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One body. One person. One count.
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sparqui
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:15 am    Post subject: One body. One person. One count. Reply with quote

This group has quite a few keen legal minds who I hope will be just as appalled with this sneak attack on women's reproductive rights.

The NDP and Bloc are likely to whip their members to vote against MP Epp's Private Member Bill (C-484) Unborn Victims of Crime Act, which basically amounts to giving the fetus the status of a person.

This is an attempt to gain a foothold in legally challenging our current reproductive rights. The current laws more than adequately cover the added trauma of causing a miscarriage in the course of committing a violent crime.

This proposed law does nothing to protect women, pregnant or not, from the threat of domestic violence (the most common cause of homicide against women). The reasons given for this bill are wrapped in sentimentality and are wholly disingenuous. Those who would like to re-introduce the whole life begins at conception argument are exploiting women and their families who have been victims of violent crime.

Here is the petition to oppose this bill:

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/oppose-bill-c-484.html

Here are the talking points that give a good overview of the implications of this bill:

http://www.arcc-cdac.ca/action/unborn-victims-act.htm

And here is a link to information regarding the grassroots campaign, One body. One person. One count., that is encouraging people to write letters, blog and raise awareness:

http://breadnroses.ca/birthpangs/?p=391
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TS.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 5:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a dangerous attempt to curtail women's rights. This is no different than attempts in the US to make it a crime to harm a foetus. I can only hope there are enough Liberals with some semblance of a conscience left that will vote against this bill to kill it at second reading.
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Hephaestion
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I can only hope there are enough Liberals with some semblance of a conscience left


Hardy-HAR-har. Very funny. Eh?
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TS.
Delicious schadenfreude


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hephaestion wrote:
Quote:
I can only hope there are enough Liberals with some semblance of a conscience left


Hardy-HAR-har. Very funny. Eh?

Well, I have to hope that. Otherwise this bill passes, and the rollback starts.
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sparqui
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I made sure to write to Dion and cc my MP. I don't want to see this go through just because a bunch of MPs think it's just another goofy private member bill and decide to do a long lunch.

I know that in general, private member bills rarely get passed but they usually fall off the table earlier than this.
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sparqui
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

***BUMP***

Dion's office has responded with a form letter (and I'm hoping that is because so many people sent letters of concern):

Quote:

On behalf of the Honourable Stéphane Dion, we would like to acknowledge receipt and thank you for taking the time and effort to send your correspondence.

It is an extraordinary feature of our democracy that there exist clear lines of contact between ourselves and our elected representatives. However, this freedom does not come without limitations. Due to the high volume of correspondence that we receive, in some cases where a detailed response is needed, it may take some time to reply.

Mr. Dion always appreciates hearing from Canadians and being made aware of their views. Be assured that the concerns you have raised in your letter have been reviewed and noted.

We are confident that working together, we will achieve Stéphane Dion’s vision for Canada.


Sincerely,
The Office of the Honourable Stéphane Dion
Leader of the Official Opposition
Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada

___________________________________________________________________________

Au nom de l’Honorable Stéphane Dion, nous vous remercions d’avoir pris le temps de nous écrire.

Un des outils extraordinaires de notre démocratie est la ligne de communication directe que nous avons avec nos représentants politiques. Mais cette liberté ne va pas sans contraintes. L’une d’elles est l’énorme volume de correspondance que nous recevons, qui fait que lorsqu’une réponse détaillée est requise, il se peut que des délais se produisent.

M. Dion tient beaucoup à connaître les points de vue des Canadiens et à recevoir leurs commentaires et leurs opinions. Croyez bien que les commentaires que vous venez de porter à son attention seront pris en considération.

Nous sommes confiants qu’en travaillant ensemble, nous parviendrons à réaliser les grandes ambitions de Stéphane Dion pour le Canada.


Sincèrement,

L’équipe de l’Honorable Stéphane Dion
Chef de l’Opposition Officielle
Chef du Parti libéral du Canada

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sparqui
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

******URGENT*****

The HoC's just voted for Bill C-484 and it narrowly passed and will now go to the Justice and Human Right Committee for review.

It seem that there were a few CPC members who voted against this dangerous bill (it doesn't afford pregnant women of violence any more protection under the law and is just a sleazy way of trying to re-open the legal definition of human life). There were too many Liberals that voted for it and too many absent including Dion. The NDP said they would whip the vote but at least one NDP member (Peter Stoffer) voted in support.

The only party that seemed to unanimously reject this bill was the Bloc, with MP Gravel (a RC priest) leading the charge when the bill was up for discussion.

This is disgusting and I hope EM members who care about reproductive rights help make sure this bill doesn't pass a 3rd reading. I will see if I can get a list of MPs to target.

