WINDSOR, Ontario, June 26, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A pro-abortion rally organized by members of the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) Local 444 as part of a protest against the “New Abortion Caravan” didn’t go as smoothly as planned, after a crowd of pro-life union members showed up at the event in a counter protest.
CAW rally organizers said the pro-abortion demonstration was also staged to protest Conservative MP Steve Woodworth’s motion in the House of Commons calling for Parliament to establish a special committee to consider when human life begins.
The pro-abortion rally took place Monday evening in front of the Windsor Regional Hospital. The Windsor Star reported that about 100 pro-abortion union members were faced across the street with about half that number of pro-life union members, who not only stood to defend the lives of the unborn, but to protest their union’s decision to wade into the abortion debate.
CAW national president Ken Lewenza recently wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper in which he stated the union is pro-abortion.
“We are involved in the political, economic and social fabric of this country,” Lewenza wrote, according to the CBC. “We have an absolute responsibility to speak up on social issues. We’re stepping up to the plate on issues that affect Canadians.”
Fran LaSorda, second vice-president of Local 444 and one of the organizers of the Windsor pro-abortion demonstration, told the Windsor Star the rally was a show of solidarity with other CAW demonstrators in London, Ontario, where the New Abortion Caravan was due on June 25.
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Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform executive director Stephanie Gray said that she “found it shocking that the largest private worker’s union in the country is using its union dues to advocate for abortion. Participation in this union is mandatory, and yet people like CAW president Ken Lewenza are using the union dues of pro-life auto workers to advocate for Canada’s status quo as the only Western democracy to have no abortion restrictions.”
“What does abortion have to do with workplace issues for autoworkers?” she asked. “It is unfortunate that Ken Lewenza has no respect for his employees’ freedom of conscience.”
Colleen Ferrato, who was on the pro-life side of the street at the CAW’s pro-abortion rally, agrees with Stephanie Gray.
“We have a huge membership. And because we have such a big membership and our ideas are so vast and broad, they [the CAW] certainly shouldn’t be involved in this arena at all,” Ferrato told a CBC reporter. “They need to keep their nose out of it because their membership does not feel this way. We’re outraged and disgusted that our voice is not being heard.”
Mike Nantais, a member of CAW Local 444, seconded Ferrato’s statement, saying he was infuriated when he heard about the CAW pro-abortion rally.
“I think the union should not be speaking for those types of views. They think they’re thinking socially, but I think that to speak for union members in general is a big mistake and I think it’s a cause of division,” said Nantais.
Pro-life Conservative MP Jeff Watson (Essex) said he has received numerous complaints about the CAW’s actions from constituents.
“The common thread [of the complaints] is that the union should be more focused on issues like job security for its members than to be involved in public issues or social issues,” said Watson. “Workers just want to focus on their job and I think they want the union to do the same.”
Watson supported Stephen Woodworth’s call for a debate on the personhood of the unborn child in Parliament when, in January, he told LifeSiteNews that though he does not have a “definitive position” on when human rights ought to apply to children in the womb, he hopes for a debate involving testimony from bioethicists, scientists, and human rights professionals around that question.
“Human rights may have a specific legal connotation,” he said. “I’m not a rights specialist. What I’m firm about is that personhood exists from the time of conception forward. That’s my philosophical belief on that.”
“I think we’re mature enough as a society, I think we need to be mature enough as a Parliament, to deal with these questions head on,” Watson stated.
The CAW also has a history of promoting homosexuality with their memberships’ compulsory union dues.
In 2002 the CAW threatened to drag a Catholic school board through the Human Rights Commission over its decision to forbid a male student from bring his homosexual boyfriend to a school prom.
In 2008 the CAW gave $25,000 to PFLAG Canada (formerly the Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) to help finance the homosexual lobby group’s efforts in Canada’s schools to promote homosexuality. PFLAG said the money would go in part to fund “school anti-homophobia initiatives.”
Conservative MP Jeff Watson
186 Talbot Street South
Essex, Ontario N8M 1B6
Web Site: www.jeffwatsonmp.ca/
Canadian Auto Workers Local 444 (Windsor)
Dino Chiodo, President
1855 Turner Rd
Windsor, ON N8W 3K2
Phone: 519-258-6400, (ext. 444)
Canadian Auto Workers
Ken Lewenza, President
205 Placer Court,
Toronto, Ontario M2H 3H9
Phone: 416.497.4110 (ext 6555)
Tollfree: 1.800.268.5763 (ext 6555)