On Oct. 7, Planned Parenthood Ottawa held its annual fundraiser, and the event was attended by politicians and journalists, including two federal party leaders.
The event was live-tweeted by Lauren Dobson-Hughes, president of Planned Parenthood Ottawa. She thanked NDP MPs Niki Ashton (Churchill) and Peggy Nash (Parkdale-High Park), NDP leader Thomas Mulcair, Liberal MPs Carolyn Bennett (St. Paul’s) and Kirsty Duncan (Etobicoke North), and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, who were all in attendance.
To the NDP in attendance, Dobson-Hughes, a former NDP political staffer, said, “thank you for our fierce and proud championing of choice.”
The politicians also acknowledged Planned Parenthood. Carolyn Bennett tweeted congratulations to Planned Parenthood “for the truly important work” they do.
Mulcair and Trudeau both spoke. Mulcair called for approval of RU-486 and raised the specter of so-called reproductive rights being rolled back by the Conservative government.
Trudeau said between he and Mulcair, the next prime minister will be in favour of a “woman’s right to choose.” He reiterated his position that Liberal MPs are not allowed to vote against abortion. Trudeau also bragged of speaking to residences about “sexual health” when he was a student at McGill.
Dobson-Hughes said Trudeau’s speech “was gracious, firm in its commitment to choice and funny” and that “our youth were in awe.”
Ottawa mayor Jim Watson was made an appearance at the event. Dobson-Hughes thanked him for “his support for youth and sexual health,” noting that 60 per cent of Planned Parenthood Ottawa’s programs are funded by the city.
Globe and Mail journalist Elizabeth Renzetti was the keynote speaker. Her husband Doug Saunders, also a Globe columnist, attended, too.
The CBC’s Laura Payton reported that Health Minister Rona Ambrose and Minister for the Status of Women Kellie Leitch were invited but did not reply.
Items for auction at the gala dinner included a kink workshop and a vibrator.
Saunders reported on Twitter that “a certain party leader won a vibrator unbeknownst to him.” The next day, iPolitics reported that it was Justin Trudeau but later amended the story to say that the Liberal leader’s special assistant Tommy Desfosses “took the prize,” which does not necessarily preclude Trudeau from being the winner. A photo of Renzetti, gay NDP activist Ian Capstick, and Dobson-Hughes announcing the winner of the vibrator had them all looking shocked, which likely wouldn’t have been the reaction if Desfosses won the sex toy.
Mary Ellen Douglas, national organizer for Campaign Life Coalition, told LifeSiteNews that “this is not the kind of thing we want to associate with leaders of our country,” adding, “it’s childish and immature.”