Hope to pressure A.G. into action

Interim staff

Members of the Knights of Columbus are going to bat for 16 activists stung by Ontario’s injunction against pro-life witnessing.

The Knights of Columbus Rideau council 2444 in Smiths Falls, Ontario is circulating a petition calling on the province to lift the injunction and lawsuit against the 16 pro-lifers.

Nora McNeely of Smiths Falls said the petition is circulating among parishes, prayer groups and pro-life organizations in Eastern Ontario. It asks the province to life the injunction against pro-life demonstrators and to drop the $500,000 lawsuit. Both have hindered pro-life efforts for the last three years.

The petition is addressed to eastern Ontario MPPs including Solicitor General Bob Runciman (Leeds-Grenville), Sean Conway (Liberal, Renfrew North) and federal MP Len Hopkins (Liberal, Leeds-Nipissing-Pembroke).

The injunction was granted in 1993 by the former New Democratic Party government in Ontario. It limits picketing and demonstration around specified abortion clinics and hospitals in Ontario. It also includes a $500,000 lawsuit against 16 individuals named on the injunction.

Pro-life groups have pressured Ontario Attorney General Charles Harnick to end the injunction but after nearly one year in office, Harnick has refused to act. Harnick was critical of the injunction while in opposition, calling it an infringement of freedom of speech.

Some speculate that advisors in the Attorney-General’s, most of whom were appointed by former NDP Premier Bob Rae, exert undue influence over Harnick regarding the injunction. Harnick denied the charge in February, saying he is responsible for decisions in the Attorney-General’s office.