In Victoria, about 2,000 marchers walked down the temporarily closed Government Street toward the provincial legislature. Photo by Agnieszka Krawczynski

March for Life brings message to political halls of power

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  • May 12, 2017

The marchers were separated by thousands of kilometres, but they were united in the message they proclaimed at the annual March for Life on May 11.

From Ottawa to Regina to Edmonton to Victoria, B.C., thousands joined to support the dignity and sanctity of life from conception to natural death.

“This is a vibrant cause that’s not going away,” said Stephanie Fennelly, executive director of the Alberta pro-life group the Wilberforce Project that participated in Edmonton’s march. “There’s a movement. People are seeing that ... our country’s ready for a mature conversation about human rights.”

While Ottawa was the scene of the national march, the other three cities also saw crowds gather and walk to the steps of their respective legislature and make their case to politicians.

In Regina, several hundred people from across Saskatchewan joined under sunny skies to call for members of the Legislative Assembly to listen to the pro-life voice.

“We will never give up in our quest to support and defend life,” said Gerald Wiegers, a member of the Knights of Columbus.

Ukranian Catholic Bishop Bryan Bayda of the Eparchy of Saskatoon led the opening prayer on behalf of all Saskatchewan bishops. He affirmed the Church’s role in “standing up for life,” but said more needs to and can be done.

“There are many efforts we are pursuing and they are never enough,” said Bayda.

Four MLAs were on hand for the march, all from the governing Saskatchewan Party: Greg Ottenbreit, Warren Michelson, Eric Olauson and Randy Weekes.

“Your advocacy is changing hearts and minds,” Ottenbreit told the crowd.

In Edmonton, speakers, including Archbishop Richard Smith, encouraged participants not to keep silent in the face of legal abortion and physician-assisted suicide, but to speak the truth in love.

Smith was joined by bishops from across Alberta for the Mass for Life at St. Joseph’s Basilica, which took place before the march and rally.

“So great is the value of a human life and so inalienable the right to life of an innocent child growing in its mother’s womb, that no alleged right … can justify a decision to terminate that life,” said Bishop Paul Terrio of St. Paul, Alta., quoting Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

“So, yes, we do well to march for life, and we have the full endorsement of Pope Francis in doing so.”

In Victoria, about 2,000 marchers walked down the temporarily closed Government Street toward the legislature carrying messages such as “We Choose Life” and “Think Adoption, not Abortion.”

High school students, families with small children and seniors from various faiths, ideologies and ethnicities participated in the 10th annual march in what is becoming an increasingly diverse public showing against abortion in B.C.

“When a quarter of our generation has been wiped out by abortion, we have to stand on guard for our peers and speak up for the next generation, whose lives depend on us,” said pro-life activist Irene De Souza with the Canadian Centre for Bio-ethical Reform.

Guest speakers included Archbishop J. Michael Miller of Vancouver, disability rights activist Stan Leyenhorst, lawyer John Carpay and ethics professor Paul Chamberlain.

“It should be the driving force for mankind’s existence: to stop the elimination of the weakest, most vulnerable people,” said event organizer John Hof.

(With files from Mickey Conlon in Regina, Thandie Konguavi in Edmonton and Agnieszka Krawczynski in Victoria, B.C.)

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