Liberals put emphasis on woman's right to choose

Published May 10, 2014

Anyone who does not support abortion rights is not welcome to run for the federal Liberal Party in the 2015 election, says leader Justin Trudeau.

The bombshell announcement to bar candidates who don't support a woman's right to choose to have an abortion could dash the comeback hopes of several previously defeated Liberals.

The only exception is for incumbent members of Parliament, even those sharing the belief that abortion is morally wrong.

Trudeau, who said the party has been supportive of abortion rights since 2012, does not believe a government should regulate what happens with a woman and her body.

"I have made it clear that future candidates need to be completely understanding that they will be expected to vote pro-choice on any bills," Trudeau said.

Canada's Supreme Court struck down the country's abortion law as unconstitutional in 1988.

Two topless women disrupted an anti-abortion rally Thursday by thousands of people on Parliament Hill when they rushed the stage shouting "my body, my rules."

In another controversial stand, Trudeau earlier called for the decriminalization of marijuana.

Magna not planning new auto-parts plants

Magna International says it has no plans to open any new auto-parts plants in Ontario, citing soaring electricity rates, even with a lower dollar.

The company, which has 46 plants in the province, is also concerned about the cost of an Ontario pension plan proposed by the Liberals seeking re-election next month, said chief executive Don Walker. It plans to open 23 new plants elsewhere this year.

Meanwhile, Chrysler has ended talks with the federal and Ontario governments about incentives to expand its plants in Windsor, where it is dropping production of the Grand Caravan, and Brampton.

CEO Sergio Marchionne said he isn't seeking government aid as a condition for further investment because "I don't want politicians to screw around with the capital expenditure program."

News in brief

• Author and environmentalist Farley Mowat, whose books sold more than 17 million copies translated into 52 languages, has died at his home in Port Hope, Ontario. He was 92. The controversial Mowat had been barred from entering the United States by immigration officials for a book tour in the mid 1980s over a security concern.

• There was an unexpected loss of 28,900 net jobs last month across Canada, the biggest one-month employment blow to the economy this year. The unemployment rate remained at 6.9 percent as it was felt many Canadians had given up looking for work. There was a gain of 42,900 net new jobs in March.

• Unilever is closing its plant in Bramalea, Ontario, that makes dry mixes for soups, sauces and other foods by March 2016 with the loss of 280 jobs. The company decided to move production of the Knorr and Lipton brands to its plant in Independence, Mo., instead of spending the money to upgrade the Canadian operation.

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Facts and figures

Canada's dollar has advanced to 91.76 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.0897 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.

The Bank of Canada's key interest rate is steady at 1 percent while the prime-lending rate is 3 percent.

Stock markets are lower with the Toronto exchange index at 14,522 points and the TSX Venture index at 982 points.

The average price of a liter of gasoline in Canada is lower at $1.3544 (Canadian).

Lotto 6-49: (May 7) 4, 7, 12, 20, 40 and 49; bonus 14. (May 3) 1, 7, 11, 17, 27 and 47; bonus 34. Lotto Max: (May 2) 6, 15, 18, 19, 25, 44 and 46; bonus 28.

Regional briefs

• A panel reviewing the proposed "Site C" dam in northern British Columbia said there will be significant adverse effects to fish and wildlife along with health and social risks. The panel said, however, that construction of the $8 billion dam on the Peace River is the least expensive of alternatives to provide new energy resources.

• Maritime humorist and author Andy MacDonald has died at age 96 in Sackville, New Brunswick. His popular books of Cape Breton comedic lore included Bread and Molasses and Don't Slip on the Soap. He was also known for his roadside attraction called "Andy's Dummies," hand-made, satirical caricatures of celebrities and politicians.

Jim Fox can be reached at