Looking back in order to move forward
Campaign Life Coalition Ottawa just moved into a new office. We found old newspaper clippings, great photos, many letters and the minutes to endless meetings. Packing up meant looking back in order to move forward. It helped re-affirm that times have always been tough but the work was necessary. Maybe you’d like to reminisce about our shared past in the fight to protect the unborn?
I was quite sentimental when I came across some correspondence with PC Elsie Wayne, Reform Jason Kenney and Liberal Tom Wappel. In Parliament, in the media, in Committee, this Dream Team provided some of the best non-partisan work ever displayed on Parliament Hill on behalf of the unborn.
A headline in a 1999 copy of The Interim, CLC’s pro-life, pro-family publication read: Bubble-Zone Victory- Ontario pro-life defendants acquitted. It described the scene: “The celebration became so raucous that the boisterous bunch was asked to leave the floor by court security officers... ‘If ever there was a court case which was superintended by the God of Heaven, this one was it!’ ” How could they have known that Linda Gibbons would still be incarcerated even in 2015 under a “temporary” injunction? Linda has been in jail for over 10 years for her attempts to counsel women before they enter abortuaries. Even the Dream Team had tried to intervene with then Ontario Premier, Mike Harris, on her behalf.
I came across a letter from 1996 from one of my Public Affairs predecessors. We sent the book Women Need to Know to every Member of Parliament. It was based on Dr. Joel Brind’s extensive research on the abortion breast cancer link (ABC). The evidence is compelling. At CLC, we believe politicians need to know too.
CLC is the sole organizer for the National March for Life and many of the files held special memories of those. Next year will mark the 19th NMFL. It started very modestly eventually adding a luncheon at the Congress Centre to the day’s events. In 2015, our numbers were confirmed independently: just shy of 25 000. But according to most media, we usually number around 5000. So I had to smile when I came across a letter written over 15 years ago to the Ottawa Citizen. The writer had complained about the paper’s bias.
A photo of Stockwell Day jumped out at me. In 2002 he was one of 11 MPs, including four Liberals who vocally opposed the Liberal government’s embryonic stem-cell research Bill. It was one of several occasions when the March for life became a political fulcrum. The Ottawa Citizen reported there were 600 people in attendance. That means we know there were more.
In 2003, CLC National President Jim Hughes brought Rebecca Kiessling to Ottawa to speak to MPs about her story of being conceived during a violent rape. She opposes a rape exception in abortion legislation.
Our battle began in 1969 with Trudeau’s Omnibus Bill decriminalizing abortion and re-asserted itself in 1988 with the Morgentaler Decision. The March for Life has been a protest march in response to the failure of Parliament to protect the unborn, year after year. Then, for the first time, last year’s March included an element of protest against euthanasia. It has come to that.
The Liberal win will give the pro-life movement a serious challenge but we know the Lord has called us to be faithful, not successful. Our files filled with plans, research, correspondence and photos can attest to that. But packing boxes has truly unpacked decades of memories of the faithfulness of Ottawa’s pro-lifers to the unborn.
An alternative version of this article was published by SpurOttawa.com. You can view it here