A national anti-abortion group has endorsed St. Albert’s Conservative candidate for his views on abortion.
The Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) is a national lobby group that opposes abortion and health care funding for it.
St. Albert-Edmonton Conservative candidate Michael Cooper is one of the roughly 86 candidates endorsed by the coalition because of their views on abortion.
The endorsement was highlighted Thursday by PressProgress, a media project of the Broadbent Institute that covers issues such as social equality and reproductive rights
The PressProgress report found 10 Alberta Conservative candidates that had been endorsed by the coalition, one of which was Cooper.
Matthew Wojciechowski, CLC spokesperson, described his group as “the political arm of the pro-life movement” and non-denominational, although most of its members were Christian.
Wojciechowski said the CLC regularly polls federal candidates to determine their views on abortion and other issues, and encourages its members to vote and volunteer for candidates that support the group’s views.
He confirmed that the group had not provided any direct support to the Cooper campaign aside from its evaluation of him on its website.
The CLC’s website lists candidates in ridings across Canada and gives them a red, yellow or green light recommendation (representing not supportable, caution and supportable).
It incorrectly lists Peter Johnston, Kevin Taron and Brian LaBelle as candidates running in St. Albert-Edmonton – they ran in the 2011 election. It correctly lists the candidates for Sturgeon River-Parkland, but does not list Independent candidate Chris Austin.
Cooper and Christian Heritage Party candidate Ernest Chauvet are the only candidates listed as having responded directly to the coalition’s survey. Both were evaluated as “supportable.” Chauvet is listed as having responded to the survey in 2015, while Cooper responded on Sept. 24, 2014.
“Cooper has been actively involved in the pro-life movement for many years and is known to CLC leaders,” the website said.
Note that Cooper did not officially announce his intent to run for the Conservatives in this election until Oct. 23, 2014.
Cooper and Chauvet both said “yes” when asked if life began at conception and if they would support laws that would result in protection for unborn human life. They replied “no” when asked if there were any circumstances where a woman should have access to an abortion (the question said that treatments to save a woman’s life that unintentionally caused a fetal death were not abortions).
While Chauvet said “yes” to questions asking if he would oppose euthanasia and try to pass laws to protect unborn children from the time of fertilization if elected, Cooper did not issue responses to those questions.
Independent candidate Brent Rathgeber is given a yellow light and listed as “educable” based on his voting record. Brendon Greene, Travis Dueck, and Guy Desforges are listed as “not supportable” based on their party platforms. Conservative candidate Rona Ambrose is listed as “evaluation pending.”
Cooper could not be reached for an interview as of press time, but Richard Plain, his campaign manager, noted that the Conservatives allow their candidates to hold whatever views on abortion they want. When it comes to abortion policy, though, their position is clear.
“The prime minister has been absolutely crystal clear: they are not going to reopen the abortion debate,” Plain said.