OTTAWA, May 14, 2004 ( – At Canada’s annual National March for Life yesterday a crowd of 3,500, including many youth, marched through the streets of Ottawa and gathered on Parliament Hill to hear messages of encouragement and gratitude from political and religious leaders.

In addition to nearly 20 Members of Parliament representing both the governing Liberals and the Opposition Conservatives, the marchers were addressed by religious leaders including Ottawa Rabbi Reuven Bulka, Ottawa Archbishop Marcel Gervais, and Bruce Clemenger, President of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.  The Knights of Columbus were especially prominent at the march this year, having provided many of the signs, as well as knights in full regalia and prominent Canadian Knights of Columbus leaders who walked near the head of the march.  Moreover, Jean Migneault, deputy supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus Catholic men’s organization, was to address the Parliament Hill crowd again this year. Unfortunately, he was not able to do so because of an Ottawa police warning that the march would be cancelled if organizers did not immediately end the overtime speeches and begin the march.

The first public Canadian demonstration of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign took place immediately after the march. Women from across Canada gave moving personal testimonies on how abortion negatively affected their lives emotionally, spiritually, and physically.  Coordinator, Angelina Steenstra, said, “Would that one day we would gather together and stand up and speak the truth about what abortion really does to men and women, to families, to the children that die.”  Closing off the activities on Parliament Hill, the Ukrainian Catholic community held a memorial service for all aborted children at the peace flame.  Jim Hughes, National President of Campaign Life Coalition – the group which organizes the march with the support of many other pro-life and pro-family groups – told that there were “very uplifting religious services” before the march.  For the first time, two Canadian Catholic Bishops took part in the pro-life Mass launching the March.  Mass was celebrated by Ottawa Archbishop Marcel Gervais and Pembroke Bishop Richard Smith who concelebrated with over thirty other priests. Of note, Bishop Smith also walked in the march alongside many families from his diocese

The Rose dinner following the march, which was sold out nearly two weeks ago, was addressed by Sandy Rios of Concerned Women for America.  Rios received two standing ovations for her inspiring presentation.  A youth conference on Friday was attended by over 250 youth. Senator Anne Cools spoke to the youth in the morning followed by other speakers who gave personal testimony of their post abortion recovery, conversion and lifestyle change and the importance of chastity for personal happiness.  Hughes concluded, “Already there have been preliminary talks about planning for next year’s event, so if you didn’t get there this year, mark it on your calendars for Thursday May 12, 2005.”  See the June Interim newspaper and CLC National News for more extensive coverage of the March for Life activities.  See Letter by’s John-Henry Westen that was published in the National Post


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