Campaign Life Coalition is in the process of forming a new organization that will link young people’s pro-life efforts coast to coast. Campaign Life Coalition Youth (CLCY) will be led by Tanya Granic, 19, a second-year science student at the University of Western Ontario.

Granic is currently on a four-month sabbatical and is working with Campaign Life Coalition. She recently served as the youth coordinator for the October 3, 1999 Life Chain in Toronto. Granic will be assisted with CLCY by Father James McManamy, pastor of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Toronto, and Frank Snyder, an Evangelical Christian from Ashburn, Ont. Both McManamy and Snyder were executives with the Canadian Youth Pro-Life Organization (CYPLO), a leading student right to life group in the 1980s.

In an interview with The Interim, Granic described CLCY as an effort to promote a culture of life among young pro-life workers across the country and abroad. “CLCY is a national youth pro-life organization that will co-ordinate its efforts with the other pro-life youth groups,” she said. “To my knowledge, CLCY is the only pro-life youth organization to operate on a national level in Canada.”

Granic said the new group is designed to complement the work of existing youth organizations, such as the National Campus Life Network (NCLN), and Ontario Students for Life (OSFL). CLCY is aimed at young people in the 14-29 age group, whether they are in high school, university or in the working world.

Granic hopes that adult pro-life supporters might suggest the names of sons, daughters, relatives and other young people who might welcome more direct involvement in pro-life work. “We want CLCY to be a grassroots organization with a similar structure to the adult Campaign Life Coalition,” Granic said.

To that end, the organization is seeking young representatives and members from each province in Canada. “CLCY will be different from other groups in that its members would meet on a regular basis with an activist agenda,” Granic said. “What we are talking about here are youth who are ready and serious to defend the pre-born by being updated on the issues, and informed about all aspects of life issues.”

Granic said young people bring enthusiasm and energy to a movement often demoralized by the rapid advance of the abortion mentality. She said contraception advocates have “tapped into the youth lifestyle” by promoting abortion and birth control among those as young as 12 years old.

“While it can be difficult to avoid promiscuity at a young age, at least we can save pre-born children by educating youth about the truths and the horrors of abortion, the birth control pill, and so on,” Granic said. “If a teen becomes pregnant, she knows that there are better alternatives to abortion and that there are people who are going to help her and her baby.”

Granic said it is crucial to reach people at an early age to instill right to life values and to counter the steady barrage of promiscuity, casual sex and moral relativism promoted by popular entertainment and the secular media.

Campaign Life Coalition Youth will be setting up meetings, social events and fundraising efforts to promote its work across the country. It has also produced a sign-up sheet to recruit new membership. Cost of joining the group is $5.

“We are at an extremely rudimentary stage with Campaign Life Coalition Youth,” Father Jim McManamy told The Interim. “But we’re hoping to become an … arm of Campaign Life for young people. We see the organization as an opportunity to spiritualize young people to get them ready for the pro-life struggle and to provide some insight into the political process.”

Frank Snyder, a general contractor near Whitby, Ont., hopes to recruit young people from all faith backgrounds for CLCY. “I’m hoping to find youth from different denominations who can work together for a common goal,” Snyder said. “It’s important for young people not simply to be opposed to abortion, but to be able to explain why they are opposed.”

The emphasis on youth comes with the recognition by veteran pro-life workers that a new generation of right-to-life leaders is poised to move to the fore. Several pro-life education experts have identified the need to train students and young people to bring articulate, persuasive and fact-based defences of the pro-life position to the public square.