In the meantime, here are two updated blogs on the issue (and well worth reading):

Bill C-484 - Damn! We have work to do
http://inthehouseandsenate.blogspot.com/

The thin grey line
http://thegallopingbeaver.blogspot.com/2008/03/thin-grey-line.html
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Tehanu
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WHAT????!!!

Is this the first reading, Sparqui? (Sometimes bills get rubber-stamped for first readings, sent to committee, then die there. Still, it should have been killed deader than a doornail.)
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TS.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, this was second reading. Second reading is the first time the bill is actually voted on, and constitutes an "approval in principle" stage. Then it goes to committee. Most private members business never makes it out of committee if it gets there in the first place.

I really hope Stoffer is disciplined for this.
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Tehanu
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stoffer should definitely be disciplined for this. What the hell?

(Thanks for the correction, TS.)
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unionist
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why would Stoffer be disciplined?

This obviously couldn't have been a whipped vote.

The NDP didn't consider it important enough to mention on its website.

Hey, if this were about cracking down on crime, or catching youth having sex, I could see the whip come out...
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sparqui
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're right about not a single word being posted on the NDP web site about this. Not sure how the other opposition parties compare.
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TS.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anyone who is interested might want to contact the members of the Justice and Human Rights Committee and let them know you want this bill squashed pronto.

You can find a full list of members (along with a rather lengthy list of "associate members" (who I think are just MPs who have stood in for an absent member at some point and are probably not worth e-mailing on the issue) at this site. Click on their names for their MP profile, and an e-mail address.
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DSquared
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 3:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TS. wrote:
I really hope Stoffer is disciplined for this.


How long will it take to find that out?
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TS.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DSquared wrote:
TS. wrote:
I really hope Stoffer is disciplined for this.


How long will it take to find that out?

I don't know. The last time an NDP MP was disciplined was Bill Siksay when he had the courage to vote against the omnibus crime bill, and we only found out about that when he made it known himself. He wasn't stripped of his critic positions, so there was nothing changing about that on the NDP website. I suspect the only way we will find out if Stoffer is disciplined will be if he says something about it, because I don't imagine the NDP will discipline him more severely than Siksay, given that when Siksay broke ranks he did it on a high profile piece of legislation.
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Tehanu
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 3:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Long post, sorry. Something weird, a quick look doesn't show Dion, either voting or paired. Anyone spot others missing? Quite a few people don't seem to have been there.

Here's the Hansard voting record.

Quote:
Pursuant to Standing Order 93(1), the House proceeded to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion of Mr. Epp (Edmonton—Sherwood Park), seconded by Mr. Van Kesteren (Chatham-Kent—Essex), — That Bill C-484, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (injuring or causing the death of an unborn child while committing an offence), be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

The question was put on the motion and it was agreed to on the following division:

[vote YEAS: 147, NAYS: 132]

Accordingly, Bill C-484, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (injuring or causing the death of an unborn child while committing an offence), was read the second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.


VOTES:

In favour:

Abbott
Ablonczy
Albrecht
Allen
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Arthur
Baird
Batters
Benoit
Bezan
Blackburn
Blaney
Bonin
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannis
Carrie
Casson
Chan
Chong
Clement
Comuzzi
Cullen (Etobicoke North)
Cummins
Davidson
Day
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dhaliwal
Doyle
Dykstra
Emerson
Epp
Fast
Finley
Fitzpatrick
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Guarnieri
Guergis
Hanger
Harper
Harris
Harvey
Hawn
Hearn
Hiebert
Hill
Hinton
Hubbard
Jaffer
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Karygiannis
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Khan
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Lee
Lemieux
Lukiwski
Lunn
Lunney
MacAulay
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Malhi
Maloney
Manning
Mark
Mayes
McGuire
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
McTeague
Menzies
Merrifield
Miller
Mills
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Nicholson
Norlock
Obhrai
Oda
Pacetti
Paradis
Petit
Poilievre
Prentice
Preston
Rajotte
Reid
Richardson
Ritz
Scarpaleggia
Scheer
Schellenberger
Shipley
Simard
Skelton
Solberg
Sorenson
St. Amand
Stanton
Steckle
Stoffer
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Szabo
Thibault (West Nova)
Thompson (New Brunswick Southwest)
Thompson (Wild Rose)
Tilson
Toews
Tonks
Trost
Tweed
Valley
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Wallace
Wappel
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Williams
Wrzesnewskyj
Yelich

Against:

