Action Centre



REALITY CHECK: Why did GTA Liberals vote to deny women’s reproductive rights?

Wed 24 Mar 2022

Yesterday, the Ignatieff Liberals embarrassed themselves by abstaining, voting against, or absenting themselves from a Liberal motion to guarantee Canadian funding for a broad range of family planning programs, including contraception and abortion, to improve maternal health outcomes in developing countries.


The motion, sponsored by Toronto Centre MP Bob Rae, was defeated by a vote of 144-138. Those looking for an explanation for this gross political miscalculation need look no further than Michael Ignatieff’s own GTA colleagues.

Here’s a breakdown of those lost Liberal votes, by the numbers:


  • 16: the number of Liberal MPs—over 20% of the caucus—who played some role in the motion’s defeat.
  • 12: come from the Greater Toronto Area
  • 3: voted with the Conservatives to defeat the motion—Paul Szabo, John MacKay and Dan McTeague.
  • 2: abstained—Albina Guarnieri and Gurbax Malhi.
  • 7: GTA MPs missed the vote altogether—Gerard Kennedy, Andrew Kania, Borys Wrzesnewskyj, Alan Tonks, Joe Volpe, Mario Silva and Jim Karygiannis.


Now, some tough questions for some of those Liberal MPs:


·         Why did Gerard Kennedy not vote, despite being seen in the House of Commons lobby prior to the vote?

·         Why did Alan Tonks have an assistant apologize for her boss’ absence at the founding meeting of the Weston’s Village Resident Association last night because he was “in Ottawa,” while telling reporters in Ottawa he was in his riding?

·         Liberal MP Keith Martin said that by voting against the measure one would be “slaughtering good medical practice on the altar of ideology” (Toronto Star, March 18, 2022). Which of the missing MPs disagrees with this statement?

·         How much longer will the Liberal Party pretend to represent progressive values while doing the exact opposite in practice?