Premier-in-waiting clarifies abortion views

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Coleman does not intend to impose beliefs regarding lawful procedure

The man who is months away from becoming Newfoundland and Labrador’s next premier may not like abortion rights, but Frank Coleman says he believes in the rule of law and does not intend to impose his personal views on others.

Frank Coleman. — Telegram file photo

Coleman’s views on abortion rights became a hot topic Friday on social media as people responded to news that his family was attending the Right to Life event in Corner Brook. The event is held annually on Good Friday.

In an interview with The Telegram Thursday, Coleman confirmed he had attended the event in previous years, but would not be in Corner Brook Friday.

“I have attended that every year,” he told The Telegram Thursday. “I’m in Glovertown today, and I’m staying in Gander tonight, and I believe the march is early in the morning or mid-morning, so I won’t be there, simply because I’m in Central Newfoundland.”

Coleman is the lone candidate remaining in the PC leadership race after Corner Brook businessman Bill Barry announced Thursday he is no longer running for the leadership.

In a news release Thursday, the PC Party said Coleman must still be confirmed by delegates as its leader at the July 5 leadership convention, according to the party’s constitution.

Some expressed concerns on Twitter Friday that Coleman’s personal views on abortion may influence decisions made a premier of the province.

Coleman attempted to address such concerns in a message posted to his Twitter account late Friday afternoon.

“I celebrate the fact that we live in a diverse society and I therefore do not seek to impose my personal beliefs on others for respect does not insist on its own way,” he wrote in a statement.

Confirming he has attended the Right to Life walk in Corner Brook previously, Coleman said his family’s participation “is a result of shared beliefs on the value of every human life.” Coleman went on to say he has never sought to impose those views on others and respects “the gift of free will we are all afforded.

“As a leader I believe in the rule of law. It would be weak of me to deny my beliefs and at the same time it is important that people understand I do not intend to impose my personal views. I have too much respect for all the people of this province.”

— With files from James McLeod

telegram@thetelegram.com

Geographic location: Corner Brook, Glovertown, Gander Central Newfoundland

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Recent comments

  • Michael
    April 23, 2014 - 00:15

    The only reason it became a hot topic is because some in the media are very bias and it is my opinion that it was done on purpose to try and destroy Coleman's political repuation which I find to be very sickening. So what if Coleman has prolife views, the last time I checked Canada is a free country! Coleman also said that he wouldn't impose his personal beliefs so those on the pro-choice side need to chill out and relax. Regardless of what a person believes in pro-choice or pro-life one thing that should bother Canadians is that tax dollars shouldn't be used to fund abortions, if someone wants to get an abortion that's their own personal business but they should pay for it themselves unless of course a rape or serious health risk is involved and that person can't afford to pay.

  • Steve
    April 21, 2014 - 11:47

    I am sure that the other parties have members who have Pro Life views including some of their own elected MHAs. At least Mr. Coleman is sincere in his opinion and is in full respect of others be it Pro Choice or Pro Life.

  • Charles
    April 20, 2014 - 16:51

    @ Carolyn, I don't care who you support, But no one has the right to take a unborn child life. Women those days go out get pregnant, Next thing you know they wanted the taxpayers to pay for their mistake. Has they like to call its. They will take the choice from the man. Because the first thing come out their mouths, its my body. One problem with that statement. its take two.Has for being a leader. we just don't have one in any of the three party. Leader will stand and answer question. and give a straight answer, not double talk B/S. plain and simple.

  • Just saying.
    April 20, 2014 - 07:32

    I feel as public policy that any premier representing the public should not be attending pro right to life movement walks while in public office. I think Mr. Coleman already knows this is a sensitive topic in society with opposing views and he should not be representing any opinion as premier. I believe the public for the most part are not concerned about his religion beliefs or opinions on right to life and the office of premier should not be used to advance this cause or any cause that may offend others. I believe Mr. Coleman the public would have a difficult time separating you as premier from your personal life if you walk and support this cause..... Its not good politics. Maybe the more experienced Progressive Conservatives will teach you on how to be a politician in this regard.

  • Bay Nurse
    April 19, 2014 - 16:56

    This shows that he is an ordinary Christian gentleman and can make his own decisions where he wishes to be. I don't think we have communism here yet!