Alghabra
André
Asselin
Atamanenko
Bachand
Bagnell
Bains
Barbot
Barnes
Beaumier
Bélanger
Bell (Vancouver Island North)
Bell (North Vancouver)
Bellavance
Bennett
Bevilacqua
Bevington
Bigras
Black
Blais
Bonsant
Boshcoff
Bouchard
Boucher
Bourgeois
Brison
Brown (Oakville)
Brunelle
Cannon (Pontiac)
Cardin
Carrier
Charlton
Chow
Christopherson
Comartin
Cotler
Crête
Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley)
Cuzner
D'Amours
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Demers
Deschamps
Dewar
Dhalla
Dryden
Duceppe
Easter
Faille
Folco
Freeman
Fry
Gagnon
Godfrey
Godin
Goodale
Gravel
Guay
Guimond
Holland
Ignatieff
Jennings
Kadis
Keeper
Kotto
Laforest
Laframboise
Lavallée
Layton
LeBlanc
Lemay
Lessard
Lévesque
Lussier
Malo
Marleau
Marston
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
Matthews
McCallum
McDonough
McGuinty
Ménard (Hochelaga)
Ménard (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin)
Minna
Mourani
Mulcair
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Nadeau
Nash
Neville
O'Connor
Ouellet
Paquette
Patry
Pearson
Perron
Picard
Plamondon
Priddy
Proulx
Ratansi
Redman
Regan
Rodriguez
Rota
Roy
Russell
Savage
Savoie
Scott
Sgro
Siksay
Silva
Simms
St-Cyr
St-Hilaire
St. Denis
Telegdi
Temelkovski
Thi Lac
Thibault (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)
Turner
Verner
Vincent
Wasylycia-Leis
Wilson

Paired:

Gaudet
Lalonde
Pallister
Smith


Last edited by Tehanu on Thu Mar 06, 2008 3:45 am; edited 2 times in total
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DSquared
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 3:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was surprised to see the 3 CPC MPs who voted in favour of SSM to also vote in favour of this bill.

sparqui wrote:
The only party that seemed to unanimously reject this bill was the Bloc, with MP Gravel (a RC priest) leading the charge when the bill was up for discussion.


I think that considering his pro-life personal beliefs he provided an airtight argument against it.
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unionist
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TS. wrote:
I don't imagine the NDP will discipline him more severely than Siksay, given that when Siksay broke ranks he did it on a high profile piece of legislation.


How can they discipline Stoffer if they didn't even whip the vote, TS.?

By the way - no Bob Rae in the list.
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Tehanu
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Er, unionist, no Bob Rae because he doesn't have a seat, right?
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TS.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

unionist wrote:
TS. wrote:
I don't imagine the NDP will discipline him more severely than Siksay, given that when Siksay broke ranks he did it on a high profile piece of legislation.


How can they discipline Stoffer if they didn't even whip the vote, TS.?

By the way - no Bob Rae in the list.

On point one, an MP can still defy a whipped vote. It is that defiance that can give rise to discipline, so the NDP may have whipped the vote, just as the NDP whipped the vote on the omnibus crime bill and Siksay bravely defied Layton.

On Bob Rae, he wouldn't be on the list, because he isn't a Member of Parliament. He doesn't face the electors until March 17th, in the Toronto Centre by-election.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are votes on private members bills usually whipped?
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unionist
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TS. wrote:

On point one, an MP can still defy a whipped vote. It is that defiance that can give rise to discipline, so the NDP may have whipped the vote, just as the NDP whipped the vote on the omnibus crime bill and Siksay bravely defied Layton.


My point was - I don't believe this was a whipped vote - so how can they discipline him for the way he voted (I'm repeating myself)?

Quote:
On Bob Rae, he wouldn't be on the list, because he isn't a Member of Parliament. He doesn't face the electors until March 17th, in the Toronto Centre by-election.


Good point. Hope he loses.
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unionist
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tehanu wrote:
Er, unionist, no Bob Rae because he doesn't have a seat, right?


Laughing Laughing

That's his excuse... what's Dion's?
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TS.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

unionist wrote:
TS. wrote:

On point one, an MP can still defy a whipped vote. It is that defiance that can give rise to discipline, so the NDP may have whipped the vote, just as the NDP whipped the vote on the omnibus crime bill and Siksay bravely defied Layton.


My point was - I don't believe this was a whipped vote - so how can they discipline him for the way he voted (I'm repeating myself)?

Well, I am going based on the NDP statement that they would whip the vote.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TS. wrote:

Well, I am going based on the NDP statement that they would whip the vote.


Reference?
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TS.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 5:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have a reference. It was something I remember hearing in passing, it might have been mentioned on Politics.

I have also done a bit of reasoning that supports the conclusion, since a couple NDP MPs who are fairly right wing and who don't have the best track record on some of these issues (like Joe Comartin) voted in favour of the motion, with only Stoffer opposing from the NDP.

Sorry I don't have more for you.
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Hephaestion
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

unionist wrote:
Tehanu wrote:
Er, unionist, no Bob Rae because he doesn't have a seat, right?


Laughing Laughing

That's his excuse... what's Dion's?


