It is an understatement to call the announcement by Attorney General Yasir Naqvi of a bill that was tabled to create a bubble to protect women attending abortion clinics crass, dog whistle politics. It’s a blatant and hypocritical attempt to exploit a serious issue by cheapening it for political gain.
It’s been long rumoured that Naqvi has his eyes on Premier Kathleen Wynne’s job, so nothing is beneath him. He’s a known show boater and poseur.
So it was difficult to watch Naqvi shed crocodile tears about the story of a woman being spat on near a clinic and hear say he had to protect these women.
Naqvi maintained protecting women’s right to choose “is our No. 1 job.”
But the Ontario Liberals have been in government since 2003 and just now they realize they have to do something about women being harassed at these clinics.
The Morgentaler clinics have been around for over 40 years. Harassers have been in plain view with big, screaming anti-abortion placards dishing out obscenities and insults at whoever gets close to the clinic doors. One such clinic has been operating on Bank St. in Ottawa – a stone’s throw from Parliament Hill. So why has Naqvi decided that now was the time to crack down?
Because there’s an election in 8 months and what a wonderful wedge issue to throw the opposition Progressive Conservatives in disarray and change the channel from the scandals that have been tormenting the Liberals. It looked like a turkey shoot.
Except it backfired. Nepean-Carleton Tory MPP Lisa McLeod called Naqvi’s bluffs. She brought a motion that, if given unanimous consent, would transform the bill to law by mid-day. Despite women advocates giving the bill an A+, the Liberals put the brakes on so they can work on outing some tory MPPs who might not greet the bill with open arms.
The irony is that Naqvi has no shame in using women activists as pawns for political scheming instead of agreeing to the quick passage of the bill which could have been in force and protecting the very women he claims to want to protect as early as last week. It would have been a quick wrap but for Naqvi’s sinister meanderings.
Naqvi said: “I want to thank the advocates. They worked with us in the summer, very hard. We’ve had many, many conversations to get this right.” So, by his own account, the bill is spot on.
But once the PCs agreed, the Liberals pivoted and said they wanted “health-care professionals, women’s groups and other advocates” an opportunity to “provide input to strengthen the bill during the committee process.” In Naqvi’s world, you can have it both way – a perfect bill, but when it gets acclaimed as such and blows up in his face by failing to embarrass the opposition, we need to “strengthen it.” Some hero alright.
Last Sunday, I wrote about how the Liberals are smearing the PCs at every opportunity, trying to link them to U.S. President Donald Trump. Now they shifted into the politics of division. Expect more of these foul shenanigans as we near the election.