Despite strong objections from local pro-lifers, the provincial NDP member from Durham York has been admitted to the St. Joseph Council of the Knights of Columbus.

In his screening interview, Larry O’Connor claimed he was “pro-life” but that “he had to go along with (the pro-abortion stance of) the party.” O’Connor also supports the controversial legislation which would give benefits to same-sex couples.

Local K of C member and pro-life activist Ken Canning lodged a complaint against O’Connor’s acceptance which was dismissed on the grounds that it was “only Canning’s anti-NDP sentiment.” Canning insists that he opposed the application because of the member’s anti-family activities and his public support for abortion.

In a letter of resignation to Grand Knight Karl Kappes, Canning charged that the council had failed to live up to “the order’s policy of not inviting to any event, persons, especially public officials, who do not support legal protection of unborn children.”

Canning recalled that O’Connor’s refusal to sign a K of C petition regarding the anti-life policies of the NDP government should have disbarred him. He also charged that O’Connor violated section 162-7 of the Knights’ Charter, Constitution and Laws, that states that a member who “gives scandal, scandalous conduct or practice unbecoming a member of this Order” should be suspended or expelled.

Canning further pointed to a K of C Council in the U.S. where a public office seeker, was, after a trial, suspended indefinitely from his council for his pro-abortion stand.

The controversy began two years ago when O’Connor stated in a letter to his constituents that “we’ve (the NDP) streamlined the process for licensing of freestanding clinics and made a provision for travel funding for Northern Ontario women who must travel to get an abortion…and this is just the beginning! I am proud to be part of these exciting changes.”

Recently, O’Connor voted in favour of Bill 167 which re-defines “marital status” as a conjugal relationship with a person of either sex and defines “spouse” as “a person of either sex with whom the person is living in a conjugal relationship outside marriage.” The bill would also allow homosexuals to adopt children and collect the same benefits usually reserved for traditionally married couples.

Council Chaplain Father Frank Skumavc also vigorously opposed O’Connor’s admittance to the point of going to Queen’s Park to interview the MPP. However, O’Connor refused to recant his pro-abortion and anti-family views and Fr. Skumavc is now planning to resign as chaplain of the Council.

Fr. Skumavc has also contacted his local bishop but, so far, no changes have been made.