Apparently, Dion wasn't IN his seat -- at least, when this vote took place. He must've been out taking "Kyoto" for a walk...
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Apparently, Dion wasn't IN his seat -- at least, when this vote took place. He must've been out taking "Kyoto" for a walk...

Give him a break Heph. He doesn't like voting on stuff.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find the concept of "abstaining" from a vote somewhat incongruous, when compared with the rest of our jobs.

I'm not, for example, permitted to "abstain" from a meeting that I might find uncomfortable or inconvenient. I cannot "abstain" from grading a student's work. I'm not allowed to "abstain" from Fridays.

Why are elected officials allowed to decide to not represent their constituency when it serves their purpose? I'm not talking about MPs or MPPs who realistically cannot attend; I'm talking about the ones who take the day off for reasons of political expediency or cowardice.
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sparqui
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dion was attending a pink cake party his wife was hosting to celebrate...

****wait for it*****

...INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lordy. Shocked Very Happy
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

****BUMP*****

I don't know why this issue has no traction on this board but the so-cons are making their dent in incremental steps, hoping that we don't notice. This is definitely one of their issues.

Anyway, it was hard to write this draft letter and I hope you will give me feedback before i send it. I am seriously afraid of what is currently happening with this bill. It is unheard of having a Private Member's Bill go so far. If this succeeds, the so-cons are going to push all sorts of other changes. SSM will be a thing of the past along with fully legal abortions.

My draft letter (feedback welcomed):

Quote:

Dear Members of the House of Commons Justice and Human Rights Committee:

First, I would like to thank all the Members of Parliament who voted against the proposed Unborn Victims of Crime Bill (C-484). I would be remiss not to highlight my appreciation for Bill Siksay (MP Burnaby–Douglas) and Raymond Gravel (MP Repentigny) who both spoke eloquently about the dangers the passing of this Bill into legislation would present.

I am writing as a Canadian woman who has recognized the need for and championed women’s human rights throughout my life. I am alarmed with how the public debate on this and other human rights issues has been framed these past few years. I never thought that such a Bill, built on the grief of families who have witnessed violence against their mothers, daughters, sisters or partners to exploit human compassion in an attempt to usher in a precedent for re-opening a debate on what constitutes human life, could ever have been ordered up and passed a second reading. Whether Ken Epp (MP Edmonton–Sherwood Park) honestly believes he is championing women’s human rights is debatable knowing his public statements on abortion and his close affiliation to numerous pro-life organizations, including LifeCanada who commissioned the Environics Poll that Mr. Epp’s has relied upon for support for his Bill.

The murder of every woman in this country is a tragedy, whether she is pregnant or not. The criminal assault of a woman who has chosen to carry her pregnancy that results in a miscarriage is also tragic. The sheer number of domestic assaults in this country is frightening – I would applaud any MP or government that actually tackled that issue. This proposed Bill does little for Canadian women, pregnant or not, who are murdered or assaulted.

Of course, I would prefer to see policy and programs put in place that would prevent the occurrence of these violent and tragic attacks on Canadian women. Proponents of Bill C-484 cite the case of six pregnant women having been killed in over the past three years. The Robert Pickton case alone dwarfs these numbers and the Crown has decided not to bother pursuing a trial on the twenty outstanding cases. According to the data collected by Statistics Canada, an average of 180 women have been victims of homicide annually between 2002 and 2006. The age range with the highest incidence of homicide is that of women aged 30 to 39 with an average rate of 35 homicides per year. This Bill does not address in any significant way the violence faced by countless Canadian women on a daily basis.

Here is an excerpt of a report issued by Statistic Canada in 2006, entitled Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends 2006 by Holly Johnson:

Violence against women is a persistent and ongoing problem in Canada and around the world. It affects women’s social and economic equality, physical and mental health, well-being and economic security…

…Gender-based violence is perhaps the most wide-spread and socially tolerated of human rights violations. It both reflects and reinforces inequities between men and women and compromises the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims.

The 1995 Federal Action Plan for Gender Equality emphasized the interconnections between equality and not only gender, but other personal characteristics:

Barriers to equality are rooted in long-standing attitudes and traditions not only about women, but also about race, age, sexual orientation, disability, colour, etc. In particular, the life situations of women outside the dominant culture—women with disabilities, Aboriginal women, women from visible minorities, elderly women, lesbians, lone mothers, women in poverty—are quite different from the mainstream. For them, the path to equality has been, and continues to be, even more difficult. Equality for all women will come about only as these attitudes, imbedded in the workplace, educational institutions and the family, are challenged and begin to change…


This Bill only proposes to deal with the aftermath of violence against women, and only pregnant women at that. Bill C-484 wraps itself in concern for women but obviously misses the mark in addressing the serious issues that underlie violence against women. This Unborn Victims of Crime Bill not only fails to address the sweeping problems that exist for female victims of violence by selecting only a specific group of women who are assaulted or murdered, but it only seeks to find remedy through the courts and the application of criminal law.

