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Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer has once again reaffirmed his promise to uphold pro-choice legislation if elected.
As a practicing Catholic, Scheer identifies as pro-life and opposes abortion on a personal level. However, he says that, as current laws stand, it isn’t worthwhile to re-open the debate on abortion, which would be highly divisive even within the Conservative base, and that he will uphold women’s right to choose.
According to CBC, Scheer’s reaffirming of this stance came one day after the other three major party leaders “pressured Scheer in a French election debate to say publicly how he feels personally about abortion.”
Scheer responded simply by saying that the debate in Canada is settled.
"My personal position has always been open and consistent," Scheer said Thursday. "I am personally pro-life but I've also made the commitment that as leader of this party it is my responsibility to ensure that we do not re-open this debate, that we focus on issues that unite our party and unite Canadians."
"And that's exactly what I'll do and that's why I'll vote against measures that attempt to re-open this debate."
With that said, Scheer has continued to receive flack for an interview in 2017 where he said that backbenchers should have “freedom of conscience” and be allowed to bring any idea they’d like to the table, including talking about their pro-life positions.
"I think that's one of the things that makes the Conservative Party stronger, that we allow for a diversity of views on these issues within our own caucus and we don't tell anyone that they have to park their conscience or their faith at the door," Scheer said in an interview.
He also said that he had previously voted for pro-life legislation but has since backed off and pro-choice legislation has uniformly solidified in Canada. As such, it isn’t clear whether he would support a different MP within his caucus taking a definite pro-life stance — it doesn’t seem likely given his more recent responses.