The Tories, like any other political party, are no stranger to voting against motions that don't fit in with the party's mandate. But it's not often Stephen Harper's Conservatives have been told to vote against a controversial motion proposed by one of their own MPs.
The tension stems from a motion that has the Tories, along with many Canadians, worried that the debate over abortion could be reignited. It's known as Motion 312 and it calls for a formal committee to consult specialists on the definition of when a human life begins. Currently in Canada, a fetus is defined as a human once it leaves the birth canal.
The Prime Minister has repeatedly said that his party would not look into the matter, citing he would be breaking the party's promise not to reopen the debate on abortion.
"This motion was deemed voteable by an all-party committee of the House. I think that's unfortunate. In my case I will be voting against the motion," said Harper in in the House of Commons during an April session according to The Canadian Press. That hasn't stopped Stephen Woodworth, MP for Kitchener-Centre and the motion's founder, from pursuing his quest to have the definition of a human being re-examined.
The motion will however, be delayed until the fall. It was announced today in Parliament that the motion was swapped with the Liberal MP Scott Brison's until the fall due to an illness in Woodworth's family.
“What it comes down to is that my mother is dying,” the Kitchener Centre MP said in a telephone interview. “She’s 90 and I understand that is has to happen but the circumstances of it are not nice and it has really weighed me down so I am trying to ease up a little on the work side," said Woodworth in an interview with the Globe And Mail.
The issue has reached the point where the Prime Minister's Office has issued a reminder to the Conservative caucus members that a vote to support fellow Conservative MP Woodworth's bill is a vote against Harper's wishes.
It's a tactic that's creating pressure to keep the the party unified on the matter but also aims to sway inexperienced MPs, those on the fence on the issue, as well as anyone in the party aspiring to climb the ranks to fall in line, according to a Globe and Mail article.
Pro-life advocates on the other hand, are siding with Woodworth.
"When all that is at stake is a discussion, then I believe to say no to the discussion is to say we will not have free speech on this issue," said Andrea Mrozek, a spokeswoman for the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada in an interview with Sun News.
Pro-life advocates may get their wish as the Prime Minister's Office is allowing a free vote on the matter. Motion 312 is up for debate on Thursday while the vote on it with be next Thursday. The motion is non-binding.