Bill C-484 fails to explain how having two separate accounts differs from having a maximum penalty applied to the actual crime against the female victim where her choice to carry a pregnancy would play a mitigating factor in the court’s judgment. In addition, in an attempt to disingenuously distance itself from the underlying intention of the Bill to bestow legal personhood to the fetus, this Bill (unlike previous similar Private Members’ Bills with the same underlying intent that failed constitutionally) actually has the audacity to include the exclusion of consensual abortion as some sort of safeguard measure.

I have yet to see any legal opinions on this Bill but even though I am not a lawyer, I can see huge gaping legal holes in this piece of legislation. How can you have one piece of legislation bestowing human rights to a fetus and have other laws that recognize human life beginning at birth simultaneously? Bill C-484 is almost set up to dare one group of concerned citizens or another to challenge the discrepancy. The bottom line, this amounts to challenging our current status quo on reproductive rights for women.

It seem unfathomable to select a very distinct group of women for special protection under the law, especially given that that protection is focused uniquely on the fetus. How does this help our society deal with violence against women at large? How is this Bill, despite the qualifying statement, not about abortion rights in this country?

Recent events in Parliament have clearly demonstrated that there is a dogged attempt to change the social and legal landscape of Canada one incremental step at a time. Whether it is censoring film and television productions for “offensive” content or repudiating our long standing commitment to protect Canadian citizens from the death penalty, the current government is certainly trying to undermine the great strides Canada has made as a progressive nation and a leader in human rights.

In closing, I would ask you to think of one last question. If this was a noteworthy and necessary piece of legislation to protect women from violent crimes, why wasn’t it included in the Conservative Government’s omnibus crime legislation (Bill C-2) that was recently passed? Surely a party that voted overwhelming for this Bill would have seen its value and included it in their legislation. Or is the fact that Stephen Harper promised not to revisit the abortion issue the reason that he wants his government to distance itself from Bill C-484?

Respectfully yours,

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 6:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You do a great job of breaking the frame that is being settled around this issue, Sparqui. I particularly appreciated the part of your letter speaking about the fact that this bill is simply reactive, not actually doing anything to prevent violence against women.

You also make a very good point about the stealth assault on abortion rights by means of using private member's bills. That way, the government can push it through while still formally keeping the promise not to reopen reproductive rights. Government use of private member's bills is dangerous, because they generally get very little, if any, media coverage, and the government's control over the order paper means that this bill won't suffer the fate of most private members' bills that pass second reading (that being either a complete stall out in committee or simply not being called for a vote on third reading).

What would be good to see now is this thing get voted right down in committee. Comparing the list of members of the committee with the list of voting members that Tehanu posted, the committee would likely split six-six, however, the odious Art Hanger is chair of the committee, and committee chairs don't vote except when there is a tie. So if the members of the committee get their act together, this bill could wind up voted down by one vote, with Art Hanger not being able to stop that from happening.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the feedback TS. I know you are studying law so I am glad that you feel that the letter doesn't go out on a limb.

I am trying to think of who else, other than committee members, I should cc: this letter on. Any ideas would be appreciated.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 6:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would send it to the list of media organizations that Heph has put out there a couple of times. You might consider Dion and Layton.

I certainly don't think that your letter goes on a limb legally (in terms of human rights law). When you get into the law of torts, an infant child can sue a third party for negative effects suffered after birth caused by a harm inflicted which the child was in the womb. It is important to note with that that the Supreme Court of Canada has held that an infant child cannot sue his/her mother in such a circumstance for two different sets of reasons, including the autonomy rights of the woman carrying the foetus. The leading case on the absence of maternal tort liability, if you are interested, is Dobson v. Dobson.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it says a lot that those sanctimonious creeps on "700 Huntley Street" were yammering on this morning about how this PMB was such a "huge step" for "protecting women" and "comforting grieving survivors" blah blah bullshit blah... They told the Faithy Folks in their audience to be sure to "pray for the success of this bill" and to "pray for the parliamentarians who have done so much to get this bill passed". They went on to encourage their Faithy Fans to carefully check on not only who had supported this bill, but who had opposed it, and to "keep that in mind when going to mark your ballot in the next election".

Whether it is gloating over attempts to sneak censorship laws through under the guise of "housekeeping tax legislation" or gloating over attempts to sneak anti-abortion laws through under the guise of "protecting women and the unborn from violent crime", it seems the Faithy Folks are feeling their oats, and aren't shy about bragging about their close ties to the Harpokons.

It's just unfortunate that there's no national media outlet, or political party or other organization that seems prepared to alert the general public to the creeping sectarianism that is entering into our public policy, courtesy of our "moderate" new government. Hmmm... maybe the Faith and Social Justice Committee could speak up on the dangers of too-close ties between religion and government...

