Minutes after the room was filled with youthful cheers and joyous songs, one could hear a pin drop though the room was still filled with more than 200 teenagers as they listened to Senator Anne Cools. The senator was the first speakers following a musical kick-off to the full day May 14 CLCY conference on the campus of the University of Ottawa.

This special youth event takes place every year as part of the official schedule of the National March for Life. Out of the hundreds of young people who were present on Parliament Hill about 225 remained in Ottawa to participate further. Gathered from as far away as Edmonton and Nova Scotia, they listened to four speakers, were entertained by lively music, and prayed together. One adult leader commented, “This was a fantastic event for our youth. All of them complimented the activities.”

Following introductions and the music of David McDonald, Cools spoke about the political situation in Canada. She spoke on her efforts in Parliament and the current reality within our society. She began with the “draconian” passage of bill C-250, noting that it has criminalized speech (not acts) and that the bill’s passage proceeded in irregular ways. She highlighted that the government relies on the ignorance of Canadians to carry out such an agenda while disregarding proper parliamentary procedure.

She also talked about feminism’s assault on family life. The senator said that she would have described herself as a feminist in the past but that she could no longer because feminism has turned into being against men. She questioned why feminists want 50 per cent of the judicial positions but not 50 per cent of labour positions, for example.

Cools challenged the youth to “keep a clear mind, a humane mind, a human mind” noting that good and evil are part of human life and one needs to discern carefully. She emphasized that they need to “try to hang on to principles, to truth”, to “read, read, read,” to be informed, and to “fight… have some warriors, need foot soldiers.” She noted that most Canadians, even those on Parliament Hill, are ignorant of the language of parliament and governance, which makes it difficult to speak about the problems that are occurring.

Angelina Steenstra shared her personal experience with abortion. The day before, she was one of the “Silent No More” women who testified on the steps of Parliament that abortion hurts women too and doesn’t solve their problems. Speaking to the youth, she was able to go into further detail about her suffering from the aftermath of an abortion she had when she was younger, emphasizing the ripple effects and continuing hurt. The youth listened attentively and even cried when her powerful talk. Echoing the senator, Angelina said “we must know the truth, study the truth.” She said she was a victim of the sexual revolution and emphasized the consequences of every decision. She also suggested that the youth today have been chosen for this time, that in these difficult times “God is raising you up.” She emphasized that “you can make a difference.”

The musician David McDonald shared his testimony, speaking also about the effect of culture on us. He noted that his mother is pro-abortion and that he is the youngest child in a larger family but was born before abortion was legal. Therefore he calls himself a survivor.