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Bill C-13 The Vote.

Catholic Insight Staff

On January 17, 2003, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), issued a Doctrinal Note on some question regarding the participation of Catholics in political life. Section 2. b starts as follows:

"A kind of cultural relativism exists today, evident in the conceptualization and defence of an ethical pluralism, which sanctions the decadence and disintegration of reason and the principles of the natural moral law."

Well, you may say, that's quite a mouthful. So let's parse the sentence.

It speaks first about a kind of cultural relativism. This, in turn, leads to the idea of "ethical pluralism." That, in its turn, ratifies the disintegration of (human) reason, and with it the decay of the principles of the natural moral law. And all this comes under the heading of "Catholics in politics". So what does it mean?

"Catholics in politics" are first of all our Catholic Members of Parliament. The first question that confronts them is: Are you going to vote according to your conscience informed by the teaching of Christianity, or will you be--what is today called--"politically correct?" Everyone knows what being "politically correct" means: You will not vote according to your informed conscience but will go along with whatever your leader and the party tells you to do. If that goes against your own belief and conscience, too bad! You just have to close the eyes of your heart and mind and hope for the best.

Let us not discuss the various ways in which the Prime Minister can coerce the members of his caucus to vote according to his wishes; suffice it to say, these are numerous. The most brutal one is to deny a free vote and threaten dissenters with expulsion from the caucus. Jean Chretien has done this over 100 times since 1993; the latest one occurred at the end of March 2003, on the gun control legislation.

One may have strong opinions for or against gun control, but in the end this question does not pertain to absolute moral values. That's the difference with Bill C-13, an Act Respecting Assisted Reproduction Technologies. Bill C-13 does pertain to absolute values because it deals with the beginning of human life, and whether to protect this life or destroy it for one or other reason such as medical research. Catholic Insight has explained this all in detail in editorials and in News in Brief (see "A litmus test." "To all members of parliament," May 2002, p.3).

Vote I

On March 26, 2003, the House of Commons voted on the amendment to prohibit all cloning. Proposed by Paul Szabo, a Liberal MP, it got the support of a number of Liberals and passed by a 112-101 vote. Note, however, that all cabinet members present voted against, including Catholics such as Augustine, Bevilacqua, Boudria, Coderre, Copps, Dion, Goodale, MacAulay, Pagtakhan, Pettigrew, Robillard, Rock and Whelan. Also nonCabinet Catholics voted against the amendment such as Belanger, Cullen, Eggleton, Fry, Janno, Keith Martin and Sgro.

Vote II

Nota bene

The next vote was on amendment 17 by Alliance member Jason Kenney to prohibit research on embryonic stem cells. As we have explained, this "research" is in fact the killing of individual human lives. This amendment was defeated 149-60. Among those Catholics who helped defeat it were all the names mentioned above, plus some others such as Bachand, Belair, Bellemare, Marleau, Murphy (PEI), Parrish, Proulx, Provenzano. As we do not know every member who is Catholic, there may be others as well.

Please note that Health Minister Anne McLellan's critique stated that Motion 17 would "prohibit all embryo research and could have the effect of prohibiting abortion in Canada up until the 56th day of a pregnancy." In other words, all the above Catholics voted to keep abortion. Some collection of Catholics! They should all be defeated in the next election.

Vote II once more

The 60 members who approved Jason Kenney's motion included the bulk of the Alliance Party (minus Keith Martin, the pro-abortion Catholic from Esquimalt), plus the following Liberals: Guarnieri, Lincoln, McTeague, O'Brien, Peric, Peschisolido, Steckle, Szabo, Ur and Wappel. These MPs, but especially the Liberals who followed their conscience against the wishes of Mr Chretien, should be supported in the next election.

For the full vote results of the motions voted on to date see lifesite:
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Publication:Catholic Insight
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:May 1, 2003
Previous Article:Bill C-13 death-dealing research.
Next Article:Our lost morality.

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