A little nugget from the past: Wildrose candidate’s abortion position

A scene from the Lethbridge-West riding, as seen by the Wildrose Party. Below: Lethbridge-West candidate Kevin Kinahan.

During the campaign leading up to the recent Alberta provincial election, the website of Lethbridge-West Wildrose Party candidate Kevin Kinahan had two sections outlining his perspective on the party’s health care policy – one was linked to his home page with no comment on abortion, a second unlinked page included a statement suggesting abortion services should no longer be funded.

Both pages remained online last night.

Mr. Kinahan’s official health policy page, which is linked to his home page, contains the following statement: “…I would like to see a system where funding follows the patient and where we can make better use of specialized clinics. Having publically (sic) funded, universal access to specialized clinics can only help in easing the burden on our overloaded system. We would always stay in control of the system.”

Elsewhere on the same site, however, a nearly identical page reads as follows: “…I would like to see a system where funding follows the patient and where we can make better use of specialized clinics. Having publically (sic) funded, universal access to specialized clinics can only help in easing the burden on our overloaded system. We would always stay in control of the system. We can reduce some of the expenses in the system by de-funding unnecessary medical procedures, including abortions.”

The second page, while not linked to the site’s homepage, can easily be found with a Google search.

With the thought that either or both pages may not remain online forever, I have provided a link to a screen shot of Mr. Kinahan’s “official” page here, and of the unlinked page containing the abortion reference here.

Throughout the campaign, the highly divisive issue of abortion was a potential time bomb waiting to go off for the Wildrose Party. It reared its head often enough that Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith issued a statement insisting her party “has absolutely no intentions of legislating on abortion, and that includes delisting.”

The short press release also tried to sidestep the party’s position on so-called citizen initiatives, which could be used to try to impose anti-abortion laws by referendum. “Citizen initiative is and has always been an important part of the Wildrose platform,” Ms. Smith said then. “However, any initiative must first be vetted by a federally appointed judge to determine whether or not it is constitutional.”

Media coverage at the time described Ms. Smith as dodging questions about her views on delisting, and Mr. Kinahan was criticized for failing to show up at a forum sponsored by a group representing gay, lesbian and transgendered citizens. At the time, Mr. Kinahan dismissed the criticism as ridiculous and explained his absence as “simply a scheduling conflict on that date.”

It would be pointless to speculate on why Mr. Kinahan, a Coaldale resident who is principal of a Catholic high school in nearby Taber and a former negotiating sub-committee representative for the Alberta Teachers Association, has two different pages on health policy on his website.

The page with the “de-funding” reference may simply have been a draft that was not deleted. Whatever the reason, however, it indicates this particular candidate’s position on the controversial issue.

The Wildrose Party’s position on abortion and several similar issues was carefully phrased to send a reassuring message to the general public but to acknowledge the party’s awareness of the issue to hard-core social conservatives who were among the party’s strongest supporters. Repeatedly, the party’s precisely worded policy statements left the door ajar to policy directions that would have been strongly opposed by most voters.

This is a strategy that has been used effectively for years by far-right politicians in the United States, and it should not surprise us that parties like the Wildrose in Alberta and the so-called Conservative Party of Prime Minister Stephen Harper have adopted many of the same techniques.

Notwithstanding Ms. Smith’s carefully phrased denial and her statements that she personally supported choice on abortion, it is said here that Mr. Kinahan’s unlinked statement on the policy of cutting public funds for abortion services reflected the true policy intentions of the Wildrose Party.

Certainly it is entirely consistent with Mr. Kinahan’s sincere views expressed on his unlinked web page and Ms. Smith’s market-fundamentalist desire, notwithstanding her stated support for choice on abortion, to take many medical services out of the public system and hand them to for-profit private operators.

On election night, Mr. Kinahan was defeated by Progressive Conservative candidate Greg Weadick and also outpolled by New Democrat Shannon Phillips.

This post also appears on Rabble.ca.

6 Comments on "A little nugget from the past: Wildrose candidate’s abortion position"

  1. Alex P says:

    That page may have been un-linked on the presumption that the magic Google robot will not see it. Not an unusual mistake to make.

    Of course, if I flash a Rorschach card at you, and another, and another and all you say is “abortion” that might indicate something. Repeated denials are a test, too.

  2. Filostrato says:

    Stealth messaging from the Wildrosies – I am shocked…shocked. Do they have secret code words which inform their base what they’re really thinking?

    Meanwhile in gerrymandered Con country around here, the latest dispatches from the borders of insanity flowed into the P.O. boxes a few days ago from the local Harper representative. In EXTREMELY LARGE TYPE and words of one syllable or less when possible, made to appeal to the base, no doubt, he decried the GOLD-PLATED REFUGEE HEALTH CARE and how wonderful it was that the Cons where going to get rid of that as soon as possible.

    Christopher Majka pointed out in his blog entry on rabble.ca, Mr. Climenhaga’s home away from home, that this care would cost Canadians the grand total of $0.59 per capita.

    Refugees from persecution, violence and terrible living conditions needing health care? What could those Canadians be thinking?

    “If they’d rather die then perhaps they had better do so and decrease the surplus population.” – Ebenezer Scrooge.

    I’m going to be banned from the post office lobby if I get any more of these rage-invoking messages from the local M.P. and actually say out loud what I’m thinking. Then again, I might find a chorus of agreement. In the southern region of this vast electoral district, adjacent to Kingston, the locals didn’t vote Con or Reform.

  3. Kelley says:

    Dave
    You are trult an idiot.
    Now, don’t you have some complaints to lodge to the state afgainst rfree seech?

  4. Holly Stick says:

    I think Danielle Smith was in favour of delisting abortion some years ago, though she may have changed her mind. From 2009:

    “…On the issue of abortion funding, Dyrholm has said he’d support asking party members to consider a policy delisting the medical procedure, except in rare circumstances. Smith, who is pro-choice, also supports requiring women to pay for abortions in most circumstances, but has said she won’t push the party to adopt such a policy… ”

    http://www.anticorruption.ca/forum/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=8770

  5. Alex P says:

    Speaking of Gold Plated Refuge Healthcare: A new low for refugees in Canada http://goo.gl/NQb9x (Toronto Star)

    Luckily for Prime Minister Wile E Coyote, the Tea Party wing of the Canadian electorate think someone is stealing from them,and that someone is probably darker than a hamburger bun. They’ve been having trouble with immigrants ever since they came to this country.

    • Filostrato says:

      The story about the young man from Guatemala is enough to break your heart. It’s unlikely to affect most of the Cons, though. I don’t think they have hearts or the emotions that go with them.

      As far as the Don’t-Confuse-Me-with-Facts Party is concerned, medical professionals of all types simply don’t know what they’re talking about. Important decisions on these matters should be made by people with high-school education as their highest qualification, no work experience, no family, no experience of other countries before viewing them from inside the Con bubble and no knowledge of health care matters whatsoever. This makes people like Mr. Kenney fantastically qualified to decide who lives and who dies in this country.

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