What does Canada’s spy agency know about the Morgentaler fire and why aren’t they saying anything?
Pro-lifers are demanding answers from the federal government in light of news reports linking the destruction of Henry Morgentaler’s abortion clinic with radical left-wing groups out to discredit the pro-life movement and force the government to take action against it.
The Security Intelligence Review Committee, in a recently-released report to the Solicitor General of Canada, stated that a CSIS informer “thinks that the bombing was by a left-wing activist to make the government take action against the anti-abortionists.” The Toronto Star went even further, suggesting that the government has information on the bomber but “the identity of the activist was deleted in the report.”
The Morgentaler clinic was fire-bombed on May 18, 1992 setting off a chain of events which ended in an injunction sponsored by the provincial government keeping pro-lifers away from the entrances of abortion clinics in Toronto. A photograph showing a man holding gasoline cans was the only one the police released and the investigation, known as the Morgentaler Task Force, soon wound down.
At the time, police were questioning members of the Heritage Front because of racist graffiti found on a building nearby the Harbord Street abortuary.
Grant Bristow, who is widely-believed to be the CSIS source about the Morgentaler bombing, was interviewed by police just after the firebomb destroyed the clinic.
“Hypothetically, what we have here is CSIS sitting on possible evidence regarding the Morgentaler fire that could exonerate the pro-life movement,” said a frustrated Jim Hughes, president of Campaign Life Coalition.
“Much of the evidence used in the government’s injunction against the pro-life movement stemmed from the Morgentaler incident. If it can be proven that we didn’t do it, how does that affect the case?” queried Hughes.
Spokesmen for the Metro Toronto Police Force reacted with surprise to the news, claiming they had not been informed of the CSIS findings. Ted Gerk, B.C. Pro-Life Society president, said it is possible the same thing is happening in his province.
“It is completely plausible, given the politics of B.C. Attorney General Colin Gabelmann and his unswerving support of B.C.’s abortion community, that an attack was perpetrated upon an abortionist by someone in the pro-abortion camp whose main goal was to discredit the pro-life movement,” he said.
John Hof, Campaign Life Coalition B.C. president, called on the government to investigate connections between the Toronto fire-bombing and the shooting of Vancouver abortionist Gary Romalis.
“We have known all along that no one in our groups was responsible,” he said. “What we need to do now is begin to ask questions of the police, CSIS and the racists identified.”
Pro-life activists in Toronto have long held that the pro-abortion movement had the most to gain from the bombing of the Morgentaler clinic. In B.C., Hof says the pro-abortion lobby gained immeasurably from the Romalis shooting.
“It is time that the spotlight of investigation be focused on those groups that would most stand to benefit from the repercussions of this shooting,” he said. “We certainly don’t fit into that category. We have said all along the pro-lifers are interested in saving life, not taking it or harming it in any way.”
Though there was general outcry from pro-life groups, few in the media felt the CSIS information newsworthy. Only the Toronto Star picked up on the Morgentaler bombing tie-in and dealt with it only as a small addendum to a larger story.