights of children as recognized by the United Nations,” concluded Schouten.