Quebec MP says Scheer won’t let MPs introduce abortion bills — but that’s not what he said

Click to play video: 'Andrew Scheer says he won’t ‘reopen’ abortion if elected'
Andrew Scheer says he won’t ‘reopen’ abortion if elected
WATCH: (May 17) Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer said on Friday he would not "reopen" the issue of abortion if he is elected prime minister in the 2019 federal election – May 17, 2019

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer and his Quebec lieutenant Alain Rayes have together released statements reaffirming the party’s position on abortion.

This, after Rayes, who represents the riding of Ricmond-Arthabaska, said Scheer would not permit any Conservative MPs to introduce an anti-abortion bill in Parliament.

WATCH: (May 9, 2018) Conservative MP says abortion ‘not a right’ during Question Period

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Conservative MP says abortion ‘not a right’ during Question Period

Rayes said this in a French interview with Le Journal de Montreal, which was published on Saturday.

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In the interview, Rayes said Scheer has confirmed that he “would not let one of his members present an anti-abortion bill.”

“Our opponents are looking to shore up their base using this issue, but on every occasion, our leader has been clear,” he added.

READ MORE: Scheer speech from 2005 unlikely to have much ballot box impact, political scientist says

As The Huffington Post reported, Rayes also admitted to telling candidates that MPs would not be allowed to raise abortion.

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Those remarks don’t accurately reflect what Scheer has said.

The Conservative leader has repeatedly said that his party would not re-open the debate on abortion if elected to government.

WATCH: (May 29) MPs (minus Tories) give standing ovation to motion affirming support for abortion rights

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MPs (minus Tories) give standing ovation to motion affirming support for abortion rights

However, when Scheer ran for the party leadership, he said that he would allow free votes by his members if they brought the issue forward.

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Scheer’s press secretary released a statement Tuesday, reaffirming the Conservative leader’s long-held public position.

“Andrew Scheer has been clear: a Conservative government will not re-open this debate,” the statement said.

Rayes released a similar statement, affirming that Scheer has “delivered that message to all candidates and caucus members who have asked.”

“The previous Conservative government was in power for 10 years, and there were no changes to the laws on this issue,” he said.

READ MORE: The House of Commons just gave a standing ovation for abortion rights — minus the Conservatives

The abortion issue has nevertheless followed Scheer — and his party — as the October election has drawn closer.

Liberal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale tweeted last week a video that showed Scheer speaking against same-sex marriage in the House of Commons, in 2005.

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“There is nothing more important to society than the raising of children, for its very survival requires it,” he said at the time.

“Homosexual unions are by nature contradictory to this.”

Scheer’s press secretary subsequently released a statement calling the video’s release “another desperation tactic from Justin Trudeau on the eve of an election to distract from his record of failure and incompetence.

“When this vote took place a decade and a half ago, Mr. Scheer voted the way several Liberals did, including some who currently sit in the Liberal caucus and are running for re-election.

“Mr. Scheer supports same-sex marriage as defined in law and as prime minister will, of course, uphold it.”

Even as the issue has followed his party, however, Scheer has moderated his position on same-sex marriage in recent years.

He supported at the 2016 Conservative Party convention a motion to remove the traditional definition of marriage from its policy book.

— With files from Hannah Jackson

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