Russell E. Kuykendall:
Lorne Anthony (“Tony”) Reznowski served as a pro-life evangelist and conscience to candidates, Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of Legislative and National Assemblies (MLAs and MNAs), Ministers of the Crown, and to party organizers, activists and youth. First and always, Tony was a devoted follower of Jesus, a family man, and a faithful supporter of his parish. These informed and impelled Tony’s work as a party organizer and political staffer par excellence. But Tony did not seek any spotlight. Outside of those he spoke and worked with, the extent of his influence was not well known. Tony Reznowski may well have been the most effective pro-life campaigner you’ve never heard of! What made Tony effective, into the man he was?
Tony was born May 12, 1961, in Ottawa, the eldest child of Reverend Deacon Dr. Lorne Anthony and Dorothy Reznowski. Raised in Winnipeg, Tony attended Holy Family Ukrainian Catholic Church with his family. His parents took the family for a year to Nerja, Spain, to expose them to a (then) confessionally Catholic country.
After high school, Tony studied at St. Paul’s College, University of Manitoba, where his father taught English literature. In the 1980 federal, general election, Tony ran as an 18-year-old Social Credit candidate against Lloyd Axworthy. In 1981, he re-established Obnova, the Ukrainian Catholic Students Club, and collaborated with the Newman Club. Anticipating the 1984 papal visit, Tony formed the first Knights of Columbus College Council in Canada, recruiting more than fifty new members. This resulted in an invitation to Sts.Vladimir and Olga Cathedral for the papal visit, during which Tony received a blessing from his hero, now-Saint John Paul II.
Tony earned a B.A. (science politique) at University of Ottawa, a B.A. (American Government) at University of Arizona, and a M.A. (International Relations) at University of San Diego. He completed advanced, modern languages course work in Ukrainian, French and Spanish. From 1988 to 1992, he lived in the Washington, D.C. area, working for the U.S. House of Representatives as a Foreign Affairs & Defense legislative assistant, and the Leadership Institute which trained conservatives in Arlington, Virginia.
Following the Soviet Union’s collapse and the declaration of an independent Ukraine, Tony lived in L’viv, Ukraine, from 1992-1994, lecturing on international relations at the L’viv Trade and Economics Institute and the Ivan Franko University. In 1993, Tony met and married Olenka Kravets. Together, they founded and managed the Kravets-Reznowski Translation Studio, providing Ukrainian, Russian, and English services for private and government clients. Tony saw first-hand the damage done by decades of Russian totalitarian communism imposed on Ukraine.
After settling with Olenka and their children in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Tony again heeded the call to public service as a political organizer and staffer, during the Harper years.
In 2004, Tony ran Rod Bruinooge’s first campaign, and his campaign in 2006 that saw his election as MP for Winnipeg South.
In 2007, he ran 47 campaigns across Quebec for the L’Action démocratique du Québec that saw them elect 41 MNAs, achieving official opposition in the National Assembly. Also in 2007, Tony ran several successful nomination campaigns for Manitoba PC candidates. In 2008, Tony managed the nomination campaign of Candice Bergen leading to her election that year, and the general election campaign of Parm Gill who was elected in his next time standing in 2011. In 2009, Tony ran voter ID and get-out-the-vote in a successful by-election campaign for Bernard Généreux in Rivière-du-loup. In 2010, Tony ran Wildrose Party Leader Paul Hinman’s successful by-election campaign for MLA, Calgary-Glenmore.
In 2011, Tony ran 34 campaigns across Canada. Tony and his team discovered, then turned back, the NDP orange wave in Quebec for several Conservative candidates. Tony was adviser and organizer on behalf of dozens of other candidates for nomination, party leadership and public office across Canada and in the United States.
After a spinal injury made worse by Québec’s medical care and, as a result, confined to wheelchair, Tony permanently moved to Tucson, Arizona, at Easter 2016 where he remained active in both Canadian and U.S. politics.
How did Tony make his pro-life, socially conservative commitments felt?
When a would-be candidate waffled on a pro-life commitment, Tony pointed to the Apostle Peter’s denial of Our Lord, for instruction and then achieved election of that candidate as a publicly pro-life MP and leader.
When a “cradle Catholic” party intern presented as “pro-choice,” Tony challenged that, insisting the intern learn what abortion did to women as well as their babies, resulting in the intern’s conversion to the pro-life position and turning to his faith, including as a party activist.
When a public official insisted it was not possible to be publicly pro-life and electorally successful before a campaign vote, Tony pointed out after the electoral loss how the refusal to be pro-life publicly had blocked access to many pro-life and socially conservative voters who might well have helped win that campaign!
When pro-life and socially conservative candidates for a party nomination, for elected office or for party leadership, sought his help, Tony stepped up and did all he could to support them and get them elected. Some won. Some did not. But all were better candidates and achieved better electoral results because of Tony.
Tony believed in and practiced what Timothy George called “the ecumenism of the trenches” – what might more accurately be described as the ecumenism of the committed to the sanctity of human life, an understanding of marriage as the foundation for family life and human relations, and the freedom to peacefully gather and practice one’s faith. Tony made common cause with western-rite Roman Catholics, Pentecostal-charismatic Christians, sola scriptura evangelical Protestants, Dutch Calvinists, and Orthodox Christians. He worked with Seventh Day Adventists as well as Latter Day Saints, Sikhs, and Hindus, and those adhering to no organized religion . . . in support of candidates’ furthering these three commitments.
Tony was a passionate defender and advocate for life, from conception until natural death, evidenced not only by who he supported politically, but also in his tenacious will to live and in his love for his family. His children, Maksym, Makyon and Nika, were the pride and joy of his life.
Lorne Anthony Reznowski died Friday, August 19, 2022, in Tucson of complications from diabetes at the age of 62 years.
As too few do, Tony understood that pro-life, socially conservative campaigners compete not in a hundred-yard dash but a marathon. Catch the torch. Run the marathon.
Russell Kuykendall is a pro-life, socially conservative writer, activist, and organizer.