Pro-life MP to PMO: we owe you flowers

Conservative MP Brad Trost rises in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Thursday February 17, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA – Pro-life Conservative MP Brad Trost has a message to the Prime Minister’s Office: thanks.

After all, Trost said, shutting down fellow Conservative MP Mark Warawa’s freedom to talk about his sex-selective abortion motion has drawn more attention to the issue – not less.

“We should send a big bouquet of roses straight over to PMO,” said Trost, MP for Saskatoon-Humboldt.

“If they want to keep this issue quiet, they’ve done anything but.”

The Prime Minister’s Office wouldn’t comment on Trost’s remarks specifically. “That being said, the Prime Minister has always been clear the government will not reopen this debate,” said spokesman Carl Vallee.

On Tuesday afternoon following question period, Speaker Andrew Scheer is expected to rule on the issue of freedom of speech in Parliament, after Warawa formally complained a month ago that he had been denied the privilege of making a statement in the House by the Tory whip.

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The subject of that statement was Warawa’s motion on “sex-selective pregnancy termination” – leading the opposition and others to accuse the Conservatives of re-opening the abortion debate.

And whether Warawa was or not, the discussion is out there now.

“One of the ironies is, the more they clamp down on Mark the more it’s talked about,” said Trost.

Although Warawa has always contended his motion was about discrimination of females and has since dropped it altogether, the legacy of his complaint has spurred talk of a backbench rebellion in the Conservative caucus, with 11 Tories supporting him in Parliament.

Trost, who is a member along with 20 or so Conservative MPs in the informal pro-life caucus, said he warned Warawa as he was crafting the motion that it could be contentious.

“I told him when he was first talking about that, I said, ‘Look Mark, it never matters what the proposer wants it to be about. It’s what everyone else makes it to be,’” he said.

“I think he sort of viewed this at first as some sort of common ground place we could build off and have an honest discussion.”

Trost said both Warawa and Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth, who previously proposed a motion to study when life begins, did not see the issues as potentially controversial.

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“They actually thought these could be sort of bridge consensual items. They didn’t view them as polarizing,” said Trost.

“We’ve got it to a point where we have talked about it.”

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