Cheryl Eckstein senior, chief executive officer of the newly founded Compassionate Healthcare Network (CHN), has just learned how difficult it is to get out a pro-life message in the face of media opposition.

During a presentation on euthanasia to a parliamentary sub-committee in Ottawa last November, Mrs. Eckstein showed a brief clip from a CBC Fifth Estate programme.  Her video clip was a portion of the German pre-war propaganda movie, I accuse, which she chose because of its direct application to the Sue Rodriguez case.

Ten days later, Mrs. Eckstein received a phone call from Kelly Crichton, executive producer at the Fifth Estate, who told her that she had not asked for permission to use the clip and that she had misrepresented the point of the documentary.

“She was contentious, and spoke very fast,” Mrs. Eckstein recalls.  “I was to the point of tears when she told me that their lawyers would be contacting me.”

Although Mrs. Eckstein tried to explain to Ms. Crichton why she used the clip, she found that “Crichton was not interested in listening to me.  She seemed determined to go on with her verbal battering, insisted that the matter was in the hands of their attorneys.”

In the Ottawa Sun, Peter Stockland wrote that Kelly Crichton “said she only wanted to impress on Eckstein that CBC does not permit ‘unauthorized’ use of its programs, and has a strict policy against their use for political purposes.”

On December 4, Liberal MP Don Boudria rose in the House of Commons to speak as a matter of privilege.  Mr. Boudria contended that Kelly Crichton’s call to Cheryl Eckstein has breached the privileges of MPs who have the right to listen to any witness “without intimidation of anyone else.”

The implication of the phone call, Mr. Boudria said, was that the CBC was threatening to sue Mrs. Eckstein.

“I want to present the argument,” he continued, “that were such threats to go unchallenged, they can and would undoubtedly be repeated, that individuals from now on would no longer enjoy the security they have had from time immemorial to testify before Parliament without the threat of being sued or intimidated by anyone.”

Mr. Boudria requested that the matter be referred to the Standing Committee on House Management for investigation and MPs agreed to his motion.

Meanwhile, on the same day, back home in British Columbia, Cheryl Eckstein received a call from CBC Newsworld, requesting an interview on CHN’s opposition to doctor-assisted suicide.  Although her schedule that day was already over-full, Mrs. Eckstein agreed to be interviewed.

At lunchtime that day, the CBC crew was setting up in her living room when the reporter received a call, cancelling the interview.  She seemed upset over what she was told, said Mrs. Eckstein, and made a call to Marsha Barber, the CBC contact in Toronto who had set up the interview.

Mrs. Eckstein recalls that Ms. Barber “couldn’t really explain the reason for canceling, but said that it had come from some higher authority.  She apologized for the inconvenience, and said they would probably get back to me in January.”

Don Boudria also had a curious experience with CBC that day, following his remarks in the House of Commons.

He was in his riding that afternoon when the CBC called, requesting an interview.  The crew could not get to the riding, so Mr. Boudria drove back to Ottawa.  (A drive of over an hour, out of his way, on a busy Friday afternoon.)

The interview was taped to appear on that evening’s news.  But at 6 p.m., Mr. Boudria’s legislative assistant, received a call and an apology from the CBC: they would not be using the interview.

Jim Hughes, as president of Campaign Life Coalition, has had many interviews with CBC.  He says he has usually found the reporters sent out to do the interviews to be very professional, giving him the impression that they are interested in giving equal time to pro-life views.

“I think the problem starts higher up in the CBC,” he observed.  “I know that the points I make during the taping usually seem to be edited out when the interviews are aired.  It’s the editors and producers who only give us token air time, if they give us any time at all.”

Both Cheryl Eckstein Senior and Kelly Crichton are scheduled to appear before the Committee on House Management, when Parliament resumes sitting in February.

New Year’s Resolutions Continued

Pastor Paul Schenck – An evangelical Pastor from Buffalo, New York, is well known for his work with Operation Rescue.  A very forceful speaker, he has, by his eloquence in the courtroom, presented a formidable defence of the preborn.

“My New Year’s Resolutions for the coming year are as follows: To do my very utmost to carry the plight of the unborn to the people and governments of North America.  To do better in supporting our pro-life brothers and sisters in Canada in their struggle to keep the tidal wave of death from cascading across your great nation.  To bring to the people of Canada and the U.S., the message that life is the greatest earthly gift we have been given from God.  To raise my children with the knowledge that every human being is worthy of love, respect and protection.  To love and esteem my wife more.  To cherish the traditions of church, family and community.”

Greg Kazmierski – A determined young man who refuses to let his Down’s Syndrome get him down.  Greg has an incredible love of life and sense of fun.  He was the first child to use the courts to gain legal entitlement to be integrated into the educational main stream.

“I want to meet more people (make more friends), work hard and get a raise.  I want to travel to California and see my buddy.  I want to get into college.  I also want to party.”

The Month in Review

November 18 – St. John’s – The government of Newfoundland reverses its precious policy and agrees to partly cover the cost of abortions done at Henry Morgentaler’s abortuary.  Government officials had, until now, maintained that Morgentaler’s private abortions could not be provincially funded.  Once again, a provincial government bows to Morgentaler’s legal threats.

November 25 – Boston –The New England Journal of Medicine calls on the American government to end the ban on federal funding for fetal tissue research.  The fetal tissue, from aborted infants, would be used for treatment of people who suffer from Parkinson’s Disease, the scientists argue.

As in Canada, the U.S. has banned the fetal tissue research for fear that women might be encouraged to have abortions.  A doctor from Yale later admitted that the improvements observed in Parkinson’s patients who have been treated by fetal tissue were not that large.”

November 30 – Washington – The U.S. Supreme Court votes 6-3 against reviewing a lower court ruling which declared a Guam abortion law unconstitutional.  This law which the court refused to review was pro-life and would have allowed abortions only when the embryo has formed outside a mother’s womb or if two doctors determined that the pregnancy would kill or severely injure the mother’s health.  Justices William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia and Byron White all vote to review the Guam case.  Justice Clarence Thomas’ name is noticeably absent from this list.

December 3 – United States Planned Parenthood names its new president.  Pamela Maraldo, a “Catholic,” will now lead the organization which is most responsible for the slaughter of America’s unborn.  Moraldo says she favours abortion “without restriction” but, curiously enough, is on record as saying that the American abortion rate is too high.

December 7 – Toronto – Ontario’s NDP brings in a package of bills 108, 109, 110 which legalizes living wills in Ontario.  Ontarians are now required to sign living wills that outline the treatment or lack of treatment that the patients desire should they become incapable of communicating their wished because of illness.  Patients will also appoint someone to act as a “substitute decision maker.”  Experts feel that the new legislation will allow assisted suicide and is the first step on the way to active euthanasia.

December 9 – Ottawa- NDP MP Svend Robinson introduces a private members bill that would allow assisted suicides for dying people.  The bill would allow a qualified physician, on the request of the patient, to assist in a suicide without fear of prosecution.  It comes as no surprise that Robinson is the political consultant of Last Rights magazine, which is the mouthpiece of John Hofsess and Vancouver’s Right to Die Society.