OTTAWA — Jane Philpott says she stands by the commitment she made as a Liberal candidate to support access to abortion despite her personal beliefs.
The former cabinet minister, now running as an Independent after being kicked out of the Liberal caucus in the wake of the SNC-Lavalin affair, says there are some issues that may cause her to vote differently from her former party should she return to Ottawa after the Oct. 21 vote.
But she says abortion is not one of them.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau requires all Liberal MPs to vote with his government on matters of reproductive health, and would-be candidates for his party are asked during the nomination process whether that would be a problem.
Philpott, a Mennonite, says that while she believes she would not personally choose to terminate a pregnancy, that has nothing to do with her obligations as an MP to uphold rights for all Canadians.
The former health minister also says the Liberals were being “opportunistic” by circulating a 2005 speech by Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer stating his opposition to same-sex marriage and suggesting he would restrict access to abortion, saying it feeds into cynicism about politicians.