MP Russ Hiebert acknowledges he is among Conservatives with “pro-life” views who have reservations about the federal government’s decision to continue funding to the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).
But in an interview with the Peace Arch News last week, Hiebert (South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale) indicated he won’t go as far in criticizing the government as another Conservative backbencher, Brad Trost (Saskatoon-Humboldt) – who has openly broken ranks with the government in protest of the decision.
Opponents of the organization characterize it as a leading advocate and provider of abortions internationally, and question why Canada is planning on giving it $6 million as part of its foreign aid package.
The government has said the money, provided over three years, would go only to IPPF projects in such countries as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Mali, Sudan and Tanzania, where abortion is illegal.
Opponents, however, say giving any funding to the organization contradicts the Harper government’s avowed position of not funding abortion around the globe.
But while Hiebert said he shares concerns with Trost, he wants to be sure the IPPF is not violating government conditions set on the funding.
“Parliament, in its last session, set a very clear policy on the issue of foreign aid, and I expect that policy to be respected,” Hiebert said.
“I am personally skeptical, given their (IPPF’s) history.
“I’ll be looking very closely to see if they’re abiding by the guidelines.”
Hiebert was responding to an open letter issued by Mike Schouten, Christian Heritage Party Canada candidate in his riding in this year’s federal election, who called on the MP to take an “aggressive stance against your government’s assault on the unborn.”
In the letter, Schouten said he finds it “disturbing that Canadian tax dollars are being given to the world’s most prolific abortion provider.”
Schouten suggested that providing $6 million to IPPF projects in countries where abortion is illegal merely frees the organization to spend the same amount funding abortions elsewhere.
But while Hiebert said he respects Schouten’s views and his participation in the national debate in May’s election, he still wants to be sure the IPPF is playing by the rules set down.
“That has yet to be seen,” he noted.
“I’m a little bit skeptical about their participation in our foreign aid program.”