By Joanna Smith, The Canadian Press
The abortion issue has been getting renewed attention ahead of the October election, which could be one way the political conversation in the United States is flowing across the border — sometimes, with a little help from the Liberals.
Green party Leader Elizabeth May raised eyebrows on Monday when she told the CBC she would not whip votes or try to prevent anyone in her caucus from putting forward legislation on the issue, despite personally believing women should have access to safe and legal abortions.
That is in line with party policy, but then the Greens clarified that all candidates running under their banner are required to support abortion rights.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was also pushed to clarify his stance last month after it emerged that his Quebec lieutenant, Alain Rayes, had told candidates in the province that backbench MPs would not be allowed to bring forward any bills or motions on abortion.
That goes against party policy, which created confusion until Scheer, a practising Catholic who has voted in favour of restricting abortion rights in the past, said he would oppose any attempt to reopen the debate should he become prime minister.
Elections always see advocacy groups on both sides of the issue trying to bring abortion into the conversation and this one is no exception.
RightNow, an anti-abortion group, has said it is working to deliver 50 federal ridings to candidates it believes side with them on the issue.
On the other side, Action Canada for Sexual Health & Rights launched a campaign called “The Personal is STILL Political” that encourages voters to ask candidates about where they stand on everything from barriers to abortion access on First Nations reserves to sex education in schools.
Still, the abortion issue is now being talked about by national leaders, which is a bit more unexpected.