The Ontario CLC Conference was held in Richmond Hill, Ont., Oct. 13 and CLC national president Jim Hughes told The Interim that it was a great success, attended by more than 150 people. Speakers included CLC Youth Executive Director Tanya Granic, CLC Medical Advisor Dr. John Shea, author and lawyer Wesley Smith, Alberta MLA Julius Yankowsky and several CLC staffers.

Dr. Shea and Smith were part of a panel discussion on stem cells. Smith said that those who call themselves pro-life have made a “very profound declaration” but that pro-lifers must work with those who do not consider themselves pro-life in order to roll back the culture of death, whether it be stem cell research that destroys embryos or euthanasia that kills the vulnerable. He said the central question we must ask ourselves is whether human life is valuable simply because it is human life? How we answer that leads to diametrically opposed paths. He said that those who promote embryonic stem cell research do not value human beings as human beings but as a means to an end, a utilitarian view of human life that views people as a natural

resource like lumber or a herd of cows. Dr. Shea outlined the problems with the proposed legislation currently under review in Parliament. He said it was erroneously labelled a reproductive technologies bill because so much of has to do not with reproduction but the use of human beings and human tissue in scientific experiments. He noted he recently met with federal Health Minister Allan Rock and told him that the draft legislation allows embryonic experimentation. Rock denied this, but Dr. Shea noted that the legislation prohibits such experimentation except when researchers have obtained a license. After going through the medical and legal issues, Dr. Shea said that embryonic stem cell research should not go forward not just because it is bad medicine but because it is morally wrong.

Julius Yankowksy, a member of the Alberta legislature, outlined what provincial politicians can do on life and family issues highlighting his own work in attempting to obtain protection the conscience rights of health care workers, defunding abortion, and protecting the family. Hughes told The Interim Yankowsky “is an incredible man that has stuck to his principles. Our country would be much better off if there were more elected officials like him.”

Smith spoke again in the afternoon, this time about euthanasia. He highlighted the barbaric ideology behind the bioethics movement and how it seeks to justify the killing of the sick, the disabled and elderly. He said that euthanasia is not compassionate but cruel because it represents the abandonment of society’s most vulnerable. In a dramatic moment, he held up the “exit bag,” (highlighted on the front cover of the September Interim), a plastic bag that the Canadian Right to Die Society is selling for $30 (US) and which the suicide prone purchase to put over their heads in order to kill themselves. As he held up this vile weapon, he said sarcastically, “This is the picture of death with dignity.”