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The how and why of Bryan Hayes' vote on Motion 312

Friday, September 28, 2012   by: Darren Taylor

Sault Ste. Marie Member of Parliament Bryan Hayes was one of 91 MPs who voted in favour of Motion 312 Wednesday evening in the House of Commons.

Motion 312, introduced by Kitchener-Centre Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth, asked for the establishment of a parliamentary committee to re-examine the declaration in the Criminal Code of Canada which states a child becomes a human being only at the moment of birth.

The Motion was defeated 203-91 in a free vote.

Pro-choice advocates feared Motion 312 was an attempt to reopen the abortion debate, threatening the right to choose.

However, Woodworth stated his bill was only to examine modern scientific and legal information to determine if a fetus should be officially declared a child earlier than birth.
Hayes told “From my perspective, all that was being asked for was the formation of a committee to look at a 400-year-old piece of legislation. It's really that simple.”

He continued: “In my opinion, the formation of a committee does not pre-conclude what the results or recommendations that come forward from that committee might be. So I think it's reasonable that a committee have some respectful dialogue around this piece of legislation. Obviously the committee was going to be tasked with some responsibilities within their realm as a committee, so when I looked at those responsibilities I thought it reasonable that those questions they would be tasked to answer deserved dialogue.”

Hayes said he had asked constituents for input on how to vote on his website.

“I had approximately 700 responses on my website, and I basically put the legislation on there and asked as your MP: 'Should I support this legislation?' I was looking for an overwhelming majority one way or another, and the reality was it was split right down the middle.”

“Historically, it's been quite divisive,” he explained. “When I saw it split right down the middle, I thought ‘OK, it's going to have to be my decision, I’ll vote my conscience', so that’s what I did.”

87 Tories and four Liberals voted in favour of Motion 312, with the NDP voting unanimously against it.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper voted against the motion.

Among the 87 Tories who voted in favour were some high profile cabinet ministers, including Jason Kenney, Peter Van Loan and Rona Ambrose.

Pro-choice supporters criticized Ambrose in particular, as she is minister for the status of women.

Hayes told us: “People are trying to say that she discarded the right of women to choose, and I don’t believe that. Rona Ambrose voted her conscience, and that’s what free votes are about.”

Hayes concluded: “Our government has gone on record as stating we will not revisit the abortion debate, but this piece of legislation states that a child is not a human being before the moment of birth. The definition of when someone is officially declared a human being is 400-year-old legislation, and I think conversation needed to occur as to whether or not that piece of legislation makes sense today.”

Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
Dictionary 9/28/2012 11:52:14 AM Report

OMGWTF 9/28/2012 12:20:04 PM Report

Why in the world does the bills' sponsor need Parliament's consent/vote to investigate information that he said "was out there" eg in the public domain? Sounds like it was a lame attempt to posture the potential results for part 2 of their "plan" which could be legislation, depending on the results. This is back door politics and Hayes should know better, or is that naive?
learningaswego 9/28/2012 1:13:39 PM Report

That is way, way, too logical, reasonable and rational response for the lefty crowd, Mr Hayes.

In the lefty world, if you even dare to suggest talking about something - even a law as old as that one - that the lefty's immediate and unchangeable response is to froth with outrage and scream "FOUL"; and that you must be "anti" something....women, children, immigrants, gays, sunshine, chocolate....pick any one.
Of course the mainly leftist, Harper-hate-on Canadian media, is always ready and willing to support the lefty "outrage" wherever they can.
RLE 9/28/2012 2:13:29 PM Report


Maybe it's time you and "the haze" recognized the fact this is the 21st century and women have the right to make decisions regarding their bodies w/o some grey haired male old fart interfering.

I know how "the haze" spun it but he's still back in the era that believes men know best.

Even his boss isn't that much of a dinosaur
BlackHelix 9/28/2012 2:51:58 PM Report


relax. No one is "frothing" with outrage, but if you think this has NOTHING to do with abortion you don't know how the political system works. Otherwise why would anyone care? Talking about legislation (especially old laws) is great - but what is the purpose of "talking" about the definition of a human being?

If this really is a such a simple issue according to Brian Hays, why would he ask his constituents what he should do.....So he wants to know if he should or not talk about an certain issue? It only makes sense when you realize that it's not the conversation - it's the pretext to conversation that's the problem.

And one is arbitrarily "picking" an issue to be concerned with. Last time I checked, the "lefties" didn't have a secret debate on whether this was about chocolate, sunshine or women's rights. That's ridiculous. We all know what this is about.
Nunavut 9/28/2012 3:26:32 PM Report

I am glad Bryan voted the way he did. The bill was just asking for a debate on when life begins, or in other words ,when does a person become a Canadian citizen ? …..Rather important considering if science and other debate shows that is before they stick there toe out of the womb, then we would need to consider protecting that life . Heck we have laws protecting loon eggs but we don’t have laws for humans . Even many of the most left wing European countries have defined that much. Canada left that gap open, so much so that in theory a husband who kicks the life out of his 9 month pregnant wife would only be charged with one count of murder not two.
Is it possible that the left wing prochoice folks are afraid of the answer the debate would have and are feeling guilty on how little they are protecting all those female babies almost born, while they are wanting the convenience of control over their own female bodies ?
ArtGalleryofAlgoma 9/28/2012 3:45:53 PM Report

This is so disappointing, that an intelligent person can feel reasonably justified in taking this position when:

- he is unqualified to speak (being neither a doctor nor a scientist)
- and the goal of the discussion has at its core the imposition of a religious point of view on 'unbelievers.'

With all due respect Mr. Hayes, you are as qualified to participate in formulating "results or recommendations that come forward from that committee" as I am to contribute to recommendations on how to put a spaceship on Mars.
speed7 9/28/2012 4:47:18 PM Report

Maybe brian might pass a motion312 tax on unborn babies... that should fix all our economic woes.... Double the tax revenue for every pregnant citizen... what a joke Form a commitee? Dont get me wrong I am pro life but this just really sounds stupid and waiste of time money and energy.
Neon_Angel 9/28/2012 9:43:42 PM Report


You can also add that his position was established based on a "vote" off his website. Maybe someone could let Brian know that science is - by very definition, NOT a democratic process.
W. Yote 9/29/2012 9:37:03 AM Report

Anyone who says life doesn't begin before actual birth is just scared of facing reality. How can we turn a blind eye to the fact that our current laws were established with this premise?

Sure women have the right to control there own bodies, but at what point is there some consideration given to the other person in the mix?

This has nothing to do with women knowing what's best for their bodies, that is a cop-out excuse. You people do realize that a growing problem in Canada is "sex selection" through abortion. And guess what, the female fetuses are most likely to be terminated! Today women can find a clinic in Canada that will abort at any stage for any (no) reason. That's scary.
speed7 9/29/2012 8:45:05 PM Report

sex selection throught abortion? please explain? Not sure what you are saying?

learningaswego 9/29/2012 9:09:15 PM Report

Simply- if or when the parent(s) learn the gender of the fetus, and decide to terminate the pregnancy if it is not the desired gender. For example, in some cultures it is quite common to terminate when the fetus is a female.
speed7 9/29/2012 11:32:52 PM Report

Thanks learningaswego, that is kind of what I thought. Just shocked in thinking anyone would actually do that for that reason. Our world is very screwed up it seems. Adoption should be the way to go, you would think?
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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