Conservatives support call to condemn sex-selective abortion, more divided on euthanasia

CALGARY – Conservatives have condemned the practice of sex-selective abortion at their party convention, a topic that stirred some controversy in Parliament last spring.

But they were more divided on the issue of euthanasia and assisted suicide, eventually passing a resolution that says the party will not support any legislation to legalize either practice.

A resolution that supports the full participation of women in society and “condemns discrimination against girls through gender selection” easily passed during a vote by about 1,000 Conservatives at the party’s convention on Saturday.

“Conservatives stand against all forms of discrimination against women and girls,” said Langley MP Mark Warawa, who has championed the issue for years.

“Right now in the world there are more than 200 million missing girls because of the practice of using ultrasounds to find out if it’s a boy or a girl. If it’s a girl the pregnancy ends.”

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The issue of gendercide took centre stage in March when Warawa was initially blocked by his party from speaking about it in the House of Commons.

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Conservative party voter Elizabeth Pratt from West Vancouver said she supported the motion because countries around the world have enacted similar policies.

“This unfair discrimination is an affront to the dignity and equality of women and girls. Female gendercide is recognized as a global epidemic,” she said.

“It is my hope my party will stand up for women’s rights.”

But another delegate spoke out against the motion, saying it could create a “fear” of abortion and could lead to the opposite problem of China, with too few men.

Take Vanpopta, president of the Langley Electoral District Association, said Conservatives recognize it is a “sensitive social issue.”

“Those types of issues are not resolved by legislation but only by changing people’s hearts and minds,” he said. “Public policy follows public opinion.”

But the vote was tighter – 615 in support of not legalizing assisted suicide, and 502 against – on the issue of euthanasia.

“Do not support this motion, the courts are going to deal with it unless government takes a stand,” one delegate said.

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But another said she feared the power such a practice would give to doctors: “Do you want your physician to be granted the power to cause your death?”

Delegates also passed motions to do greater transparency about union donations, for consecutive sentences for violent crimes and to allow faith-based organizations to refuse to rent their facilities without fear of sanctions or harassment.

The resolutions are proposed by electoral associations across the country but does not necessarily mean they will make it into government policy or legislation

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