Reggie Chartrand’s legal action has been put on hold once more. At a brief hearing before Christmas, the case was postponed until late January.
Reggie expressed his impatience with the slow pace of the legal process in a recent conversation. He asks why the court demands proof that Morgentaler is breaking the law when Morgentaler himself can be heard almost daily on radio and television, announcing that is he breaking the law and that he intends to continue to go on breaking it.
We are often asked what it is that Reggie is trying to do. For the benefit of those still wondering, I’ll try to explain.
The federal abortion law is being ignored by the law-enforcement authorities in Quebec and Morgentaler is operating an abortion business in Montreal in open defiance of the law.
The reason for this situation, in the first place, is that, after the Quebec government took action against Morgentaler in the early 70s, and continued to prosecute until (after considerable trouble and expense) they secured a Supreme Court decision declaring him guilty, the federal government overruled the Supreme Court and allowed him to go free.
As a result, the Parti Quebecois government refused to even try to enforce the law, saying that to do so would be a wasted effort, given the attitude of the federal government.
Reggie Chartrand, who was a founder member of the Parti Quebecois, feels that he has a duty to correct the evil caused by the party he helped to found.
After several years of effort, he has exhausted every means he could think of to persuade the authorities to enforce the law. He has encountered evasion and buck passing at every level of the system.
Finally he discovered a seemingly simple legal recourse. If a citizen knows that illegal activity is taking place, or about to take place, he can call upon a Justice of the Peace to order that the illegal activity be stopped or prevented.
Reggie knows that illegal activity is taking place at the Morgentaler’s establishment. All of Canada knows this but the law-enforcement authorities in Quebec insist that they have no knowledge of this and they want Reggie to provide them with proof.
He has already brought them lots of proof: books and films describing what Morgentaler does and how he does it, as well as why he does it. He has brought articles written by Morgentaler expressing his intention to break the law – and go on breaking it. He has called as witnesses those who have photographed, filmed, or witnessed abortions being done.
Can one blame Reggie for feeling a little frustrated? He says we are living in a world of fiction, where everybody closes their eyes to the obvious facts. But, frustrated or not, he intends to carry on until he gets results.