Advertorial on the founding of Campaign Life

One of the first strategy meetings of Campaign Life in Sharon, ON, in 1979.

One of the first strategy meetings of Campaign Life in Sharon, ON, in 1979.

Over the years, many have often asked how Campaign Life started. It started at a pro-life national conference on May 25 1978 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The following pro-lifers were present for the founding.

Fr. Ian Boyd addressing a pro-life conference.

Fr. Ian Boyd addressing a pro-life conference.

Rev. Ian Boyd, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Robert S. Daoust, Longueuil, Quebec
Mrs. Jean Morse-Chevrier, Pointe-Gatineau, Quebec
Earl Amyotte, Windsor, Ontario †
Paul Dodds, Willowdale, Ontario
Kathleen M. Toth, Edmonton, Alberta
Dr. Jim McGettigan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan †
Paul Formby, Toronto, Ontario
Pat Clarke, North Vancouver, British Columbia
Betty Greene, Vancouver, British Columbia
Al Selinger, Willowdale, Ontario †
Norah Ryan, Sudbury, Ontario
Adrian Keet, Wingham, Ontario †
Cecilia Forsyth, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Shirley Reinhart, Calgary, Alberta †
Gerhard Herwig, Surrey, British Columbia
Joe Campbell , Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Grace L’Abbe, Hull, Quebec

 

Nora Ryan at a CLC Ontario Strategy meeting

Nora Ryan at a CLC Ontario Strategy meeting

Shortly after, in the Fall of 1978, the Atlantic provinces joined the group. The mid 1980’s saw the merging of Campaign Life and Coalition for the Protection of Human Life as Campaign Life Coalition.

“One word that comes to mind is fulfilling. It was a lot of work, but we worked together, and keeping the prayers up was very important. We had to do that. We needed the prayers from the Good Lord and the Holy Spirit to get us to do what we could do. And the spirit of everyone, always, people were in the spirit all the time. We got a lot of things that happened that were really disappointing but we just kind of jumped back all the time you know. (At times) we were very disappointed but we said prayers and on we went.”

Norah Ryan, Sudbury, Ontario

“Congratulations and thanks to everyone in Campaign Life Coalition and those with the Interim for their perseverance, tenacity and self-sacrifice over these many long years for doing what is probably the most politically incorrect and thankless work in our society, yet the most essential. The right to life is a right intrinsic to our very natures as human beings and is vested in us as soon as our lives begin.  It is not a right which is bestowed, or extrinsically created, by the state, by the courts, or by anyone else.  Rather it is duty of these institutions, which are created by us to serve and protect us, simply to recognize that right and to enforce it.  Without this right recognized from our inceptions, it cannot be recognized as

Paul Formby at the launch of the Pro-life Party of Canada.

Paul Formby at the launch of the Pro-life Party of Canada.

inherent or intrinsic, and all our rights become relative to the interests and the power of others. The seeds of our own self-destruction are in fact sown in the denial and termination of human life at its inception. If you first seek Christ and his fullness in your life all things will be given to you in proper proportion and nothing which needs to be done will be impossible.”

– Paul Formby, Delta, British Columbia

“Since the evil of Abortion is rooted in a denial of God, the creator of Life, we should realize that we are fighting a spiritual battle that will not be won by our own efforts alone, but by God working through us, if we let him.  Love of God and Love of Life should encourage and continue to motivate us to uncompromisingly demand total protection of all innocent human Life from conception to natural death. Success will come in His time, if we stand firm and remain faithful. The Pro-Life movement has enough capable people who would make excellent members of Parliament. We can have a truly Pro- Life/ Pro-Family candidate in every riding.”

– Gerhard Herwig, Surrey, British Columbia

Paul Dodds (bottom right) exchanging words with politicians.

Paul Dodds (bottom right) exchanging words with politicians.

“I hate to say this but we were 6 women that sort of invaded the conference of bishops when they met at the Chateau Laurier Hotel in Ottawa. We weren’t supposed to do that. We had to pick the bishop we knew and when they broke for lunch, we had to find him and speak to him. I went to the Archbishop of Edmonton, I said to him ‘Archbishop MacNeil, there is a need for something in parliament, please take some action with debating the Charter.’ He responded ‘the Quebec bishops will not agree with including the unborn in the Charter, unless the English bishops agree that French would be in the charter,’ and so it did not go. I then went to Archbishop Carney of Vancouver and Bishop Exner of Kamloops, and they said they would bring it up. I called David Kilgour, MP from Edmonton, and I told him that they couldn’t do it. I felt so bad about it, because it was so close. Later, I called Cardinal Carter in Toronto to tell him that if there is no reference to the unborn in the Charter, they will not be protected. The Cardinal responded ‘I spoke to Ottawa lawyer, Joseph Magnet and he says they are in the Charter.’ The outcome was predictable because Magnet was also an acting advisor for Trudeau. Needless to say, we worked like crazy to get the protection for the unborn into the Charter, but it just didn’t happen.”

– Kathleen Toth, Abbotsford, British Columbia

Jean Morse-Chevrier handing over petitions calling for the abolition of the so-called "therapeutic abortion committees" at Sacred-Heart Hospital.

Jean Morse-Chevrier handing over petitions calling for the abolition of the so-called “therapeutic abortion committees” at Sacred-Heart Hospital.

“What I remember from the early years of political involvement in the pro-life movement was the effort to find people who were willing to work on the political aspect of the pro-life effort rather than the educational. It was hard to find people to do the work of writing to candidates, sending out questionnaires, phoning, writing up articles and doing interviews with the newspapers… Nationally there is now very good cooperation between Quebec and Canada. The pro-life political arm is well established, growing all the time with dedicated and resourceful volunteers. I am constantly amazed at the creativity, determination and commitment of the individuals involved. Most of the original people I worked with on pro-life and pro-family issues are still involved in one way or another. Their early efforts have borne fruit and I believe that nothing will quench the thirst for truth and justice that is at the base of the political and educational pro-life work in this country.”

– Jean Morse-Chevrier, Longueuil, Quebec

 

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