Monday, December 29, 2008

My two cents on Bruinooge's secret group

The Globe and Mail reports (here) that Rod Bruinooge has recently become the chair of a secretive, parliamentary anti-abortion caucus. Why the secrecy?
    Mr. Bruinooge declined to provide details about the membership of the caucus – which he described as “sizable” – on the basis that MPs from other parties fear internal repercussions if their activism is known.
Bloggers have not been silent. Lulu points out that the deception implicit in the secrecy is not new for Bruinooge; Impolitical wonders whether Rod Bruinooge has gone rogue; JJ points out the ridiculousness of it all.

Add me to those who disapprove. A secret AA chapter? Fine. A quilting klatch? No problem. A Dungeon-and-dragons cell? Whatever. MPs have a right to keeping their personal lives personal. But Bruinooge's caucus advocates a change to public policy, and as such it should be operating out in the open.

Indeed, it is rather surprising that they do not want to operate in the open, because they can hardly hope to change public policy otherwise. If they are not going to argue their case in public, how do they expect to persuade anyone? win any votes? pass any laws?

What is one to make of all this? The point is surely that the pro-life movement is not only exceptionally weak in this country, but largely disfunctional. I've already pointed out that the prolife backlash to Morgentaler's Order of Canada award was surprisingly anemic: a handful of returned awards, a couple hundred protesters, an online-petition that immediately stalled (details here).

At one-time the Campaign Life Coalition identified prolife candidates so that prolifers could support them at the polls. Not recently, however, and the reason is not to guess: being prolife is a political liability in most parts of the country.

Which is presumably why Bruinooge's fellow caucus-members are so shy about identifying themselves: the issue loses more votes than it wins.