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Liberals unmask Conservative agenda: Harper will turn back the clock on women’s rights

Posted on April 21, 2011

OTTAWA – A recording obtained by the Liberal Party confirms the Harper Conservatives’ plan to defund Planned Parenthood and turn back the clock on women’s rights, Liberals charged today.

“Mr. Harper’s actions speak louder than his weak denials that he supports women’s right to choose,” said Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff. “After leaving Planned Parenthood’s funding in limbo for nearly two years – and with Conservative candidate Brad Trost’s admission yesterday – there can be no question of Mr. Harper’s true intentions.

“Everyone who cares about women’s rights has to rise up to stop Mr. Harper,” he added. “Let there be no doubt: Liberals will always defend women’s rights – including a woman’s right to choose – and we’re calling on progressive Canadians to choose a Liberal government to guarantee their protection.”

Conservative candidate for Saskatoon-Humboldt Brad Trost, in a recording of a speech to Saskatchewan’s Pro-Life Association, thanked its members for their role in defunding Planned Parenthood, and called on them to remain vigilant.  Planned Parenthood has been waiting almost two years for approval of an $18-million grant without explanation – effectively leaving them cutting them off.

The Liberal Party’s Women’s Caucus Chair Lise Zarac said Mr. Trost’s admission runs contrary to repeated claims made by International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda that the decision to defund the International Planned Parenthood Federation was not ideological. Successive Liberal and Conservative governments have funded Planned Parenthood for 40 years.

“Conservatives reveal their true intentions behind closed doors and hope that it never sees the light of day,” said Ms. Zarac. “With Mr. Trost’s admission that the pro-life movement directly influenced the Conservatives’ decision to defund this organization, it should be clear to everyone that Mr. Harper’s Reform-Conservative base is determined to impose their agenda on mainstream Canada.”

Anita Neville, the party’s spokeswoman for Status of Women, said other groups have also seen examples of this, such as KAIROS.

“The Conservatives have cut off funding to other programs that don’t meet their ideological social agenda,” said Ms. Neville. “In Harper’s Canada, ideology takes precedent over facts and evidence when it comes to women’s rights – and Mr. Trost’s speech is proof that they are secretly re-shaping this country in their own image.”

“Stephen Harper is putting the health and well-being of women and children around the world in jeopardy by changing Canada’s long-standing position,” concluded Mr. Ignatieff. “Canadians now know Mr. Harper’s true intentions before they go to the polls on May 2.”

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