Oh, and btw, that was a great letter, Sparqui. I think perhaps you are too uncertain of your own abilities, or too tentative, or something; I've only seen a couple of your letters now so far, but both have been excellent.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I write my letter to Ottawa, what is most important to include? Do I keep it short - "I oppose Bill C84" or should I add my thoughts about it..... I want it to be effective. And do I send it to all parties?
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In light of International Women's Day tomorrow, I would suggest sending a copy of your letter(s) to all the national media you can think of, too.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Willow wrote:
When I write my letter to Ottawa, what is most important to include? Do I keep it short - "I oppose Bill C84" or should I add my thoughts about it..... I want it to be effective. And do I send it to all parties?

I would suggest that when you are writing to a die hard opponent of your point of view, just to let them know of your opposition, then keep it short. They just need to know that opposition is out there. When you are writing to people who share your views or fence sitters, I would suggest being more expansive, since presenting strong arguments can either win them over or provide them with ideas for arguments they can advance in debate.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the feedback. I found a few things to tweak this morning and will use Heph's media links as well.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks TS.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Willow wrote:
Thanks TS.

You're welcome.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Broadsides (Antonia Zerbisias' blog at The Toronto Star):

Quote:
Painful delivery

...Today I received an email from one of my misogynist regulars -- hey Andrew, does your boss know what you do on your supermarket chain's account? -- who wrote:

Your article shows how stupid you are. Women kill more of their own unborn children than men kill women. That is why we need legislation to protect unborn children from their mothers. Women are more violent than men after all. They commit more murders. They just call it abortion.

I wonder if Andrew would have preferred a bill that puts all women of child-bearing age in a form of forced confinement -- remember that term? -- so that they are protected from their partners? That way, those who might prefer to end their pregnancies can't, and will serve as baby incubators, with no control over their bodies, lives, health or futures.

Because that's much of the mentality out there.

Epp and his supporters claim no such thing would happen if Bill C-484 is passed. That this is not aimed at eliminating women's right to control their own bodies. They say that the bill, as currently worded, protects abortion rights.

But, experts say, those protections can easily be struck down by the courts.

Now the bill is off to committee, one step closer to passage.

One last note: Liberal leader Stéphane Dion was among 10 of his caucus members who did not show up to state their yea or nay.

He was hosting a party marking International Women's Day, tomorrow.

Have a happy one.

While this has received minimal coverage in the mainstream media which, as usual, is more concerned with raw politics than policy, it has consumed the femme-o-sphere. Blogs such as Birth Pangs and Unrepentant Old Hippie have been all over this since Epp introduced his a-fetus-is-now-a-person bill. Because, make no mistake, if you have an ''unborn victim,'' you can also have an "unborn person.'' And, judging by the jubilation in the anti-abortion circles, that's what's next on their agenda.

Just for the record, along with NDP member Peter Stoffer, here are the 28 Liberal MPs who stood with the Conservatives:

Raymond Bonin; John Cannis; Hon. Raymond Chan; Hon. Roy Cullen; Sukh Dhaliwal; Hon. Albina Guarnieri; Hon. Charles Hubbard; Hon. Jim Karygiannis Derek Lee; Hon. Lawrence MacAulay; Hon. Gurbax Malhi; Hon. John McKay; Hon. Joe McGuire; Hon. Dan McTeague; Hon. Shawn Murphy; Massimo Pacetti; Francis Scarpaleggia; Hon. Raymond Simard; Lloyd St. Amand; Paul Steckle; Paul Szabo; Hon. Robert Thibault; Alan Tonks; Roger Valley; Tom Wappel; Borys Wrzesnewskyj; John Maloney.

Here's Birth Pangs' official statement on this:

CANADA – The Liberals’ vote – or lack thereof – on Bill C-484, the Kicking Abortion’s Ass Bill, yesterday is another empty gesture in a long list of failures by the Opposition, said BP activist and Founder, fern_hill, today.

“The Liberals went into Wednesday’s session (or stayed out of it) knowing full well that Canadian women saw it as a backdoor attempt to attack women’s rights to reproductive freedom. Still, Mr. Dion could not be found to vote for or against it. This is the latest in a string of failures by this Opposition to take a stand for Canada and for Canadian women,” said Ms. hill.

“On the eve of International Women’s Day, this is disappointing for Canadian women because it’s clear that the Liberals don’t take women’s equality seriously. We urge the Liberals to stop turning back the clock, and come up with a vote that supports women’s rights,” she said.

Hill noted that many Canadian organizations representing women’s rights urged Dion to whip his caucus to vote against the Bill and that the Liberal Leader’s support for women is, “All words. Little action. No support for Women.”

