In September, Campaign Life Coalition held local forums in two Ontario cities, Kitchener and Ajax, with another scheduled for northern Ontario in mid-October. The events are a way to give local pro-life activists a chance to hear pro-life leaders and experts in an near-by and inexpensive venue.
On Sept. 15, more than 50 area activists attended the Kitchener CLC Forum at St. Aloysius Roman Catholic Church to hear a team from CLC – national president Jim Hughes, spokesman Jack Fonseca, project manager Jeff Gunnarson, United Nations specialist Matthew Wojciechowski, and youth co-ordinator Alissa Golob – as well as LifeSiteNews editor John-Henry Westen, Interim editor Paul Tuns, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition executive director Alex Schadenberg, local 40 Days for Life organizers, and MP Stephen Woodworth (CPC, Kitchener Centre).
Hughes welcomed the crowd, saying “this country is looking for the pro-life movement to hold the line,” noting CLC “can’t do political work without strong, grassroots level pro-life educational work.” He said the purpose of the forum was to inform participants and encourage them to go out in the community and be involved.
Ewelina Widerska and Daniel Goz, organizers of 40 Days for Life, informed the forum about the importance of their campaign, Widerska said “it is one way people can get involved to save lives.” Noting that it is front-line pro-life work, Goz said 40 Days is a “physical presence to save lives” at Bridgeport Hospital each day from 6 am to 9 pm, that runs Sept. 26 through Nov. 4. Goz said, “people drive by and see there are others that really care about this issue and it gets them thinking.”
Woodworth explained what his private member’s motion does and does not do and answered critics of M-312. He said that his bill falls within the tradition of parliament to examine evidence to inform its deliberations and that it was fair to re-examine the assumptions underlying the 400-year-old law that defines when the unborn child becomes a human being in the Criminal Code. (See “Woodworth answers critics” for more on his speech.)
CLC Youth’s Alissa Golob described the defund abortion campaign and encouraged participants to take part in mini defund rallies at the constituency offices of MPPs on Saturday Oct. 13 and the Defund Abortion Rally at Queen’s Park at noon on Tuesday Oct. 30. Noting that polling data that shows widespread opposition to funding all abortions, Golob declared “we are the silent majority of Ontarians who do not want to pay for abortion.”
Paul Tuns explained why traditional media outlets were experiencing declining audiences and predicted that The Interim would outlast a major newspaper like the “Globe and Mail or other large daily paper” or broadcaster such as the CBC or CNN because niche publications that cater to the political views of readers represent the future of media. John-Henry Westen of LifeSiteNews also talked about the media and how they manipulate stories to the disadvantage of the pro-life and pro-family cause.
EPC’s Alex Schadenberg said that after attempts to legalize euthanasia was lop-sidedly defeated in Parliament, the euthanasia lobby turned to the courts, and he described a number of legal challenges to the prohibition against assisted-suicide and euthanasia.
CLC spokesman and education point man Jack Fonseca talked about the equity policy implemented in Ontario this year and demonstrated with numerous anecdotes and quotes how the so-called anti-bullying and equality program of the McGuinty government is a disguise to promote a “radical sexual agenda.” Fonseca called upon forum attendees to pray for efforts to reverse the policy, encourage Catholic bishops to invoke section 93 of the Constitution Act to reject Bill 13 as harmful to Catholic education by undermining religious moral teaching, support action against the government and school boards by donating to legal defense funds, and “take over school politics” at the parent council and board trustee level.
CLC project manager Jeff Gunnarson said that people of faith have to become involved in politics and described how a small number of dedicated local activists can influence nomination meetings and constituency associations.
In his closing remarks, Hughes encouraged everyone to ramp up their involvement. He told a personal story, “I waited for somebody to do something and then I realized I was somebody.”
Hughes told The Interim that CLC has stressed provincial conferences and regional pro-life forums to permit “as many grassroots pro-lifers as possible to become educated and inspired to greater activism through local, low-cost events featuring expert speakers and local activists.” He said many of those who attend have either never attended a national convention because of the cost, time and travel involved in the multi-day events, but “most people can afford the $25 or less and make time for one day that ends before dinner.”
Over the past two years, CLC has held local forum in London, Kingston, West Toronto, Kitchener, and Ajax, with one remaining scheduled for Sudbury on Oct. 13. An Oct. 20 forum for Peterborough was been cancelled. Hughes, Westen, Schadenberg, and Golob will be speaking at Sudbury and will be joined by Steve Jalsevac of LifeSiteNews..