A Tory MP from Ontario is backing away from recent comments in which he encouraged voters not to elect Conservative candidates who oppose anti-abortion measures.
Kyle Seeback, the MP for Brampton West who will seek re-election in the new riding of Brampton South, told a national conference held by the Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) on April 6 that he used to advise people to vote Conservative in order to push for anti-abortion policies. But he doesn't feel that way anymore.
Seeback went on to say that if campaigners don't have an MP in their area who is anti-abortion then they should "go work somewhere else" and support a candidate who agrees with them.
"Because I'm telling you, we're going to need it. The ones who are pro-life, we're going to need it. It doesn't matter if they're Liberal or Conservative," he said.
But in an email to The Huffington Post Canada on Wednesday, Seeback said he supports the "re-election of the Prime Minister and all of my caucus colleagues even though we may not agree on all issues."
"Any suggestion that my own personal views on this means I don't support my colleagues is wrong."
Harper has said he supports the status quo on abortion rights and that Canadians do not want to reopen debate on the issue. Seeback told the conference that he has repeatedly come up against his own party when it comes to abortion issues.
In one case, he said he was told that voting in favour of Stephen Woodworth's Motion 312, which called for a study on the definition of a human being in the Criminal Code, would be tantamount to voting against the prime minister.
The motion was defeated, though 87 Conservatives and four Liberals voted in favour.
Seeback also recounted a phone call from a party official who told him not to fill out a CLC questionnaire during an election "or there will be consequences."
The MP told the official he would sign it anyway.
Ultimately, Seeback told proponents of anti-abortion legislation to find candidates who can be their "torchbearers" in different ridings and to sign up members to support them.
"Please look where you live, support your pro-life candidates," he urged his audience. "If they don't have one, get someone."
Several Tory backbenchers have long been disgruntled about Harper's stance on abortion rights in Canada. Over the last three years, Woodworth and fellow Tory MPs Maurice Vellacott, Mark Warawa and Brad Trost have repeatedly drawn attention to the issue.
Rona Ambrose, the minister for the Status of Women, faced heated criticism after voting for Woodworth's motion. Ministers Jason Kenney, Peter Van Loan, Julian Fantino, Gerry Ritz, Gail Shea, Ed Fast, Diane Ablonczy and Alice Wong all voted for it as well.
Like this article? Follow our Facebook pageOr follow us on TwitterFollow @HuffPostCanada