Hope and Onions has an excellent summary of the blogging so far. Other great posts -- and whew! some people are really really angry! -- come from The Galloping Beaver, Canadian Cynic, April Reign, Bastard Logic, Politics'n'Poetry and Sooey Says. But my favourite has to be from The Wingnuter who can't spell but who sure can spell it out.

Even thought the fetus is not a legal entity in Canadian Law, The Harper Government will now allow all pregnant mother to claim the unborn as a dependent on their taxes. Mr. Harper said "Hey if we can charge for murdering a none legal entity, the very least we can do is allow the mother to claim the unborn as dependent on their taxes too."

Happy International Women's Day....


http://thestar.blogs.com/broadsides/2008/03/on-wednesday-ev.html?ci...

For those who haven't signed yet, here is a link to the petition:

Here is the petition to oppose this bill:

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/oppose-bill-c-484.html
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fetus rights part of SoCon chess game: trends in women's political issues not looking good

Quote:
[Bill C-10, and homophobe Charles McVety's gloating over it] came in the same week as a private members' bill from Conservative MP Ken Epps that puts a significant dent in women's reproductive freedom by establishing legal "personhood" for fetuses passed second reading.

The so-called "Unborn Victims of Crimes Act" will now go to committee hearings, where you can bet every religious whackjob will testify about the "rights" of the unborn. Shamefully, neither the Liberals or the NDP whipped their caucus to vote against the bill.

If anything, it's been a banner year for religious wingnuts, and with Harper approaching majority territory in the polls, we can only imagine what actions he would take if he didn't have to rely on the Liberals nor the NDP to get laws passed.

It's useful to take a close look at some strategic initiatives that the Harper government has pushed through over the last two years. When you line them up, you see the escalation in tactics and the rather brazen moves by the Conservatives to silence queer and women's rights activists.

The first thing that the Harper government did was cancel the Liberals' universal daycare program. [...] It was only months later that the Canadian Family Action Coalition [that's Charles McVety's gang of bigots again] started publishing inflammatory articles on their website, revealing their real problem with daycare: the possibility the children could be exposed to -- gasp -- positive messages about homosexuality. They are also seriously worried about children who play dress-up in opposite-sex clothing.


Troster goes on to mention the Court Challenges program Harper killed, and the omnibus "crime" bill which, she notes, "checked off another item on the Canada Family Action Coalition's to-do list."

Quote:
Except there's one little problem. Voices of opposition are getting stronger every day, and it'll take much more than a few bad laws to deter us from fighting back.

The last couple of years have seen a wave of political engagement amongst queer youth that I certainly haven't observed in my lifetime. A recent decision by Health Canada to ban donations of organs from gay men sparked a national protest, and dozens of satellite actions on university campuses across Canada. The omnibus crime bill was the impetus for the youth-driven Age of Consent Committee led by activist Andrew Brett, which made presentations to parliamentary committees and to the Senate opposing the initiative.

And pro-choice activists are mobilizing like crazy, flooding MPs offices with letters demanding that they vote against the Unborn Victims of Crime Act at third reading. They are also putting pressure on Stephane Dion and Jack Layton to do the right thing -- for once -- and whip their caucuses to defeat the bill at third reading.


I'm glad that not everyone in the queer community is as sanguine about crap like the omnibus "crime" bill as some here are... but I will note that Layton ain't winning himself many fans among queer activists and commentators with his support of such craptacular legislation.

Of course, some might take the attitude that, like the hayseeds on the prairies, the approval of the queer community doesn't count for much, 'coz that ain't gonna win the NDP any seats -- Bob Rae's gonna take Toronto Centre anyway... right?

As for Troster's comments about the "pro-choice activists ... flooding MPs offices with letters demanding that they vote against the Unborn Victims of Crime Act at third reading", I hope they suceed. And, like her, I hope Stephane Dion and Jack Layton do the right thing -- for once -- and whip their caucuses to defeat the bill.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sparqui wrote:
****BUMP*****

I don't know why this issue has no traction on this board . . .


I don't know how I missed this thread last week. Shit. I signed the petition a while ago, but have yet to write a letter. I can't believe the bill isn't dead.
My MP, Paul Zed, was absent.
Your letter, sparqui, is excellent.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks so much fork.

I sent it off to various national unions along with a "pat on the back" note. Seems like unions have played a more concrete and vocal role in opposing Harper than our Opposition Parties.

Anyway, lots of conservative media hacks calling this an over-reaction on the part of radical feminists. More than ever, we need men to join in supporting the defeat of this dangerous Bill.

I urge those who haven't done so to sign the petition:

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/oppose-bill-c-484.html
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 2:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Irene Mathyssen made the following statement in the House on Tuesday:
Quote:
Mr. Speaker, Bill C-484 proposes changes to the Criminal Code that will have no real positive effect, but rather will potentially jeopardize a woman's right to choose.

