Doug Ford says abortion issue won't be reopened - 2019-05-13
Premier Doug Ford says his Progressive Conservative MPPs are welcome to "speak their mind" but emphasized the provincial government is not touching the abortion issue. "I don't dictate to anyone what their beliefs are," Ford said Monday when asked by the NDP if he supports the views of three of his members — including Sam Oosterhoff of Niagara West — who spoke at an anti-abortion rally in front of the legislature on Thursday.
"Can any of my members speak their mind? Yes, they can speak their mind, because not everyone in this legislature thinks the same," the premier added. "We have a big tent there," Ford continued, referring to the PC party. "We are not — I'm going to repeat — we are not reopening any abortion issues here in this legislature. It's very simple." Oosterhoff stood up with fellow Conservative MPP's to applaud Ford's comments.
The MPP, who was also in the news last week after his constituency office called Niagara region police on a senior citizen's book club that was protesting library budget cuts, told the crowd of hundreds of protesters last week he will work to make abortion "unthinkable" and later quoted a children's author to explain his position. "To quote Dr. Seuss: 'A person's a person no matter how small.' I've always said I'm pro-life. I will always speak for children who are too young to speak for themselves, who have no voice," Oosterhoff told reporters. New Democrats said they remain concerned that abortion services could fall prey to Ford's deficit-fighting efforts as the government continues cuts of public services to save money in the face of $12.3 billion in red ink forecast for this year. In the PC leadership race last year, Ford raised concerns he was cosying up to social conservatives by questioning why teens need parental consent notes to go on school trips but not to get abortions. "The premier needs to be very clear here," said MPP Suze Morrison, calling the statements to the protest from Oosterhoff, Brant MPP Will Bouma and Christine Mitas of Scarborough Centre a "direct threat."