THUNDER BAY – The Conservative candidate for Thunder Bay-Superior North says he does hold pro-life beliefs, but adds neither he nor the federal party plan to make abortion part of their fall election platform.
Frank Pullia, a former city councillor, was reacting to an endorsement from the website voteprolife.ca, which gave the first-time federal candidate its approval.
The site is operated by the right-wing, anti-abortion group, Campaign Life Coalition.
“I’m not running on this issue,” Pullia said, interviewed on Wednesday by Thunder Bay Television.
“The party has been clear they will not re-open the issue. While I believe in the sanctity of life, I’m running on the issues that I’m hearing at the door and they tell me what’s important to them is jobs, protecting the environment, investing in roads and infrastructure and making sure we are dealing with crime. Those are the issues I’ll be running on.”
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer earlier this week said he would not revisit the controversial subject, telling reporters, “Canadians can have absolute confidence that a Conservative government after the election in October will not reopen this issue.”
The topic of abortion has made international headlines after legislators in Alabama last week voted to ban all abortions, with the exception of when the mother’s life is in danger, the first step in what they hope is a Supreme Court showdown designed to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade ruling that legalized abortion in the United States.
Other states have also pushed anti-abortion legislation, though not quite as far as Alabama’s, which even drew criticism from some on the religious right as going too far.
Asked his reaction to being named the pro-life candidate in Thunder Bay-Superior North, Pullia stuck to the script, reiterating he wasn’t running on the issue.
His Liberal opponent, incumbent cabinet minister Patty Hajdu, reached by phone in Prince Edward Island, said abortion rights are not a political bargaining tool.
“It’s obviously super disappointing, but not surprising, to see my Conservative opponent trying to roll back women’s rights,” said Hajdu, who entered cabinet as the Minister of Status of Women and is a staunch pro-choice candidate who is listed as “pro-abortion” on the Vote Pro-Life website.
“Frank coming out as a pro-life candidate makes it clear what he stands for.”
Neither the Green Party nor the NDP have yet to name candidates in the riding.
Conservative candidate Linda Rydholm, running in Thunder Bay-Rainy River, has not received the Vote Pro-Life endorsement.