Posts Tagged ‘Prince Edward Island’
The Liberal Party of Canada is back in power after a 9-year absence during the reign of the Harper Government. For the first time in 11 years, the Liberals have a majority government.
Canadians had the longest campaign — 78 days — in modern political history. The country wanted change, but had to decide between Tom Mulcair of the NDP or the Liberals’ Justin Trudeau. Though Mulcair and the NDP had the early edge, perhaps they got a little cocky. Trudeau took awhile to find his voice, but once he did, the Liberals rose in the polls.
Stephen Harper wanted nothing to do with the English language broadcast consortium debate. Tom Mulcair took the Conservative bait and said he wouldn’t be there if Harper wasn’t showing up. Mulcair made that decision when the NDP was doing well. By the time of the scheduled debate (which wasn’t cancelled), the NDP was in 3rd place. A chance to debate with all the non-Conservatives would have been valuable.
There were more debates than usual: 4 instead of 2. But that 5th debate would have helped the NDP.
Here are links to our 2015 Canadian election coverage courtesy of our sister blog, CanadianCrossing.com.
We will have at least one more provincial election in 2014, the regularly scheduled election in New Brunswick on September 22. We might have a key issue in New Brunswick with a topic that rarely comes up in Canadian political circles these days: abortion.
New Brunswick is pretty spread out as a province. Prince Edward Island is pretty far away, even from Fredericton.
The Morgentaler Clinic was the only private clinic in New Brunswick, with no private clinics in Prince Edward Island, to offer abortions. The clinic closes its doors tomorrow.
Those who go to the Morgentaler Clinic have to pay for the abortions. The clinic had been subsidizing abortions but could no longer stay afloat financially.
Under the law in New Brunswick, a woman who wants an abortion covered by medicare must have 2 doctors certify in writing that the procedure is medically necessary and the abortion must be done by an obstetrician/gynecologist in approved hospitals (one each in Moncton and Bathurst).
(Moncton is in southeastern New Brunswick on the Bay of Fundy; Bathurst is in northeastern New Brunswick near Quebec on Chaleur Bay.)
Many of the clinic’s patients came from Prince Edward Island. The provincial government claim no doctors in the province will do abortions; the province sends women to a hospital in Halifax provided they have a referral from their family doctor.
Distance. Money. Time. All these factors make getting an abortion in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island difficult, even with the clinic.
Where we are now in Fredericton
The Progressive Conservatives, under Premier David Alward, have a considerable advantage in the legislature. The PCs have 41 seats, the Liberals have 13 seats, with 1 Independent MLA.
While the New Brunswick legislature currently has 55 seats, the parties will be vying for 49 seats in the September election.
On the surface, the PCs shouldn’t have a concern. Sure the economy isn’t great in the province, but the Liberals have a lot of ground to make up to get enough MLAs for a majority. The NDP don’t even have a seat currently in Fredericton.
Brian Gallant (Liberal) and Dominic Cardy (NDP) don’t have much of a chance to be the next New Brunswick premier. The timing of the election and the abortion issue could shake up the makeup of the New Brunswick legislature.
Gallant has said a Liberal government would “move swiftly to address this issue in a comprehensive way, once and for all, and ensure we are respecting a woman’s right to choose.”
Gallant knows the Liberals are in a tough situation. Be too specific and risk losing votes. But voters need to know that the situation will improve for women if the party gains power in Fredericton.
Of the 55 current MLAs in the legislature, 7 of them are women.
Where we will be in September
The federal fight over abortion, while not as loud these days, focuses on federal Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau, whose position is that the party and its MPs be pro-choice, and federal Conservative backbenchers, who would love to make abortion more difficult nationwide.
New Brunswick isn’t concerned with what happens on the federal level. However, even conservatives in New Brunswick will have to recognize that the loss of the Morgentaler Clinic is a political issue in September.
The Maritimes are a conservative place, especially on abortion. The Morgentaler Clinic was a beacon of hope in women’s health care. And now it’s gone. But it could be the start of a movement to bring the region in line with the rest of Canada.
This is a political issue until September 22. No matter which party wins that day, abortion rights will still be a health care and economic concern in New Brunswick.