Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Another poll to undermine the chess master's stance on excluding abortion funding from his maternal health initiative:
"Alberta was the only province where opposition to supporting abortion abroad was greater than support for the idea (53% opposed, to 44% in favour). In Quebec, 71% thought Canadian aid should be spent to provide access to safe abortions and in British Columbia that figure was 68%. In Ontario, 55% supported spending aid money on abortions, and in Atlantic Canada, 61% supported the idea. “Clearly aid in developing countries is something that Quebeckers and Ontarians and a large number of other Canadians feel is important,” said Dave Scholz, vice-president of Leger Marketing. Prime Minister Stephen Harper “is trying to get votes in Quebec and other parts of the country and this type of behaviour doesn’t bode well for him when it comes to keeping Canadians happy.”"
Nevertheless, somebody has his talking points to massage it all away:
Mr. Harper, meanwhile, listed off clean drinking water and some vague pre- and post-birth interventions that can help mothers and their babies when asked about his G8 maternal health plan. “There are things that can be done, not controversial things, things that are not expensive. They can make a real significant difference in the lives of people around the world.”
Except that a majority of Canadians firmly support the "controversial things" being included in the plan.

It may be sinking in, despite the spin, that this has blown up on them and the attempt to narrow the focus of the G8/G20 meetings was telling:
...Harper said his focus is and will remain on economic issues.

"Everything else that so often gets so much attention from your former media colleagues Mike, these are sideshows. The economy is what matters," Harper told the moderator, Sen. Mike Duffy.

"And it's got to be what matters at these meetings in June."
But that's not what he said when he launched the maternal health initiative in January:
As its contribution to this G8 initiative, Canada will look to mobilize G8 governments and non-governmental organizations as well as private foundations. Setting a global agenda for improving maternal and child health is an ambitious plan. But working with other nations and aid agencies on the ground where the need is greatest makes it an achievable goal.

There is other business to be transacted at the G8 as well as informal discussions on security, nuclear proliferation and the environment. But our focus on maternal and child health will be a priority.
From priority to sideshow. If anything, the mobilizing Harper is doing is all about that bank tax, not maternal health.