Government: Stay out of our personal business
Sam Oosterhoff should keep his mouth shut, at least until he grows up a little. Oosterhoff is a Progressive Conservative member of the Ontario Provincial Legislature. He was elected as a Conservative in the Riding of Niagara West. At 21 he is the youngest member of that august body. The other day he said this: “We pledge to make abortion unthinkable in our lifetime.” I suspect and hope, that someone in his Party will have a quiet chat with him.
Now, I know that young people elected in their early twenties often come aboard full of you-know-what and vinegar. I’ve been there and I’ve done that and I’ve subsequently been embarrassed by it. I also remember three young councillors from here, who in their giddier moments, plotted to have a former mayor criminally charged, when the incident could have been privately and effectively resolved in the upstairs of the Fire Hall which at that time, was directly behind the Town offices and Council Chambers. I know one of them personally, and I am sure that he now regrets the particular action he took at that earlier time.
But how ever you look at it now, what Sam Oosterhoff said about abortions is plain stupid. Stupid because it will never become unthinkable and second because it is really none of his business. It was Justin Trudeau’s father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who said, there’s no place for the State in the bedrooms of the Nation. That is one of the few times when he and I were in agreement! The significance of that statement has broadened somewhat in more recent times, but it still applies today.
One should not jump to the conclusion when reading this, that from a personal perspective, I am pro-choice, because that would not be entirely accurate. While I strongly believe that both women and men have the right to control their own bodies, I believe that a pregnant woman, except under extraordinary circumstances, has plenty of time to decide if she wants to keep a fetus, before it becomes viable. My belief, which I know is not shared by many, and which I know will be controversial, is that a fetus becomes a person when it is able to survive, even with medical help, outside of its mother’s body. I cannot morally accept that an abortion at that point is appropriate and I cannot help but believe that a woman, at that point, is not making a decision about her own body, but rather, about someone else’s.
But that is just my opinion and if you believe in the fundamental right of free speech, I am entitled to it. I do not need Justin Trudeau or Andrew Scheer, or for that matter, Sam Oosterhoff, telling me how I should think or worse still, legislating how I should think. We all have a right to our opinions and I respect those who have opinions that are different than mine. However, I do not expect to be told, especially by government, what my opinion must be.
In fact, my purpose in writing this article is to suggest that so-called social issues are primarily personal and family issues that should have little or no place on a government agenda, either at election time or through subsequent legislation. Much of it is just simply none of their business. I am not talking about the obvious need for Government to protect the vulnerable, especially the abuse of women by men, still prevalent and even encouraged in some societies. I am talking about Government allowing women and men to make their own decisions about how they want to live their lives, without undue interference from politicians. We simply don’t need them messing around in personal and social issues, on one side or the other, and usually for crass political reasons.
My fear, especially after hearing snippets from Justin Trudeau on one side and now from the likes of Sam Oosterhoff on the other, is that social issues are going to play a significant role in this current federal-election cycle. Canadians can and should make most of those decisions for themselves. What we really need to hear about is how those who want to govern us are going to deal with serious practical issues, such as climate change, unsustainable spending and debt levels, economic growth, international respect and the serious erosion of our national infrastructure.
I cannot think of a period in my lifetime, where Canada was more fractured on issues and realities that could literally break up the country. Surely governments and politicians should concentrate on these and stop meddling in people’s lives, where it is not necessary and often totally inappropriate.
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