  • realtalk
    April 19, 2014 - 16:30

    Let me make some things clear. 1. Abortion is a human rights issue. NOT a religious one. 2. Currently a women can have an abortion in Canada up to the point it has exited the birth canal. 3. 500 babies were left to die after having been born in Canada over a ten year period since 2008. 4. Choice is great, but that choice ends when another human beings life is involved. 5. Just because something is legal doesn't make it right. 6. The principle of inclusiveness that underpins the pro life message is one you often fail to see, that is protection and support for both mother and child. 7. Most women do not want an abortion. It hurts. 8. We all know by now thanks to modern technology when life begins - inside the womb. 9. Pro life Canadian politicians exist, just some have the guts to own up to it. 10. The pro life agenda is a challenging one and not one that Frank intends to impose on anyone. End of story.

  • Carolyn
    April 19, 2014 - 15:35

    I happen to be an NDP supporter and pro-choice but these comments posted here are ridiculous! Just because he doesn't agree with your views on abortion, you are saying he can't be a good leader??? His position on this topic will not affect his premiership because he won't be able to reverse the supreme court of Canada!!! So I don't understand any point you are trying to make. We shouldn't be so negative or bias against any person because of his/ her beliefs and I thought his statement was sincere and we can all use some sincerity and compassion in today's/ tomorrows government, so let the man have his opinions and you can have yours! Prolife or Prochoice are decisions made by the individual not the premier of NL!!

  • Corporate Psycho
    April 19, 2014 - 09:27

    He seems like he is hiding from the media.

  • Wondering
    April 19, 2014 - 09:23

    Is it proper for a sitting Premier to walk in a pro life movement as a public figure when society has opposing views? My opinion is as premier that person has to represent all life choice views and show the appropriate respect for all. If Mr. Coleman becomes premier it will be interesting how he will represent morality with regard to pro and con life issues publicly and whether he will show it publicly with a walk with pro life each year or maybe he will just go to Grand Falls.

  • Corporate Psycho
    April 19, 2014 - 08:34

    This shows huge inexperience. Danny is going to give him a good talking to.

  • Guy Incognito
    April 19, 2014 - 07:50

    I wonder how the female members of his future party feel about this.... Rookie mistake Frank.....keep your personal views out of public....especially the controversial ones...

  • zippy
    April 19, 2014 - 07:21

    Doesn't Mr. Coleman's wife understand that her actions are being scrutinized, too? This doesn't look go for anyone who plans/wants to be the Premier. Have your opinion, but he needs to be aware that certain events are inappropiate for someone who is running to be a leader of the political party and possible the Premier. He is getting some very bad advice. Maybe Bill Barry should have stayed in the race. . . before taking his ball and going home. `

  • Linda
    April 19, 2014 - 07:03

    Chicken hearted answer. Mr Coleman, I guess more to come..Another joker for the HOA.

  • Greg
    April 19, 2014 - 00:30

    Yet the whole point of the "Right to Life" event is exactly that... to impose the personal beliefs of some onto others. Someone who does not wish to impose their personal beliefs on someone else is, by definition, pro - CHOICE.

  • Virginia Waters
    April 19, 2014 - 00:22

    Mr. Coleman has publicly asserted the view that once a woman becomes pregnant, she should be forced by law to give birth. In 1988, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that any law purporting to impose that view on society was unconstitutional. It is one thing for Frank Coleman - prominent businessman and private citizen - to participate in rallies to protest that decision (unenlightened and futile it might be). It is quite another for Frank Coleman - premier-in-waiting - to say that he would have attended just such a protest in Corner Brook this week were it not for the fact he was travelling. Even if his family has yet to grasp the reality that what they say and do in public henceforth will be scrutinized by the media, surely Mr. Coleman himself must understand the risks of mixing private beliefs with public policy. By publicly re-affirming his stand against abortion, Coleman risks alienating a great many voters - even life-long Tories. It isn't that we should now worry that Coleman - premier of a small province on the political and geographic fringe of Canadea - could somehow convince today's Supreme Court justices that their predecessors erred in their landmark decision back in 1988. That ship has sailed. No, it's because he is sending a signal that he is a strong defender of the old-school patriarchal philosophy that presumes men - and male dominated governments - know better than women what's best for women. We are left to wonder how that personal Coleman philosophy might influence broader public policies that impact women. Is this the start of a rollback of the hard fought gains made by women in this province? It's nice that Mr. Coleman issued a clarification to the effect that he would not attempt to impose his personal views on government. But I would rather that there had not been any bizarre, profoundly disturbing statement by Mr. Coleman in the first place that would need clarification. I would rather that the man who will lead the province for at least the next year would have shown absolute certainty and commitment when it comes to the fundamental rights and freedoms of 50% or more of our citizens.

