Pro-life political parties formed
Three new political parties, each with a staunchly pro-life platform, were launched in 1986 and have begun to organize across the country. The Christian Heritage Party of Canada based in British Columbia, is a party with policies based on fundamental Biblical principles. One of these principles is the recognition that the right to life is given by God to man form the moment of conception.
The home of The Christian Political Alliance is Nova Scotia. Registered at the provincial level, its policies harmonize with those of The Christian Heritage Party.
In Ontario, The Family Coalition Party was formed by long-time pro-life activists concerned about the refusal of mainstream parties to do anything to protect unborn children or family life in Canada. The party’s founding documents call for full legal protection of all human beings from the moment of conception. The party has begun collecting the ten thousand signatures it requires to be registered as an official party in Ontario. “Come the next election, there are going to be candidates who in a clear and loud voice speak up for the unborn and for family life – that it what this party is all about” said Family Coalition Party organizer Don Pennel.
Pro-life MPs speak out
Pro-life MPs in Ottawa repeatedly spoke out in defence of unborn children in Parliament in 1986. Many of the addresses were eloquent and stirring pleas to give legal protection to the weakest members of our human family. The MPs spoke out even though they knew that many of their constituents would not like what they had to say and that their party leader would not be impressed either. In taking a pro-life stand, they have shown courage and conviction.
The pro-life MPs backed their words with actions by putting forward various private members bills intended to enhance legal protection for unborn children. Members who have spoken out in defence of life include Lawrence O’Neil, Jim Jepson, John Gormley, Pat Binns, John Reimer, John Oostrom, John Nunziata, Edouard Derosier and Gus Mitges.
Pro-lifer elected Premier
During the summer, the Social Credit Party of British Columbia elected Bill Vander Zalm as leader of the party and Premier of the province. In the autumn, Mr. Vander Zalm’s Social Credit party won a large majority in the provincial general election. Mr. Vander Zalm has not been bashful about his pro-life views. He has stated publicly, “I am pro-life and make no bones about it.”
Supreme Court slams abortionists’ courtroom tactics
The judges of the Supreme Court of Canada gave Morris Manning – Henry Morgentaler’s lawyer – a hard time over Manning’s treatment of juries. When Manning appeared before the court to argue the Morgentaler appeal, various papers reported that manning had been “battered” or “ripped” by the Supreme Court justices.
The cause of the judges’ harsh words was Manning’s contention that juries had a right to ignore the facts and the law and to render a “perverse” verdict. Manning at first insisted that such a right had been established by the courts. But in the words of the Vancouver Sun “after 25 minutes of rapid-fire exchange, Manning conceded that no Canadian, British or Commonwealth judgement supported him.”
In the past, Morgentaler’s lawyers have repeatedly urged the juries at his trials to ignore the abortion law and such tactics have played a key role in obtaining acquittals in at trial.
Babies celebrating birthdays
Elaine is celebrating her first birthday next month. That may be the most important achievement of pro-life people in 1986. Elaine is a baby who was scheduled to be aborted at the Morgentaler abortuary. Her mother, however, was met by pro-life sidewalk counsellors outside the abortuary, and they were instrumental in Elaine’s mother deciding not to kill her unborn child. Elaine was born in February.
Her story is not unique. In pro-life pregnancy counselling centres across the country, with the loving support and advice of pro-life counsellors, hundreds of pregnant woman have decided against aborting their babies. And this year, hundreds of babies, who would otherwise not be alive, will be celebrating their first birthday.
The help offered to distressed pregnant mothers does not end with counselling. Pro-lifers have supplied clothing, furniture, a place to live and arranged for jobs for such women. Pro-life people by their actions, have proven that they truly love pregnant women and their unborn children.
Union promotion of abortion restricted
A recent Court decision will restrict trade unions in their use of dues to promote abortion. The Supreme Court of Ontario upheld a challenge brought by community college teacher Mervyn Lavigne against his union. Mr. Lavigne’s complaint was that his union was using the dues collected to promote political causes such as abortion on demand. Indeed, unions across Canada including the Canadian Labour Congress and the Ontario Federation of Labour are major proponents of abortion on demand.
Mr. Justice White ruled that, since Mr. Lavigne is compelled to pay union dues as a condition of employment, his rights under the Charter are infringed when those dues are used for political purposes. The use of dues for purposes such as promoting abortion “cannot be justified in a free and democratic society,” the court decided. The precise implications of this ruling – that is how it is to be implemented – are to be the subject of a future court ruling.
Dr. Gus Mitges presented a private member’s bill to protect the unborn under the Charter in 1986. It is now being debated and MPs will have the opportunity to vote on this crucial matter sometime this year.
Quebec boxer punching for life
A retired professional boxer has put more life into the pro-life movement in Quebec. Reggie Chartrand started fighting for the unborn this year by laying a private criminal charge of performing abortions against Montreal area abortionist Yvon Machabee. Before a trial could be held on the matter, Quebec Justice Minister Herbert Marx intervened and ordered a stop to the proceedings. In response, Mr. Justice Jean-Paul Bergeron, who was to have heard the case, ordered the Justice Minister to appear before him in court to explain his actions. The Justice Minister’s lawyers are appealing Judge Bergeron’s order and Reggie isn’t TKO’s yet.
International pro-life gathering in Montreal
Montreal was the site of the annual Human Life International Symposium in April. Pro-life leaders, writers and speakers came from around the world to give a series of conferences in Montreal. The annual symposium, held in a different location each year, had never before been set in a Canadian city. It was an opportunity for Canadians to hear such pro-life people as Dr. Bernard Nathanson, Joe Scheidler and Steve Mosher.
The meeting also occasioned its share of activism. Led by Chicago activist Joe Scheidler, participants went to the Morgentaler Montreal abortuary where, for the first time in years, a large scale picket took place.
Pro-life teachers organize
Teachers for Life broke onto the scene amid much furor this summer by assisting Campaign Life to organize the public policy conference held in Toronto in July. Their seminars ranged from talks on how to teach the pro-life message to different age groups, to a seminar on overpopulation for geography teachers, to a session on pregnancy counselling.
Teachers for Life was formed to promote respect for life among teachers and to enhance their ability to teach and convey that respect for life. Their appearance is important in a profession which has been very pro-abortion in different areas of the country. A number of teachers’ federations for example, have endorsed abortion on demand as a goal. Organizers knew that they were on the right track when within weeks of its formation, Teachers for Life found itself being condemned by the Globe and Mail, one of Canada’s leading proponents of abortion on demand.
In 1986 the operators of the Morgentaler abortuary in Winnipeg were again stymied in their efforts to resume performing illegal abortions at the facility. Henry Morgentaler applied to the Manitoba College of Physicians and Surgeons to have them licence the facility. The college once again turned down the Abortionist’s application and Winnipeg continues to be an abortuary-free zone.