Greens cry foul over NDP leaflet distributed to southern Vancouver Island homes

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      According to the federal New Democrats, the Greens won't oppose austerity budgets that cut services to families in need.

      An NDP pamphlet distributed on southern Vancouver Island this week also purported that the Greens share the fiscal conservatism of Andrew Scheer's Conservatives.

      But what's riled the Greens the most is the claim that Green candidates will not always defend the right of access to safe abortion.

      Green candidates, including Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke's David Merner, have accused the NDP of spreading lies.

      "This is not how we should be doing politics in 2019," Merner said over Twitter. "So I ask all of you who received this message to talk to your friends and your neighbours, especially those you think are going to vote NDP, and say the NDP should not be spreading lies about Elizabeth May and the Green party."

      Merner quoted Michelle Obama in saying "when they go low, we should go high."

      The Greens' most famous supporter, Ladysmith-born actor and former Playboy playmate Pamela Anderson, also condemned the NDP over the pamphlet.

      "It reminded me of kind of this nasty kind of American style politics. I mean, that's what I like about the Green party," Anderson said. "They don't get into these kind of smear campaigns attacking people's character."

      On October 11, May paid a visit to Clinic 554 in Fredericton, which is about to be closed.

      It's the only private abortion clinic in New Brunswick and it can't continue providing services because the provincial government won't provide funding.

      "And we say 'yes' to making sure that abortion access is legal and available everywhere across Canada—and [to] the facilities and the doctors here who help LGBTQ+ community members access the essential medical services they need," May said.

      She described the closure as "cruelty".

      "The federal government does have a role," May insisted. "The Canada Health Act makes clear it's the job of the federal minister of health to ensure that across this country, universal, single-payer health care is available for all who need it. That includes abortion access."

      The pamphlet conveys an impression that the Greens have more in common with the Conservatives than the New Democrats.

      May also said that the day after the election, the Greens "will push to ensure emergency federal bridge financing while we renegotiate all the health accord with all the provinces and territories to ensure that universal single payer health care is improved across Canada—including the medical needs of the LGBTQ-two-spirit plus community are met and that women across this country have abortion access everywhere and that is understood to be part of our health care system. and no one can push it outside and close and bolt the doors". 

      The Green Party of Canada insisted in a statement to CBC in early September that its policy has always been that "all women must have timely access to safe, legal abortions".

      "Although the leader does not have the power to whip votes, all Green Party members of Parliament must endorse the Green Party's values, including a firm support of a woman's right to choose. There is zero chance an elected representative of our party will ever reopen the abortion debate."

      In 2011, May outlined her views on abortion in a videotaped interview with the Straight. (See below.)

      Video: In 2011, Elizabeth May told them Georgia Straight journalist Stephen Hui that she has always been pro-choice.

      Despite the Greens' protests, a former leader of the B.C. Greens, Stuart Parker, has written a lengthy blog post suggesting that May is actually dog-whistling to anti-abortionists for their votes.

      First off, Parker pointed out that there's nothing in the Greens' constitution outlawing whipped votes in Parliament.

      "Second, one of the reasons this prohibition of whipped votes does not appear in the Green Party’s constitution is that it would be unconstitutional, and consequently unenforceable even if it were," Parker added. "As a lawyer, May knows this. The constitution of the corporation of a party cannot interfere with the supremacy of parliament or with the ability of MPs to choose with whom they caucus."

      Yet the Greens say they can't whip votes. According to leader Elizabeth May, that's as a result of a member-driven resolution at a Green party policy convention.

      Moreover, Parker noted that two anti-abortion Green candidates are running in 2019.

      One of them, Mark Vercouteren, was on the slate in 2015. The second, Macarena Diab, is a first-time candidate.

      Parker claimed that the real agenda is to send a message that a Green MP could reopen the debate on abortion in Parliament—something all other party leaders, including the Conservatives' Andrew Scheer, won't permit (with the exception of People's Party of Canada's Max Bernier).

      "If Green Party members, candidates and supporters want to stop these insinuations that they are pursuing a dangerous agenda putting millions of women’s human rights and bodies at risk, the solution is clear: don’t call me," Parker concluded. "Call Elizabeth May and tell her that women’s bodily autonomy and integrity is just as meriting of caucus discipline as Canada’s territorial integrity, or, ideally, much more so."