Next N.L. premier maintains personal views not driving political agenda
The lone candidate remaining in the PC leadership race is attempting to end speculation suggesting his eventual actions as premier will negatively affect a woman’s right to choose an abortion.
“I do not have any intention to dictate any change in any current public funding models or any policy that would have a negative impact on the rule of law with respect to abortion in this province,” Frank Coleman told
The Telegram late Monday evening.
“I don’t intend to find ways to exact any control over people’s choices. That’s not me, and I don’t intend to impose my views on people.”
Coleman confirmed last week in an interview with The Telegram he has attended the Right to Life event every year. He could not attend last Friday due to travel commitments.
In a statement released last Friday, Coleman said his family’s participation in the event “is a result of shared beliefs on the value of every human life.”
After news broke on Good Friday of his family’s participation in the walk, social media debate swirled, with many wondering whether Coleman’s views on abortion would inform his work as premier. The story has since attracted national media attention.
Coleman’s future as the next premier of Newfoundland and Labrador was more-or-less confirmed last week after Bill Barry, the first person to formally declare his candidacy for the PC leadership, announced he was quitting the leadership race.
A spokesman for a Newfoundland and Labrador group advocating for restrictions to abortion access said Monday Coleman’s position of power could present an opportunity for the pro-life, anti-abortion movement.
“The pro-life movement is certainly gaining momentum, and when we see an individual such as Frank Coleman stepping forward, we see this as a good thing,” said Patrick Hanlon of Pro-Life Newfoundland and Labrador. “We certainly welcome all pro-life politicians and look to them as hope for the future.”
However, Hanlon also indicated Coleman appears to be at odds with himself on the matter.
“We believe he still is intrinsically pro-life, but why he would make such a statement — it is puzzling. We believe that you cannot hold one view privately and another view publicly if you have a good informed conscience.”
In Coleman’s view, taking part in an event such as the Right to Life walk is not an entirely political gesture.
“You may call that political, but it’s also sort of support for saying that there are options that exist,” he said, speaking with The Telegram by phone from Toronto, where he was attending business meetings.
Asked about the the interest his views on abortion have attracted publicly, Coleman stated he has not shied away from the issue since it was first brought up.
“It’s an emotionally charged issue that has society debating the issue on all sides. I certainly don’t look down in any kind of negative way on people who have a different view than I do.”
At a point in time where most people in Newfoundland and Labrador are still in the early stages of getting to know the man who will most likely become the next premier, Coleman hopes the public is ready to move on to other issues.
“I obviously am a pro-life supporter. I believe in what I believe in and I’m not ashamed of it. I think that if the people of the province can accept that I have a personal view and still consider that there are other issues that I am being elected to act on, then I think that’s a good thing.”