Editor’s Note: We are experimenting with a new feature this month. “And then there was this,” near the back of the newspaper will replace “Bits ‘n’ pieces.” The idea is to cover news from Canada and abroad in brief, but the tone will change to add more of an editorial slant rather than straight news items. The section will be written by editor Paul Tuns and editorial board member Janice Glover. We welcome your feedback.

The Council of Canadian Academics and the Canadian Pediatric Society is developing a policy to include children in Canada’s euthanasia laws. Canada’s so-called Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD) limits euthanasia and assisted-suicide to “competent” adults.

Two prominent pro-life Conservative MPs were challenged for their nominations. Cheryl Gallant (Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke) won her nomination against Mike Coates, a lobbyist and former campaign manager for former Conservative Party leadership contender Kevin O’Leary, on Feb. 25. Results were not released. Brad Trost (Saskatoon-University) lost his nomination on the second ballot on March 10 to former Saskatchewan speaker of the House Corey Tochor. Trost said afterward, “we thought we were going to win,” and blamed his own complacency for the defeat. He denied he would run in another riding in the 2019 federal election.

Clinical psychologist and Univesity of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson was at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., March 5 to discuss “The rising tide of compelled speech in Canada.” Typically, he and the attendees were ambushed by anti-free speech protesters brandishing noise-makers, jeering, and crying out “shame!” One protester went a step further and broke a stained glass window in the auditorium; she was later arrested by police who removed a concealed garrote from her person. Peterson quipped that the only thing missing from the protest were “torches and pitchforks.”

Pro-life groups are declaring victory at the UN Commission on the Status of Women because the agreed consensus text did not include language that made any commitments on abortion or LGBT rights. There was no reference to “safe abortion” nor did it acknowledge the concept of family diversity. Also missing from the text were references to “sexual orientation and gender identity” and “women in all their diversity,” which have been regular inclusions in recent years or part of a separate text put forward by the chair, of which there was none this year. It did call on countries to provide “sexual and reproductive health,” which has been interpreted to include abortion in the past, but there was less emphasis than in recent years. Opposition to these terms was led by the Holy See, several Islamic countries, and the United States. Despite pressure from several Latin American and European delegations for the chair to take a hard line to include these terms, he did not. There were published reports that the American delegation was instructed by the Trump administration to take a pro-life and pro-family stance during negotiations and ask for deletion of “sexual and reproductive health.” LifeSiteNews reported this directive, “had a snowball effect, with delegations feeling more and more emboldened to oppose these long-contested terms.”

President Donald Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replaced him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, a former congressman who was rated pro-life by the National Right to Life Committee. Pompeo has described his foundational beliefs: “I hold a deep reverence for the sanctity of life, the solidarity of the family, and the solemnity of marriage. I will continue the fight to uphold these fundamental ideals each and every day. I am, and always will be, pro-life and will defend life from conception to natural death. I will continue to oppose any taxpayer funding for abortion. I also fully support the traditional institution of marriage. Strong families are the most important building block of our Republic, and we must preserve them for the sake of our community and our culture.”

The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops has announced that Texas Right to Life (TRTL) is banned from Catholic Church premises, because “their teachings don’t always align with what the Catholic Church teaches regarding certain life issues.” In response, TRTL said that they were “disappointed but not surprised by recent politically motivated attacks.” They accuse the bishops of softening their stand on abortion, and spending more time on immigration issues. There are also differences on the issue of capital punishment with the bishops’ conference criticizing TRTL’s support of anti-abortion, pro-capital punishment Republicans. TRTL is the largest pro-life organization in the State of Texas.

In a chilling opinion piece in the Times of Malta, the Council of Europe’s non-elected Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, has laid down the steps that Malta and Poland must take to get in line with abortion rights in the EU. Muiznieks says Malta jeopardizes a woman’s right to abortion with its restrictive legislation and that voices are needed to “challenge the taboo…on discussions on abortion.”

A Rally for Life of 100,00 people was held in Dublin on March 10 to push back against the government’s pro-abortion position which would remove the constitutional Eighth Amendment (1983) in order to allow unrestricted access to abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. Outside the Eighth Amendment, the unborn have no constitutional rights. Health Minister Simon Harris attacked pro-life advocates as “cold, uncaring and neglectful.”  British academic, Joseph Shaw commented: “The significance of this referendum is worldwide. Over many decades, Ireland has demonstrated that a developed nation can protect the unborn and mothers at the same time with one of the best records for maternal mortality in the world, giving the lie to the claim that access to abortion is necessary for the protection of women.”

Pope Francis will appear at the World Meeting of Families, sponsored by the Vatican Congregation of Marriage and Family, scheduled for Dublin, Ireland this August. In advance, LGBT forces have been court-pressing the Vatican to celebrate same-sex relationships at the meeting as a legitimate and normal type of “family.” The Irish Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has demanded that the meeting welcome all: “Never again should public statements or remarks which seek to isolate certain families be tolerated.” Pope Francis is in a difficult position. If he excludes homosexual couples as a legitimate family unit within the Catholic Church, he and Roman Catholicism will be deemed hateful and intolerant. If he gives in to the LGBT agenda, he will put Catholic moral teaching at great risk.