OTTAWA, May 8 (UPI) -- Justin Trudeau, leader of Canada's Liberal Party, declared the party officially pro-choice, saying all candidates running for nomination in 2015 must support the party's position on abortion. "Future candidates need to completely understand that they will be expected to vote pro-choice on any bills," Trudeau said after the party's weekly caucus Wednesday in Ottawa. "We are steadfast in our belief ... it is not for any government to legislate what a woman chooses to do with her body, and that is the bottom line."
He added, though, the rule does not apply to Liberal Party members currently in parliament, who he says were vetted under different circumstances. Trudeau insisted the party is committed to open nominations, but all candidates will face a screening process.
Liberal Parliament member John McKay, an abortion opponent, acknowledged Trudeau's policy statement "creates awkward moments. I would prefer to have a situation where the party was of a more pluralistic nature, but the party's made that choice, and the leader reflects that choice."
McKay admitted, on a television news program, he was "surprised" by the new policy.
Trudeau's comments came after members of Canada's Campaign Life Coalition held a news conference, prior to an annual anti-abortion protest in the capital of Ottawa, scheduled for Thursday.