What Happened to Motion 408 and Why it Matters: A Summary

What Happened to Motion 408, Why It Matters,

and What it Means for the Abortion Debate in Federal Politics

  By Rebecca Richmond

 Introduction

Although  Motion 408 wrapped up in the spring and we are approaching fall, people are still curious about the fate of the motion.  I make this mostly unsubstantiated assertion based on the fact that it still comes up in conversation.  

 This interest is heartening because regardless of whether your interest in Canadian politics tends towards compulsively checking Twitter feeds, reading Hansard and watching CPAC or whether it tends to be more limited (and you have no idea what Hansard or CPAC is), the fact remains that what happened this spring with Motion 408 was important.  But, surrounded by parliamentary procedure and committees, not to mention the question of privilege and the Liberal motion concerning S.O. 31s, it can be a bit confusing.   Even friends and colleagues who had followed the issue to a certain extent were asking for explanations. 

 I looked for a summary of the situation and, not finding one, began to write.  What was originally intended to be a simple blog post turned into a series of posts and then was never posted at all.  I decided that it was too late and retired the document to a folder of drafts.

 But people continued asking about it and, so, upon request, it was emailed to a few friends.  More requests resulted in it being made more public.  So enjoy!

To open the article, click here.

 

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Urgent Action Required: Wednesday is the M408 Appeal!

The appeal for Mr. Warawa’s appeal to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (PROC) has been announced for this Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. EST.  It is critical that our voices are heard as the committee prepares to meet.  Our elected representatives need to know that we care not only about gendercide, but also about the democratic principles that were called into question this past Thursday when the sub-committee deemed Motion 408 non-votable.

If you have already sent some emails and used Twitter to voice your concerns, thank you – keep it up!  If you haven’t yet, please do so tonight or tomorrow (Tuesday).  There are some great tools you can use to do this quickly and easily.

Some key ways that YOU can help:

1. Email the members of PROC to express your concern.  You can find a list of the members and their emails below, or, use the great SimpleMail tool available from our friends at WeNeedALaw.  With a few clicks you can email all 12 members of the committee (plus your own MP and the Prime Minister).

 

Joe Preston – joe.preston@parl.gc.ca

Alexandrine Latendresse – Alexandrine.Latendresse@parl.gc.ca

Dominic LeBlanc  – dominic.leblanc@parl.gc.ca

Scott Armstrong – scott.armstrong@parl.gc.ca

Nathan Cullen – nathan.cullen@parl.gc.ca

Parm Gill – Parm.Gill@parl.gc.ca

Tom Lukiwski – tom.lukiwski@parl.gc.ca

Dave MacKenzie – dave.mackenzie@parl.gc.ca

Costas Menegakis – Costas.Menegakis@parl.gc.ca

Scott Reid – scott.reid@parl.gc.ca

Craig Scott – craig.scott@parl.gc.ca

Nycole Turmel – Nycole.Turmel@parl.gc.ca

 

2. Use Twitter to indicate your concern to these MPs.  Their twitter handles are listed below:

@CraigScottNDP (on the sub-committee that blocked M408)

@nathancullen

 

@NycoleTurmelNPD

@Armstrong_MP (on the sub-committee that blocked M408)

@ParmGill

@TomLukiwski

@CostasMenegakis

@ScottReidCPC (on the subcommittee that blocked M408)

 Don’t forget to tweet @pmharper (Prime Minister Harper) as well and use the #M408 hashtag!

*N.B. If you join Twitter specifically for M408, that’s great.  Be aware, though, that ‘mentioning’ or ‘tagging’ a lot of people immediately upon getting a Twitter account will probably result in your account being suspended (it will think you are a spammer).  Ease into it with a few general tweets and a few mentions before you get right into it.   And don’t forget to follow @NCLN and @NCLNwestern on Twitter!

Can’t think of a tweet? A few suggestions here.

3. Contact your own MP and the Prime Minister’s office. 613.992.4211.

Let them know you are calling in regards to Motion 408.  When you are directed to a voice mail system, leave a polite message with your name.  

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Press Release: Canadian Students Dismayed at M408 Being Deemed Non-Votable

Press Release

CANADIAN STUDENTS DISMAYED AT M408 BEING DEEMED NON-VOTABLE

OTTAWA, ON (March 22 2013) – Canadian students are expressing their dismay with yesterday’s decision that deemed Motion 408 to be non-votable.  This motion, brought forward by Langley MP Mark Warawa, consists of one sentence and calls on Parliament to condemn discrimination against girls occurring through sex-selective pregnancy termination.

