Woodworth postpones vote on M-312
By Deborah Gyapong
Canadian Catholic News
OTTAWA (CCN) — Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth’s controversial private member’s motion M-312 has been postponed until the fall session because his mother has been gravely ill.
M-312, which calls for the creation of a parliamentary
committee to examine the Criminal Code’s definition of a human
being in light of the latest science and medical evidence, was supposed
to come to a vote on June 6.
When Woodworth traded his spot with a Liberal MP, dropping the M-312
motion to number 14 in order of precedence, some journalists speculated
he had done so for strategic reasons, to postpone a vote until the fall
But Woodworth said he had no strategy to keep the bill
alive for the summer. “It’s a fairly routine thing to switch places in
private member’s business,” he said.
He would not comment about whether there has been any pressure
from the Prime Minister’s Office on himself or those who would
support the motion from the Tory caucus.
The motion will now likely come to a vote in mid to late September, keeping
the debate alive over the summer break.
“Those who are not supporting the motion would have preferred to
have it dealt with more quickly than less quickly,” said Woodworth.
Pro-life organizations hope the delay will be fruitful.
“Hopefully, this postponement will give Canadians the opportunity
to send their members of Parliament the clear message that they want
the abortion debate opened and opened now,” said Catholic Organization
for Life and Family assistant director Peter Murphy. “The status
quo is intolerable.”
“Canada needs legislative reform as well as great cultural renewal,” he
said. “Not only do we need laws that will protect the lives of
the unborn; we also need publicly funded services that offer real alternatives
Campaign Life Coalition president Jim Hughes also welcomed
the opportunity for more time before a vote. “I can only expect the delay will
allow the forces time to marshal sufficient strength to make a ruckus
with all the members of Parliament while they are at home for the summer,” he
M-312 does not have the support of the government. When
it came up for its first hour of debate earlier this year, Chief Government
Whip Gordon O’Connor blasted the motion as an attempt to recriminalize
“Society has moved on and I don’t believe this proposal should
proceed,” he said.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has repeatedly said he would not allow the abortion debate to re-open and told the House of Commons it was “unfortunate” that the motion was deemed votable by an all-party committee that rules on private member’s business.