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This article was published 15/5/2012 (3410 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
OTTAWA -- Turns out, Manitoba Conservative MP Merv Tweed is balancing concerns from his constituents on both sides of the abortion debate.
Tweed introduced a petition this week asking the government not to interfere with a woman's right to choose. Tweed, who has represented Brandon-Souris since 2004, tabled the petition Monday.
"Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present... a petition respectfully requesting the House of Commons not to introduce any legislation that would restrict either the right or access to abortion services in Canada," he said.
That follows three petitions introduced in March and early May calling on the government to do the opposite.
"Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition from people from western Manitoba," Tweed said March 12. "The petitioners note that Canada is the only nation in the western world, in the company of China and North Korea, without any laws restricting abortion. Therefore, they call upon the House of Commons and Parliament to assemble and speedily enact legislation that restricts abortion to the greatest extent possible."
That petition had nearly 100 signatures collected by the Brandon League for Life.
Tweed introduced two other petitions to restrict abortion in early May.
Tweed did not respond to requests for an interview Tuesday. But in an interview earlier this month, Tweed explained he feels compelled to represent constituents regardless of whether he agrees with what they say.
"I think it's my responsibility that when constituents have issues they are concerned about and are willing to go to the length of creating and developing a petition, I feel it's part of my job to see that everyone's voice gets heard," Tweed told the Brandon Sun.
He did not say how he stands on the issue or how he plans to vote on an upcoming motion seeking to have Parliament appoint a committee to consider when a fetus becomes a human being.
Ontario Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth introduced the motion. It could be voted on later this month.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has repeatedly said his government has no plans to reopen the abortion debate, despite heavy lobbying from some party supporters. Harper said April 26 he will vote against Woodworth's motion.
Manitoba NDP MP Niki Ashton said the government is clearly reopening the debate despite Harper's claims.
"It's their Trojan Horse agenda and they're clearly playing all sides," she said. "But the fact is that they have reopened the debate."