Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join in the debate on Bill C-13 dealing with reproductive technology on which many people have waxed eloquently in this chamber on many occasions. I feel it is only appropriate that I add my voice to this very controversial and contentious yet extremely important debate.
It seems to me, when I take a look at the bill, that members of the government have not truly figured out where babies come from. Perhaps they still believe in the stork. They seem to differentiate between the way that we deal with embryos and life before birth and life after birth. I think that is totally wrong on the Liberals' part. I can understand their whole motivation because it seems to be the way that they do things.
Let us start with adults. Before adults, they were children. Before children, they were babies. Before they were babies, they were babies waiting to be born. Before they were fetuses, they were eggs and sperm. It is a fairly simple process of a continuum leading, hopefully once we reach old age, to death and the life hereafter, however we believe in that. The point is there is a continuum from inception all the way through gestation to birth and life.
We all know it has been the government's policy to leave a vacuum and to wait for the courts to fill that vacuum before it acts. Then the Liberals will say that society has moved in a certain direction and they just have to legitimize it through legislation. We have seen that on the same sex marriage issue that is currently being debated in the country.
We could go back a number of years to when the abortion agenda was fought at great length. The debate was heated. Finally the government of the day under Mr. Brian Mulroney said it did not know what to do as it could not come to a consensus, so it left a vacuum and the courts filled it. Today abortion is something that is just a normal occurrence. It happens hundreds of times across Canada each and every day.
Here we are again. The government wants to leave a vacuum in the legislation so that researchers can be allowed to use embryos as if they were just specimens cut from a piece of flesh and do their research and testing as if there were no consequences whatsoever. There are many Canadians who believe that human embryos are life in transition, life in the evolution to being a full born baby. As the previous speaker pointed out, we would never hand over our babies for research. We would never allow our babies to be slaughtered for research, although it did happen once before in history and many people died in order to put a stop to that.
Again here there is the notion that embryos, life in the womb, life before birth, are now going to be used by researchers just as another commodity. That debases all life and if it debases all life, it debases us, those who were elected to lead and make decisions on behalf of all Canadians. If we allow life to be debased, where does it stop? What do we stand on? Where do we stand? Do we believe in the right of every Canadian to freedom or only those who have been born?
The government has refused time after time to provide legislative protection for life before birth. It has always struck me as unexplainable that the day before a baby is born it can be aborted, and that is the end of that, yet if somebody kills it the day after it is born it is murder and subject to life in prison; 25 years and no parole. It is two days apart: the day before birth and the day after birth. What was different? Nothing was different in my opinion.
The government tends to leave human embryos before birth totally without legal protection of any kind whatsoever. The more the government allows this vacuum to remain, the more science starts to use these embryos for research and the more it becomes an everyday occurrence the more we just say “Well it is already here so let it happen”.
What does this place stand for if it is not as the voice of the nation, speaking out not only for those who are alive today but those who are being born today.
It reminds me of something, more on abortion than on embryos. I listened to Cross Country Checkup a few years ago when there was a debate on abortion. I believe it was Rex Murphy who had a panel of young people. One young gentleman said on the radio that life had been tough for him. He had a single mother and he grew up with nothing to speak of, no affluence or prosperity. They struggled along but he said that he was really glad that his mother had decided not to abort him. Even though life had been tough, he said that he would rather have that than no life at all.
Now that abortion has become commonplace, if we do not stop this now, embryos for research will become commonplace.
Do they feel pain? I do not know. I am not in the medical science business. However if they do feel pain and we start taking knives to them and doing whatever else we do to them, I cannot imagine the horrors we would be inflicting upon these embryos. We leave it to science and to the scientists who are performing these research tests to tell us whether they believe that an embryo can feel pain. When it is still at the very early cell state, perhaps not, but I am sure later on the pain actually becomes something that they can feel. I would imagine that it is not something that switches on, on a particular day. I would think it is something that evolves over time during the gestation period, and the concept of pain becomes something that an embryo can deal with.
Where does this human research stop and where does it start? What is allowable and what is not?
Going way back to the dawn of history, I think we realized that life begins before birth and therefore I think it is more in line that we bring in protection for life before birth, rather than allow it to be on the researchers' tables so that they can examine these cells underneath the microscope.
We do not know what is going to happen. We should always err on the side of caution. We should always err on the side of Canadians born and unborn, potentially born. To allow this type of process to become a normal process would be debasing to our society.