Heartened and emboldened by Canada’s new anti-abortion stand on foreign aid, thousands of pro-life campaigners flooded in unprecedented numbers to Parliament Hill on Thursday, daring to hope that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government will take further steps against abortion at home as well as abroad.
The debate that Harper says he doesn’t want to reopen in Canada arrived literally on his doorstep on Thursday, with high spirits and demands for the Conservative government to do much more to discourage abortion in this country.
Around 15,000 pro-life campaigners, clearly buoyed by what they see as last month’s victory on the foreign-aid front, cheered loudly when numerous speakers talked about the next steps in what one called bringing a “culture of life” to Canada.
“We would like some more courage to do something more in Canada in defence of the unborn,” Cardinal Marc Ouellette, of Quebec City, told the crowd.
Ouellette minced no words in explaining later what he would like Harper to do next: “Reopen the discussion in Canada about this judicial void; there is absolutely no protection for the unborn,” Ouellette told reporters. “The next step should be a reopening of discussion about the legal situation of abortion in Canada.”
I've seen various crowd estimates. Here, 15,000, elsewhere 10,000 and 12,000.
But howevermany, MPs were there.
All together, about 20 MPs from the pro-life caucus were at the event, most Conservative, but a few Liberals too, including Paul Szabo, Gurbax Malhi and Dan McTeague. All but one of the MPs on the stage – Conservative Kelly Bock – were men. No cabinet ministers, New Democrats or Bloc Quebecois MPs took part in the rally.
There's a list of all MPs at the link. Check to see if your MP was there.
One thing I found heartening. A couple of news outlets pointed out that Catlick school kids were bussed in -- a little factoid I haven't seen in media coverage before.
CTV has this as its second para.
The throng included hundreds of students drawn from the capital's Roman Catholic high schools.
And this very very brief report saw fit to include this line:
Organizers have drawn a large delegation from the capital's Roman Catholic high schools to take part in the rally.
Other coverage includes this bloviating piece by John Ivison on the astonishing fact that Canada has no law on abortion. It's full of lies as usual, for example, he states that gestational cut-off dates in other 'civilized' countries are lower than they, in fact, are. I'd do linkies but who gives a shit what John Ivison says, eh?
But I did take a bit of solace from the headline for his piece -- probably not written by him.
Anti-abortion forces enjoy their moment in the sun
And a very brief moment it will prove to be.
In related news, the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada has issued a G8 Maternal Health Initiative Action Alert. Among the suggested actions is signing a petition to the government. Go. It won't do any good, but you might feel a bit better. I did.
THIS JUST IN: According to the always reliable LieShite, via SUZY ALL-CAPS who was too excited to provide a link, the number was 12,500. So, I'm thinking 10,000 tops.