Mr. Warawa has called the decision made by the subcommittee of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs “shocking and undemocratic”.  A Library of Parliament analyst clearly and repeatedly explained that the motion was fully compatible with the criteria for votability.

“All too often, we have seen students silenced on university campuses when exploring controversial topics,” states Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director of the National Campus Life Network (NCLN). “It is baffling that Parliament would appear to be experiencing similar problems, especially when the motion at hand is a simple affirmation of a core Canadian value, that is, the equality of girls and boys.”

Students in pro-life clubs across the country have been involved with a national campus campaign this semester, coordinated and promoted through NCLN. This campaign has included screenings of the award-winning documentary “It’s a Girl”, presentations at B.C. universities by Mr. Warawa, as well as the distribution of information, collection of petitions, and other activities focused on raising awareness about gendercide and supporting M408.

“I have personally met a student who survived gendercide abroad,” remarks Anastasia Pearse, who coordinated west coast campus activities with NCLN.  “To scuttle the motion in this way is an affront not only to the victims of gendercide – an estimated 200 million worldwide – but also to the dignity of all women in Canada.”

Mr. Warawa has initiated an appeal of the decision, which he will take “as far as necessary.”

“We hope that Mr. Warawa’s appeal will be successful so that parliamentarians will have the opportunity to send a strong message about female equality in our country and abroad,” continues Ms. Richmond.  “92% of Canadians think sex-selective abortion should be illegal.  For our government to do anything less than condemn this discriminatory practice would be disgraceful.”

-30-

 

For further comment, please contact:

Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director, National Campus Life Network, director@ncln.ca, 416 388 0461.

Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator, National Campus Life Network, westerncanada@ncln.ca, 604 365 3484.

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Petition Drive to Support M408 – Make Sure Your Petitions Count!

 

Protect Girls

One incredibly important way to support Motion 408 is to collect signatures for the petition in favour of the Motion. There are specific rules in place concerning petitions which, if not followed, would result in signed petitions being rejected by the Clerk of Petitions. As such we urge you to be aware of the rules and to use the official petition from Mark Warawa’s website.

According to the Parliament of Canada website:

• The text of a petition must not be altered either by erasing or crossing out words or by adding words or commentary. Any alteration will make the petition unacceptable.

• A petition must be free of any other matter attached or appended to or written or printed on the petition, whether in the form of additional documents, maps, pictures, logos, news articles, explanatory or supporting statements, or requests for support. A petition printed on the reverse of a document (for example a newsletter or a Member’s Householder or Ten Percenter) is not acceptable.

• If a petition is composed of more than one sheet of signatures and addresses, the subject-matter of the petition must be indicated on every sheet.

• A petition should contain signatures of residents of Canada only. Persons not resident in Canada cannot petition the House of Commons of Canada. A petition signed exclusively by non-resident persons is not acceptable.

• There is no minimum age requirement for anyone signing a petition.

• Each petitioner must sign, not print, his or her own name directly on the petition and must not sign for anyone else. If a petitioner cannot sign because of illness or a disability, this must be noted on the petition and the note signed by a witness.

• A petition must contain original signatures written directly on the document and not pasted, taped, photocopied or otherwise transferred to it.

• Some signatures and addresses must appear on the first sheet with the text of the petition. Signatures and addresses may appear on the reverse of the petition.

• The address may either be the petitioner’s full home address, or the city and province, or the province and postal code. As with the signature, the address must be written directly on the document and not pasted, taped, photocopied or otherwise transferred to it. The inclusion of other contact information (such are telephone numbers or email addresses) is permitted but not required. 

Also, be aware that a petition cannot be presented in the House unless it has 25 signatures (which, for Mr. Warawa’s petition, would consist of 5 pages with 5 signatures each). Please still send in your petitions even if you’re short a few signatures. The MP can hold onto it until enough additional signatures come in and then group them together.

So go print off copies of the petition and get started!

 

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uOttawa Students For Life: DefendGirls

This post was written for uOttawa Students For Life by uOttawa Students For Life. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

by Kate

DefendGirls is a new campaign to provide information and raise awareness about sex-selective abortion. I recommend taking a look at the DefendGirls Facebook page or at the website defendgirls.ca. The site offers information about the issue and about Motion 408, the motion recently filed in the House of Commons asking parliamentarians to condemn sex-selective abortions as discrimination against girls. The site also provides suggestions and links for further action and has a very interesting blog. DefendGirls stickers, postcards, business cards and t-shirts can be purchased through the NCLN website.

DefendGirls

 


Read the comments at the uOttawa Students For Life website.