When I read my Campaign Life bulletin telling me that Iona Campagnolo, President of the Liberal Party of Canada, must be picketed wherever she goes, I hoped she would never come to Thunder Bay. However, when I read in the newspaper that Iona was coming May 10th, I got on the phone and got support from my two cohorts in the fights against evil and injustice.
Lindy Wagenaar said she was demonstrating even if there were only four of us. Alice Veurink said she would talk to the press because I said I wasn’t going to and if one of them didn’t do it, we would scrap the whole thing! I agreed to put my name on the press release because Alice didn’t want to have her name in the newspaper! From this highly unprofessional start, we were able to pull it off.
I want to stress that the Lord deserves the majority of the credit. When you have the spirit of God, then God’s values become your values. Alice, Lindy and I knew that we must demonstrate against Iona. We could not let a woman with her values, in her position as President of the Liberal party, come to Thunder Bay without doing something to stop her influence. We knew that the Lord would want us to and that he would help us. I must admit that I kept hoping that God would somehow spare me this – but no deal.This is no word of lie, but every day when I opened up the Bible, He was telling me that this had to be done. My daughter’s Sunday school paper, the children’s Bible stories, my daily devotionals. I was really starting to get mad.
Monday night, my devotion was: Proverbs 16:3, “Commit your work to the Lord, then it will succeed.” My devotion was from Daily Power Thoughts by Robert H. Schuller and I was on January 18. I had just bought it a couple of weeks before and I believe he is talking about New Year resolutions but, to me, it fit into my commitment to picketing. The devotion for that day reads: “A major source of personal fatigue and lack of human energy, excitement and enthusiasm is caused by a lack of commitment.”
When you make that commitment, guess what happens? Enormous power flows into your mind – brilliant flashes of insight explode within you! The energy to say “no” to what is wrong and “yes” to what is right surges within. And it is amazing what you will be able to do – all because you made a commitment.
“Where is your faith indecisive? What commitments are you attempting to ignore? Make your commitment to action now!”
After reading that, then I finally believed that God was God was going to help me and that I was going to talk to the press because I was the most knowledgeable of the three of us. But you know, I still had the audacity to ask God for a miracle or a sign – and he gave it to me. The morning of the demonstration, I woke up early and couldn’t sleep any more, so I thought I would read proverbs 16:3 again. I read it, and started to read the whole chapter. The rest of the chapter was inspiring and seemed to be talking about what we were coming to do that day.
And then came God’s sign: Proverbs 16:31. I’d never read that before. “Gray hair is crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.” Now, those of you who don’t know me, I have more gray hair than Iona and I am at least a quarter of a century younger than her. I had to laugh right out loud when I read that.
Organizing the picket
Now to tell you how we organized it. We phoned people whom we felt would come out. If they agreed, we mailed them a fact sheet. Alice phoned people in our church, Lindy phoned in her church, and I phoned board members and other people such as pro-life doctor’s wives, Birthright women and some women from other churches. We asked them all to try and get some others to come out. Anyone who really didn’t want to picket, we got to babysit. We planned to meet first to pray for God to give us the courage and the wisdom we would need.
Meeting together like that gave us all a lot more confidence. We told the press we would be there at 10:00 and were 10 minutes early. We all left the church together and all the cars driving out in line made me think of one of my kids’ Sunday School songs. We were the Lord’s army and were flying high. We covered the whole block. I think the press was impressed by the fact that it was a peaceful demonstration and we didn’t get into debate with the pro-abortionists, although we really had to bite our tongues. They said some nasty things to us.
One of the things that also helped me have confidence on Tuesday was the day before the demonstration they wanted to interview me for radio and my pal Alice came with me. T thought I answered badly, and when I heard it, it was edited and it didn’t sound bad at all. That helped a lot the next day.
Listening to the radio announcements and TV news Monday helped me prepare what I wanted to stress on Tuesday. They said we would be demonstrating because of Iona’s pro-abortion views. I saw that they didn’t catch the fact that she favors abortion-on-demand. So I explained that abortion-on-demand is abortion as a means of birth control, etc. But they still didn’t pick up on that the next day. Maybe that needs to be in writing for them in the press release. I know a lot of people feel abortion is OK, say in the case of severe brain damage, etc. But they would never agree with her abortion-on-demand stand.
Reading the newspaper clippings, I can see so many points that they failed to bring out, but I’m not going to complain to them. I think they were pretty fair to us. They never mentioned that there were only eight pro-abortion woman there.
Now about the 6 and 11 o’clock newscast. Colleen Rooney, who used to teach with the Right-to-Life Association’s Publicity Chairman, luckily was assigned this. She starts out telling us that Iona urged both sides to work together. (When Iona came out of the car, she immediately wanted to talk to the two spokespersons). I think her pro-choice views were aired next. Then three is a clip of me saying that “if Iona discriminates against the most weak and vulnerable in the womb, what about the weak and vulnerable outside the womb… the Down’s syndrome and the aged?”
The next clip is Iona talking on euthanasia saying that “just as we (government) have to discuss when life begins, we also have to discuss when death occurs.” Immediately, viewers are left with the thought, “Oh, she wants to kill the old people next.”
Iona really used the crowd to her advantage. Next time, I would have the pro-life people stand back from Iona. Let her hold her little lecture surrounded by her motley group of eight pro-abortion women. Next time, I would ask her point-blank “Do you believe abortion is killing an unborn child?” Interesting to see what her answer would be.
During her lecture, she asked why we were demonstrating here. I said we were here because she had spoken publicly in favor of abortion on demand and we wanted to show the public that the majority of Canadian women do not favor abortion-on-demand.
After Iona deftly snuck away, CBC radio came to get my reactions. I was caught unawares. This was on the radio. I said, “the women of Canada are not stupid! They know what’s behind her euphemisms. We must stop the killing of innocent human beings, the holocaust of tiny pre-born babies.” I don’t think I handled that too well. I should have said something more specific about the things she (Iona) said. Something about the fct that Iona is not the only one concerned about the woman faced with an unwanted pregnancy. Instead I blew my top and lost my temper.
I noticed lots of time the press writers said something when I didn’t say those words, but they did get the basic drift. It surprised me that they would quote someone as having said something which that person never said.
Next time for the poor guys writing, I’m going to talk slower, I believe it when they say to talk to the media as if they know nothing about the abortion issue. They need to learn more about abortion-on-demand about C.A.R.A.L. I should have mentioned more times the phrase, “We choose Life”, to counteract the “Pro-Choice” slogan. We should have a bunch of “We Choose Life” placards.
After Iona “deftly” snuck out, we returned to the church and got our children and hugged them and Alice led us in prayer thanking God. We then explained what Iona was saying, for many never heard. Everyone was flying high and really glad they came out. They all felt good about themselves.
Thanks, Campaign Life
Thanks, Campaign Life, for your support and taking the time to answer all my questions and never sparing the phone bills by calling me. That was a good press release that Tom Healy wrote up, it gave us the credibility we needed. We appreciate the work you do for the unborn but, most importantly, God sees what sacrifices and hard work you give for the unborn and I know that is far better than our thanks here.
One of the reasons for picketing was because of all the work Gwendolyn and Mr. Hughes and all the others do there, we just had to repay them somehow.
This is part of the payment.