On the day before the Toronto Police Tribunal reconvened to consider the case of David Packer, the constable who refused to guard the Morgentaler abortuary, his wife Anne presented Police Chief Jack Marks with a pro-Packer petition signed by over 57,000 people.
Initiated by Gerarda Savoiie of Niagara Falls, the impressive number of signatures was gathered in just two months. Constable Packer was charged with failing to carry out an order when he refused to accept a duty at the Morgentaler abortuary. The petition asks that Police Chief Marks “reverse this decision and drop any and all charges against Constable David Packer, since he has been denied his conscientious right to object to protecting a building where unborn babies are being killed daily, in complete violation of Criminal law.”
Mrs. Packer had requested an appointment with Chief Marks to present the petition personally. However, Chief Marks was unavailable, as were the deputy police chiefs. Inspector Neish of the Metro Police received the petition.
Pro-lifers attended both days of the Tribunal hearing on November 18 and 19, both sitting inside the hearing room and picketing outside the building. Among the picketers was Joe Scheidler, famous American pro-life activist, author of CLOSED- 99 Ways to Stop Abortion and president of the Pro-Life Action League of Chicago. He traveled to Toronto expressly to show support for Packer and to take his story back to the States. (See January, 1988 Interim for the report and interview with Scheidler.)
The Police hearing concentrated on the closing arguments both for and against Packer. A judgment is expected to be announced on January 26.