Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Politics Today: The abortion debate will not go away

Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott

Greg Pender/The Canadian Press

Politics Today is your daily guide to some of the stories we're watching in Ottawa and across Canada, by The Globe and Mail's team of political reporters.

Chretien and the oil deal

In today's Globe exclusive, former prime minister Jean  Chrétien is revealed to have helped broker a deal for Chad to grant a lucrative oil deal to Calgary's Griffiths Energy – a development that later led Griffiths to plead guilty to bribery and a $10-million fine. There is no evidence Mr. Chrétien was involved in any way with dealings that led to the bribery case, and the situation is complicated, so you should read the full report.

Story continues below advertisement

Harper and Marois, together again for the first time

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Quebec Premier Pauline Marois meet on Canadian soil for the first time today in Quebec (they briefly ran into each last fall in Kinshasa). Ms. Marois' top priority will be employment insurance. Federal changes mean that many former EI recipients could soon weigh on the province's budget.

The two will make a joint statement, but won't answer questions from reporters. According to the Canadian Press, that's because Ms. Marois bristled at Mr. Harper's tightly controlled rules for taking questions.

The abortion debate will not go away

Even with the Woodworth vote last fall, the most divisive of the term so far, some members of the Conservative backbench refuse to be quiet on abortion. Now three MPs – Maurice Vellacott, Leon Benoit and Wladyslaw Lizon – are asking the RCMP to investigate what they call post-abortion killings. The party strategy of letting the backbench blow off steam with Woodworth doesn't seem to have worked, with another subsequent abortion-related motion and now this.

Meanwhile, a poll of Canadians released this week (on the 25th anniversary of the Morgentaler ruling) found a majority didn't want to reopen the abortion debate.

Nothing arrested about this development

Story continues below advertisement

Following on from this week's scoop that Canada will cede new powers to the Northwest Territories, largely to let the territory benefit directly from its natural resources, observers expect Canada to take a very pro-development stance when its leadership of the Arctic Council begins this year. Leona Aglukkaq, the first Inuk cabinet minister, will represent Canada at the council.

Wynne's positive

Ontario's premier-elect is now premier-designate, after Kathleen Wynne yesterday visited the Lieutenant-Governor. Ms. Wynne, in a sit-down interview with The Globe's new Queen's Park reporter Adrian Morrow, said she'll be taking a much more conciliatory approach to governing than her predecessor. How to keep up her positivity? "It's keeping my eye on the ball," she said. "It's being clear where I want to go and taking the people with me who want to come. And if there's going to be negativity, of course we have to answer it. But the way we answer it is with our story and our narrative about what we believe in."

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author
Assistant editor, Ottawa

Chris Hannay is assistant editor in The Globe's Ottawa bureau and author of the daily Politics newsletter. Previously, he was The Globe and Mail's digital politics editor, community editor for news and sports (working with social media and digital engagement) and a homepage editor. More


The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at