This proposed private member's bill would have two charges laid against a person who kills a pregnant woman. This would in effect give legal rights to a fetus and change the definition of when a fetus becomes a person under the law. Currently a fetus is not considered a person until actual live birth.

While I will not argue that murdering a pregnant woman is particularly abhorrent, this bill will in the end do more harm than good for women's rights in Canada.

This House has heard from some who may contend that this bill has nothing to do with abortion and is just about ensuring that someone who murders a pregnant woman will pay doubly for his or her crime. However, this bill is the thin edge of the wedge as it will change the definition of when a fetus becomes a person.

This change will have an effect on the legal status of abortions in Canada. Canadians, Parliament, the courts and the Senate all made a determination on this issue and have supported a woman's right to choose. This is not something that needs to be opened to debate again.

Canadian women fought long and hard for the right to safe, legal abortions in Canada. Women have been forced to put their private lives under scrutiny in the courts in the fight for the right to choose. If we take away that right, women in desperate situations will have to take desperate measures, like a young woman who in 1989 bled to death after attempting to perform an abortion on herself. This tragedy was the result of fear and despair and happened while the federal government debated making non-emergency abortions illegal.

I am profoundly concerned that Bill C-484 is nothing but a thinly veiled attempt to make abortions illegal in Canada. I am extremely disappointed that the member would use tragic murders of young women to push an anti-abortion agenda.

Bill C-484 calls into question a judge's ability to take mitigating circumstances into account. Courts already take aggravating circumstances into account when deciding on sentences for crimes and would most certainly consider injury to or the death of an unborn child to be a serious aggravating circumstance.

...

The evidence is clear. To date, courts across Canada have blocked provincial attempts to substantially regulate the issue of abortion, finding that the pith and substance of such attempts is actually an attempt to recriminalize abortion through the back door.

Bill C-484 essentially represents an indirect recognition of an unborn child as a person with legal status. Such an initiative could have significant ramifications in a number of different areas of law and opens a Pandora's box in the abortion debate.

I believe it is essential to this debate to discuss an area of concern that the Conservative government has failed to address, and that is, of course, violence against women. Homicide is a leading killer of pregnant women and it is well known that violence against women increases during pregnancy.

What the government needs to address is better measures to protect women in general and pregnant women in particular from domestic violence. A foetal homicide law would completely sidestep the issue of domestic abuse and do nothing to protect pregnant women from violence before it happens. It would also do nothing to protect women who are abused shortly after giving birth.

Before we start talking about laws to protect foetuses, the government has an obligation to make sure that women's rights are protected first by addressing the systemic problem of domestic violence. If a woman is safe, her unborn child is safe.

In Canada, women have guaranteed rights and equality under our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Persons do not gain legal status and rights in our society until after a live birth, as per the Criminal Code. Also, the Supreme Court has ruled that a woman and her foetus are considered physically one person under the law, as in Dobson v. Dobson.

...

Bill C-484 does just that. It initiates legislation that will effectively regulate abortion in Canada by changing the definition of the legal status of a fetus. It opens the door to making abortion illegal in Canada.

If the government is truly concerned about women and their children, it will abandon its recent budget and reverse its unacceptable policies, policies that have removed equality from the mandate of the women's program, cancelled the court challenges program, closed 12 regional offices of Status of Women Canada, and ended research, lobbying and advocacy on behalf of women in a dismal budget document that failed to reintroduce a national housing strategy or affordable decent housing.

Let us imagine what such a housing policy would do for these women fleeing violence, including those carrying unborn children. The government could also introduce a national child care program and needed changes to maternity and parental leave. It could have provided adequate funding for legal aid, restored the court challenges program, helped women with disabilities, implemented proactive pay equity and invested in programs that would address violence against women.

It could do all these things, but that would require a real commitment to women, children and families. Instead, the Conservatives have chosen to promote Bill C-484.

A woman's right to choose was hard fought for. It would be detrimental to Canadian women and an international embarrassment to remove that right. The Conservatives are not standing up for Canadian women by tabling such bills. It is indeed time that the government remembered its election pledge.

...

More at link.

It is good to see such a strong, articulate statement from Mathyssen. Hopefully the NDP will draw courage from her statement and whip Stoffer into line on the second reading vote, if the bill makes it that far.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 3:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great statement by Irene Mathyssen. Supposedly, the internal brass has spoken to Peter Stoffer -- but I guess it wasn't a third whip vote (no discipline required Smile ).
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have emailed my MP, and the leaders of all the parties. Now I am sending letters by mail. Do I have to stamp them?
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You shouldn't have to, so long as you are mailing the MPs at their House of Commons offices.
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"Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear." - Thomas Jefferson
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