Pro-life leaders from across Canada met in Sharon, just north of Toronto from December 2-4, 1988, for Campaign Life Coalition’s Annual Strategy Meeting. There were representatives from eight of the ten provinces. With a large contingent from Nova Scotia; only Newfoundland and New Brunswick were missing.
The meeting was a golden opportunity for “reckoning and learning” for it was held in the aftermath of the federal election. Each provincial group had its victories and its defeats to report, and the free and open discussions contained valuable lessons for the future.
One fact is clear: more pro-lifers must become active in the political process. Nominations of pro-life candidates could have been won had pro-life people belonged to their Riding Associations and voted. There were ridings where the hard work of Campaign Life Coalition supporters paid off; pro-lifers joined the riding association, turned out to vote at the nomination meeting and carried their candidate to victory. Next, they worked to ensure that their candidate was elected to Parliament.
Saturday afternoon saw an excellent panel discussion on Morality and Law, with lawyer Angela Costigan (who argued our cause so brilliantly at the Borowski Appeal to the Supreme Court), Fr. Alphonse de Valk, and philosophy professor Joseph Boyle of St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto. There was also the first public showing of the video Rescue with Joan Andrews, of the Operation Rescue in Toronto. The video was still unfinished, but nevertheless dealt an almighty punch.
As always, however, it was a weekend of renewing friendships, and making new friends with fellow pro-life workers from across Canada. With Regina Mundi as a meeting place it becomes a large family reunion as everyone is expected to help to cook the meals, wash the dishes and clear away. Many of the most profitable sessions were held in late evening around the half-acre kitchen table, munching snacks to allay any unlikely pangs of hunger during the night, and trading stories form PEI to British Columbia.
It is invidious to comment on the cook-ability – all first class – of the various members of the group, but nevertheless special mention must be made of the sheer artistry of Rosalie Hafey as she “created” her large fruit trays; Jim Hughes’ skill as a short order cook; Carm Scime’s ability to organize the cooking of breakfast for some sixty people and still smile at late-comers; last, but not least, the unknown who managed to get Joe Borowski to dry the dishes. (It must be admitted that Joe is more valuable and effective as a pro-life activist than a dish-drier; but every man to his own talents).
Meantime, our pre-born Canadians are unprotected by law; we have a new Parliament to lobby and educate. On Sunday afternoon members left to catch planes for places as far apart as Vancouver and Charlettetown, carrying the message across the nation that the killing must stop.