Green Party drops anti-abortion candidate in Ontario riding

The Green Party of Canada is dropping its candidate in the eastern Ontario riding of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell for comments she made online about abortion.

Spokesperson John Chenery said the party voted Sunday night to remove Marthe Lépine and asked her to cease representing herself as a Green candidate. However, the party missed the deadline to remove her name from the ballot.

Chenery wouldn’t elaborate on the comments that led to Lépine’s dismissal but confirmed to CBC they had to do with her anti-abortion views.

Lépine said she leaves comments on Catholic blogs but insisted they are innocuous.

“My Catholic view is that abortion is a bad thing,” she said. “I understand some people feel like they have no real choice … it should be avoided as much as possible.”

Lépine said the party told her by phone last night she was being dropped over her values, but she terminated the call before before the party official could elaborate.

“I think it’s basically flagrant discrimination because I’m Catholic, so they’re afraid I’d say something that upsets them.”

It’s not the first time the party has had to deal with anti-abortion views in the ranks during this campaign.

Chatham-Kent-Leamington candidate Mark Vercouteren was forced to answer questions about anti-abortion statements he made in two Campaign Life Coalition questionnaires — in one case as recently as the 2018 Ontario provincial election campaign.

Vercouteren told CBC he “doesn’t remember” making those comments.

The Green Party issued a statement early on in the campaign insisting there is “zero chance” of an elected Green MP reopening the abortion debate.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May told Power & Politics that elected members of her party would not be prevented from trying to reopen the debate on abortion in the next Parliament, despite her own stated belief that “a woman has a right to a safe, legal abortion.”