Setting the record straight on a matter of misinformation that seems to come up.
In September, 2012, the House of Commons was presented with a vote on Motion 312.
As was clearly stated on my website at the time, I was committed as an elected representative to present all petitions given to me, whether or not I agreed with the petitions.
(Complete Text of Whig-Standard Article)
MP faces online backlash over petition
By Danielle VandenBrink, Kingston Whig-Standard, Thursday, September 20, 2012 1:05:11 EDT PM
KINGSTON - Local Member of Parliament Ted Hsu faced a backlash Wednesday after he presented a petition in the House of Commons in
support of a controversial motion that could challenge the legal basis for abortion in Canada.
Motion 312 – presented by Kitchener-Centre MP Stephen Woodworth – calls on the government to create a standing committee to review a section in the Criminal Code that states a child becomes a human being only after the birth is completed. The motion would require a committee to examine whether medical evidence exists in support of the current definition, and what legal impact and consequences the current definition has on the “fundamental human rights” of an unborn child.
On Twitter Wednesday afternoon, Jamie Masse, former campaign manager for New Democrat candidate Mary Rita Holland, criticized Hsu for presenting a petition in support of Motion 312. “Shame (Kingston and the Islands) Liberal MP @tedhsu just presented a petition in support of #M312, he needs to clarify his stance on this attack to women's rights,” he said. Shortly after, Masse again tweeted a comment aimed at Hsu.
“@tedhsu state your position on #M312, charges women with murder if they choose to abort, after you presented a petition in support,” he wrote.
That ignited comments from other users questioning Hsu’s stance on the motion. “Can't believe @tedhsu supports M312, which would charge women for murder if they have an abortion. Please clarify (& prove me wrong),” said one user.
Hsu was quick to reply to concerns on social media, where he explained the petition had been presented on behalf of Kingston residents.
“My job as MP includes presenting every petition to the House from constituents independent of my position and that's my policy,” Hsu said.
In an interview with The Whig-Standard, Hsu said he’s surprised how quickly the original comments sparked controversy. “My job is to present each petition that is sent to me whether I agree with it or not,” he said. “People who send me a petition expect me to present it before Parliament. It’s a way for their voice to be heard.” Hsu pointed to a section on his website that outlines his policy on presenting petitions, which is available to the public.
In a blog post on May 3, Hsu shared his stance on Motion 312.
“The Liberal Party supports a woman’s right to have a safe and legal abortion. It also allows caucus members to vote their conscience on
private member’s business such as Mr. Woodworth’s M-312. I will be voting no on M-312,” he said.
He explained why. “As stated during my election campaign I shall support a woman’s right to choose. At the same time, I believe our society should be doing more to address a number of circumstances that bring women and their families to the point where ending a pregnancy seems like their only choice. Making abortion criminal is not going to solve these problems, nor does it absolve us of a responsibility to find practical solutions to the issues of poverty and injustice that are related to those circumstances.”
The Kingston WhigStandard Weighed In: "Shooting the Messenger"
(Text from the Editorial)
" 'As a father of two beautiful daughters I have a deep value for life. I also place a high value on their rights, the rights of all women in Canada and throughout the world. As stated during my election campaign I shall support a woman's right to choose.'
This was one of three things: An attack on Hsu that ignored, or was committed in ignorance of, his clearly documented feelings on the issue; An attack that ignored, or was committed in ignorance of his role as an the [sic] MP; Or an attack committed in full knowledge that Hsu was just fulfilling his role as MP, and in full knowledge that he is unequivocal in his position on abortion rights."
Local Residents Weighed In:
From the Whig-Standard article above and as was stated on my blog almost 4 months in advance of Motion 312's debate:
"In a blog post on May 3, Hsu shared his stance on Motion 312. 'The Liberal Party supports a woman’s right to have a safe and legal abortion. It also allows caucus members to vote their conscience on private member’s business such as Mr. Woodworth’s M-312. I will be voting no on M-312,' he said."
On September 26, 2012, I voted against Motion 312 in the House of Commons.
(Global News, How MP's Voted on M312, September 27, 2012)