The world’s longest skating rink was the scene on the evening of February 4 when Action Life put picketers on skates and sent them after Premier Peterson. This innovative scheme was planned after a large ad in the Citizen invited the residents of Ottawa to go skating with the Premier. Action Life accepted the invitation – picket signs and all. About fifteen hearty souls took to their blades while another twenty braved the bitter cold in strong boots, but as the skaters moved quickly through the crown on the Rideau Canal with their signs, their numbers appeared far greater.
As Peterson reached the ice surface the picketers were the first people he encountered. Noting the signs, “Peterson close the Clinic” and “Bail conditions on Morgentaler” he said, “Oh, you people again – you’re everywhere aren’t you – nice to see you.” Questioned by reporters about the ever-present pro-life pickets he admitted that the pro-lifers were persistent and resourceful and wondered aloud what would happen if he were to go swimming (Perhaps wet suits and small rubbers dinghies should be purchased now for future use!)
Later, after his one-hour skate and the consumption of one of Ottawa’s winter delicacies, a “beavertail”, the Premier was again confronted by the pickets. He insisted that his government was doing everything it could, and stated that lawyers who thought otherwise were wrong.
Between encounters, the picketers joined the media in the warmth of the canal-side winter café. Outside, one pro-abortionist was heard to enquire of another, “Where have those pro-lifers gone?” “Oh,” said his companion, “they’re inside warming their little fetuses.”