Last month Campaign Life Coalition announced the theme for the National March for Life in Ottawa as well that two Conservative Party of Canada leadership contenders have endorsed the event and said they will address the 20,000-strong crowd.
The theme for the May 11 National March for Life ties into the 150th anniversary of Confederation: “Life: We stand on guard for thee.” CLC national president Jim Hughes said, “the 2017 theme reminds Canadians that respecting and valuing human life at all its stages is, and has always been, part of our Canadian identity.”
Hughes also said, “the National March for Life brings together tens of thousands of Canadians who stand on guard for the most innocent of our society, even if our current Prime Minister and many in Parliament are ignoring the rights of preborn children.”
CLC also launched the website www.marchforlife.ca to promote the event, and it features a promotional video that the organization is urging local pro-life and church groups to share to encourage others to attend the March.
CLC also issued a press release touting the endorsements of two candidates for the Conservative leadership: MP Brad Trost and former MP Pierre Lemieux. Both said they will speak at the event, which falls about two weeks before the Conservative leadership election on May 27.
Trost said: “I’ve been proud to speak at the March for Life for the past 12 years. It is always encouraging to see so many people who believe in the sanctity of life. See you there in May.”
Lemieux said: “I am very excited to be a part of the 2017 National March for Life. This great event has been an annual highlight for my family and me. On this 20th anniversary of the March, I am honoured to be joining the tens of thousands of pro-life Canadians on Parliament Hill who stand on guard for life.”
Johanne Brownrigg, CLC’s Ottawa-based director of public affairs, said “these leadership hopefuls can bring together Canadians from all walks of life who want to unite behind true conservative values, and especially draw in those who wish to see a major party leader actually stand on guard for life.”
In an interview with The Interim, Trost said the March is one of the annual highlights for pro-life parliamentarians and said it was important for both the pro-life movement and elected officials.
“Politics is about decision-making and communications,” Trost explained. With the March, he said, MPs and senators “are communicating to the people that they value their democratic participation and that they care about (life) issues.”
He also said that having a large contingent of pro-lifers on Parliament Hill “tells politicians (life issues) matter.” He said that various lobbies from lumber to beef have events on the Hill, so if the pro-life movement wants to be noticed, they need to show up.
Trost also said that while he has no trouble speaking up on pro-life issues, the March “encourages pro-life politicians to stand up because it is difficult to do the right thing” in politics sometimes.
He said that the March can influence policy and legislation. Trost said he launched the petition to defund the International Planned Parenthood Federation at one National March for Life and eventually the Harper government stopped funding new projects for the international abortion giant.
CLC vice president Jeff Gunnarson said that Trost’s comments illustrate the need for both pro-life voters and pro-life politicians to attend the National March for Life. “It is mutually reinforcing to have the public lift up the MPs and senators,” said Gunnarson, “and the pro-life movement is boosted by the presence of politicians who share their values.”