Regional marches for life

regionalmarchforlife2014

 

In all the provinces except Ontario and Quebec, local pro-life and church groups organized regional marches for life, joining in solidarity the huge crowd of 23,000 people in the nation’s capital.

In Victoria, B.C., the 6th annual March for Life was held on May 8 at Centennial Square before proceeding to the B.C. legislature. The theme was “Life: The Only Choice”  and an estimated 2000 people gathered to hear speakers such as Pavel Reid, director of the Office of Life, Marriage and Family of the Archdiocese of Vancouver; Bishop John Corriveau of Nelson; Carmela Marie Cruz of 40 Days for Life; Elizabeth Sutcliffe, director at Hope for Women Pregnancy Centre; Lara Burns who chose life for her baby at the age of 17; and high school pro-life activists Amanda Seymour and Antonio Balogh. The day finished with the Victoria Pro-Life Gala dinner co-hosted by National Campus Life Network and UVic’s pro-life club, Youth Protecting Youth.

In Edmonton, Alberta, 1100 people attended the march, an increase of 400 compared to last year. Marchers gathered at the Alberta Legislature where Bishop David Motiuk of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton offered opening prayers and the Knights of Columbus led the March from the Legislature to Sir Winston Churchill Square for speeches on this year’s theme: “But Mommy, Daddy, my heart is beating.” Speakers included Dr. Robert Hauptman of Canadian Physicians for Life and Sharon-Rose Milan, executive director of Campaign Life Coalition Alberta.

In Regina, Sask., about 100 people attended the March for Life on April 28 even though a snow storm forced the cancellation of many buses. Their message of “Defund Abortion” was presented during a march from the legislature to Victoria Avenue and back. Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association past president Marcy Millette encouraged pro-lifers to support the Parental Consent initiative that SPLA is promoting, with the eventual goal of defunding and eliminating abortions in Saskatchewan.

In Winnipeg, local pro-lifers marched on May 10. At least 750 were in attendance, and they heard Archbishop Richard Gagnon of Winnipeg, Archbishop Albert LeGatt of St. Boniface, Shawn Carney, co-founder of 40 Days for Life, and several women from the Silent No More Awareness Campaign speak. Archbishop Lawrence Huculak from the Ukrainian Archeparchy was also in attendance. The Knights of Columbus led the march led up Memorial Boulevard to Portage Avenue and back to the Legislative steps via the Law Courts buildings.

In St. John’s, Newfoundland, the May 8 march at Confederation Building attracted a “small number” of pro-lifers according to Patrick Hanlon of Pro-Life NL because they focus on a Good Friday Vigil at the St. John’s hospital that attracts hundreds. He noted however that passers-by were “honking in support” even if the media and politicians mostly ignored the “LifeChain style” witness in front of the provincial legislature which is undergoing renovations.

The march in Halifax attracted 50 people, mostly Knights of Columbus and their families, according to CLC Nova Scotia’s Ellen Chessel.

In Fredericton, nearly half of the members of the legislative assembly were at the march, as 24 of 55 MLAs attending the event. The local CBC broadcast reported “hundreds” of marchers at the 15th annual New Brunswick March for Life, although organizers say there were 800 in attendance. Abortion has become a political issue in the province with the Morgentaler Clinic threatening to close its doors this summer without taxpayer funding of the facility. Jody Carr, Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, spoke at the march on behalf of 18 members of the Progressive Conservative government at the event, and said the PC government under Premier David Alward was committed to maintaining the current policy of funding abortions carried out in hospitals but vowed to not extend abortion-funding to private facilities. Some in the crowd booed Carr’s comments as pro-lifers across the country demand the total defunding of abortion.

Pro-lifers marched in Charlottetown, P.E.I., on May 25, and information was not available when The Interim went to press.

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