The writs are down.
The shackles are off.
Across the country, political hopefuls of every stripe are rapidly molding election teams.
This election will be very important for the unborn in Canada. The controversial Bill C-169 (amendments to the Canada Election Act) was thrown out of court because it denied Canadians the right of free speech, guaranteed them under the Canadian Charter of Rights.
It was a pro-lifer who read about this Bill in Hansard, who recognized its dangers to the unborn, and alerted us to its implications.
We advised our members across Canada, and suggested appropriate action (writing letters to M.P.s, newspapers, etc.). At the same time, we contacted other groups, whose right of free speech had also been denied.
The National Citizens Coalition challenged the constitutionality of Bill C-169 under the Charter of Rights, and won.
Now, unshackled, Campaign Life can get back to work –
- qualifying the candidates
- advertising their pro-life/pro-abortion positions
- leafleting selected ridings across the country
- encouraging support for pro-life candidates
- targeting for defeat pro-abortion candidates
The three established parties already enjoy a high media profile. They also have a systematic “machine” to raise substantial funds from big business, from the unions, and from wealthy supporters. For them, it is “no contest” with the majority of the candidates who run as independents and who have little hope of getting back even their deposits.
Advances in fetology
Last October, Mr. Justice W. R. Matheson stated that due to the rapid advances in fetology ” … it may well be socially desirable that some legal status be extended to the unborn irrespective of ultimate viability.”
During the next twelve months three separate challenges to the Charter of Rights will be heard. If the abortion law is thrown out, parliament will have to protect the unborn.
Our present laws, since 1969, have resulted in the killing of over 1,000,000 unborn Canadian babies. Any candidate or incumbent who supports this law actively or passively must be defeated.
From my perspective, as president of a national organization, I can sense a dramatic shift in support for the unborn. Those members of the public who until recently had not made up their minds on the abortion issue are now climbing off the fence and are joining the pro-life ranks.
Many of the people now volunteering to leaflet or canvass homes with pro-life flyers during this federal election, for example, have never before been involved in a political campaign. Their reluctance to get involved stemmed from their belief that only politicians determined policies.
The fresh supply of workers to the pro-life movement is due in part to the outstanding efforts by members of over 300 pro-life educational groups across the country who are having a significant impact upon the public, plus the recognized advances in fetology and the discovery – lo and behold! – that politicians as well as the general public must be educated to the issue and that we Canadians are responsible to do it.
You, the voters, decide the issues. Politicians must be told which issues concern you.
Responsibility to educate
We all have a responsibility to educate the office-seekers to the pro-life realities. If you have never bothered to raise the abortion question with your candidate, do not be surprised when you learn he or she is anti-life.
In many ridings, there will be no pro-life candidate representing your party. You may decide to cross party lines to vote for a pro-life candidate or perhaps throw your support to an independent pro-life candidate. Make sure you do not vote for or in any way support any candidate who will not work to restore full legal protection to the unborn.
If you have not already done so get involved in this struggle. Do not allow yourself to be held back by your reserve or natural inhibitions. You are needed in this battle. The next parliament is the most crucial ever in this fight for life. It can seal the fate of the unborn or it may give them life.
Let it be known that you were a part of the greatest challenge of the 20th century.
Jim Hughes is president of Campaign Life Canada.