The annual strategy meeting of Campaign Life Coalition was held in Toronto on Sept. 12 and 13. Although I found it impossible to keep up with the entire program, I wish to say how impressed and encouraged I was by the entire event. The chief organizers were Jim Hughes, national president of CLC, Mary Ellen Douglas, CLC’s national organizer and a very active committee.

For all the day meetings, representatives came from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. There were 45 people present for each meeting and here are some of the things they discussed: March for Life 2004; activism, including the Genocide Awareness Project and Show the Truth; going after MPs about Bill C-13 (embryonic stem cell research); lobbying MPs on Bill C-250 so it is defeated (because if it goes through, it could take away free speech on any issue); and lobbying doctors and pharmacists. (Editor’s Note: C-250 was passed Sept. 17.)

Chemical abortions were also discussed, including the “morning-after” pill. Mike Izzotti of Pharmacists for Life talked about picketing the Montreal pharmaceutical company Paladin and boycotting pharmacists who dispense abortifacient products. Federal strategies, exposing Maurice Strong and his connections to Paul Martin were examined.

Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition described their efforts and announced the date of their next symposium in Toronto (Oct. 25)

Peter Ryan spoke of the court case Morgentaler vs. New Brunswick and the national implications it has. Morgentaler wants the province to pay for abortions committed in his abortuary there. Currently, the province only pays for abortions in hospitals. Morgentaler is trying to get the court to rule that it is a woman’s right to have an abortion at his abortuary – and that would be detrimental for the rest of the country.

Samantha Singson spoke about the international scene, in particular a cloning conference that is going on at the UN. She said next year will be observed as “The Year of the Family.” Herm Wills received recognition for his work with CLC Nova Scotia and was awarded a trip by CLC Nova Scotia to Vancouver.

While I am not as familiar as I should be with all the various, country-wide activities of Campaign Life Coalition, I could not but be impressed by the unity of thought and action in all the meetings. There is an extraordinary unity of purpose in spite of differences in race, sex, occupation or religion. It might all be summed up in five words: “The value of human life.”

As this year marks 25 years since the foundation of Campaign Life, it was decided to celebrate the occasion with a big dinner at a hotel. More than three hundred people were present and it was a most enjoyable evening. Father Louis Di Rocco sang several songs about pro-life, and one about Jim Hughes that Father Di Rocco had written. We also viewed a video, projected on a huge screen, that took us back to the days outside Henry Morgentaler’s Harbord Street abortuary and arrests by the police. We also watched scenes from the March for Life and other memorable events.

Jim Hughes was serving as emcee of the dinner until, to his surprise, Jimmy Holmes of Business for Life walked up quietly and politely took the microphone from his hand. Then, Jim’s wife Ginny and a number of his children and grandchildren were called up. Speeches were given about how great a leader Jim has been for almost all of Campaign Life’s existence. Flowers and gifts were presented, including tickets for two for a 15-day holiday in Ireland with all expenses paid.

Jim was speechless. He had no idea this was going to happen. But, as you’re reading this, Jim and Ginny are enjoying their first visit to my beloved country.