  • Marty Luther
    April 18, 2014 - 21:41

    In my opinion, individuals mired in the tenets of religious doctrine are by nature unsuited for leadership of a modern, inclusive, multi-cultural/multi-ethnic democracy... in such a democracy separation of church and state is of paramount importance. If such individuals had had their own way back in 1995, NL taxpayers would still be burdened with a divisive, wasteful, sect-based denominational school system . Fortunately, rationality prevailed.

  • Marty Luther
    April 18, 2014 - 21:40

    In my opinion, individuals mired in the tenets of religious doctrine are by nature unsuited for leadership of a modern, inclusive, multi-cultural/multi-ethnic democracy... in such a democracy separation of church and state is of paramount importance. If such individuals had had their own way back in 1995, NL taxpayers would still be burdened with a divisive, wasteful, sect-based denominational school system . Fortunately, rationality prevailed.

  • Artie
    April 18, 2014 - 21:31

    A true Harper Conservative. Family values that can only be attributed to the wealthy.

    • Olivia
      April 19, 2014 - 15:32

      And since when did abortion solve poverty? Never. Do your homework.

  • Corporate Psycho
    April 18, 2014 - 19:31

    Won't impose his own personal beliefs? Yeah right. That's exactly what he will do. The right to life fanatics just found their right wing poster boy. I hope he cleared this with Danny.

  • Seperation of church and state...
    April 18, 2014 - 18:39

    We said "No", to Danny Breen, now we just have to get rid of this Coleman guy. There ain't no progressive in that PC.

  • George
    April 18, 2014 - 17:28

    I conclude from Coleman's statement that the reason why he will not be at the anti-abortion rally is because he is in Central Newfoundland, and also conclude his absence is not because it is inappropriate for a Premier to attend such events.

    • Suzanne Mealey
      April 18, 2014 - 22:49

      It's not inappropriate for a Premier to follow his properly formed conscience.

  • George
    April 18, 2014 - 17:26

    I conclude from Coleman's statement that the reason why he will not be at the anti-abortion rally is because he is in Central Newfoundland, and also conclude his absence is not because it is inappropriate for a Premier to attend such events.

  • The Cave man is home
    April 18, 2014 - 17:09

    Well Mr. Coleman, it is time to slide the rock away from the cave door and get outside for some fresh air. We live in a free society and have worked hard for this freedom even though our Justice Minister has tried his best to change that. This next premier must now be elected as announcing him as our leader is like putting the Pope in charge of the Anglican Church of Canada. Also another prepared statement, while his wife is out using her voice. Go put a pair of pants on Mr. Coleman as what we now already have seen is enough to turn a stomach.

  • The Cave man is home
    April 18, 2014 - 17:04

    Well Mr. Coleman, it is time to slide the rock away from the cave door and get outside for some fresh air. We live in a free society and have worked hard for this freedom even though our Justice Minister has tried his best to change that. This next premier must now be elected as announcing him as our leader is like putting the Pope in charge of the Anglican Church of Canada. Also another prepared statement, while his wife is out using her voice. Go put a pair of pants on Mr. Coleman as what we now already have seen is enough to turn a stomach.

  • Impose Away
    April 18, 2014 - 16:29

    I agree you should not impose view on others. However: How about a person imposing death on aother? How about a man imposing abortion on his female partner wanting to choose life? How about the abortion industy imposing on its victims by not giving complete information about risks and alternatives? The not imposing rule must go both ways and to ensure this, some legiation must be brought in.