“I think it’s my responsibility that when constituents have issues they are concerned about and are willing to go to the length of creating and developing a petition, I feel it’s part of my job to see that everyone’s voice gets heard.”
<*R><BIt-5>— Brandon-Souris Conservative MP Merv Tweed
in an interview with the Brandon Sun
Whatever thoughts Merv Tweed may have regarding the abortion issue in Canada — he hasn’t come out either for or against it, publicly — he has proven himself to be a man of his word in this case.
On Monday, Tweed introduced a petition asking the federal government not to interfere with a woman’s right to choose.
“Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present, on behalf of constituents of Brandon-Souris and many others in western Manitoba, a petition respectfully requesting the house of Commons not to introduce any legislation that would restrict either the right or access to abortion services in Canada,” he told the House.
As the Winnipeg Free Press reported yesterday, that particular petition followed three prior petitions introduced in March and early May calling on the government to do just the opposite.
Previously, Tweed told the Sun that he has presented other petitions that ran counter to Conservative Party policy, such as ones in favour of the long-gun registry that was recently repealed.
Tweed’s presentation of these petitions came on the heels of a motion introduced earlier this year by Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth (Kitchener Centre), which seeks to have Parliament appoint a committee to reconsider when a fetus becomes a human being.
No doubt, the public debate will heat up as the motion moves closer to a free vote of Parliament, which could occur either later this month or potentially sometime in the fall.
Abortion remains a difficult issue for any federal politician to grapple with, as it will require balancing a decision of private conscience with the potential alienation of voting constituents on either side of the debate.
Of course, we remain curious about how Tweed will vote when the motion comes up, as do many others in the community it seems. But it should be noted that Tweed has attempted to fairly represent the diverse views that have come to his office.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 17, 2012