Heading into October’s election, what the ailing Ontario Liberals really need is an issue they can use to drive a wedge between voters frustrated with the last eight years and the Tories. And if that issue should also happen to remind people that Stephen Harper now has a majority in Ottawa and that there’s not much to constrain a right-leaning government in Queen’s Park, that would be even better for the Grits. So it was probably inevitable that we’d start hearing about abortion sometime this summer.
Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak admits he “may have” signed a petition calling for the end to abortion funding in the past but promises not to reopen the debate if elected premier.
Hudak was responding to questions from the Star Monday regarding the Association for Reformed Political Action group listing him as someone who has “made it clear that he is pro-life and has signed petitions calling for abortion defunding and conscience legislation.”
Hudak said he will follow Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s lead and not revisit the abortion issue if he becomes premier Oct. 6.
Hudak signed the petition in question during the 2009 PC leadership race, so his statement now that he’s not going to reopen the debate really amounts to him telling social conservatives, “Hey, what did you expect? I wanted your votes.” Not that disillusioned social conservatives in Ontario are going to flock to the Liberal banner anytime soon. If last year’s sex-ed fiasco hadn’t turned them off, the government’s promise that Catholic schools will be forced to allow gay students to organize something like gay-straight-alliances probably did. So we doubt Hudak has much to worry about among social conservatives. We’ll have to see if the Liberals manage to pick up some nervous votes in the middle.