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Father Tony Van Hee

Click HERE to support Fr. Van Hee in his legal battles for the unborn.  

OTTAWA, Ontario (LifeSiteNews) – LifeSiteNews has launched a fundraiser to support a Canadian priest in his ongoing legal battle challenging Ontario’s abortion center “bubble zone” law. 

In June, Campaign Life Coalition launched a LifeFunder campaign for the 86-year-old Jesuit Father Tony Van Hee, as his lawyers hope to take the case to court this year after being delayed by COVID-19 restrictions.  

Fr. Van Hee was arrested in Ottawa on October 24, 2018 while sitting on his trademark hunting and golfing chair on the sidewalk across from an abortuary at the Morgentaler Clinic at 65 Bank Street. He was holding a sandwich board displaying signs not about abortion, but free speech.  

The first sign read: “The Primacy Of Free Speech: Cornerstone Of Western Civilization.” The second: “Without Free Speech The State Is A Corpse.”  

He was arrested for breaking Ontario’s “bubble zone” law, Bill 163, called the Safe Access to Abortion Services Act, which was passed by Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government in October 2017 and took effect February 1, 2018. 

READ: Canada extends COVID border restrictions until ‘at least’ September 30, 2022

The far-reaching bill bans all pro-life activity, including sidewalk counselling and showing “disapproval” of abortion, within 50 meters of Ontario’s eight abortion centers. This distance can be increased to 150 meters on request. 

The bill also allows hospitals, pharmacies, and healthcare facilities that commit abortions, including chemical abortions, to apply for “bubble zones” banning all pro-life activity for up to 150 meters. 

Those who violate Bill 163 face a fine of up to $5,000 and a jail sentence of up to six months, which increases to a fine of up to $10,000 and a jail sentence of up to one year for subsequent convictions. 

Fr. Van Hee was first charged with intimidating or attempting to intimidate the women going into the abortion center. However, this charge was later dropped and substituted for charges relating to informing people within the bubble zone of issues pertaining to “abortion services,” and to “performing an act of disapproval concerning issues related to abortion services by any means.”   

His lawyers, Toronto-based Philip Horgan and Ottawa-based Albertos Polizogopoulos, are challenging Bill 163 as violating Section 2 of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedom, which guarantees freedom of speech and religion in the hope of overturning the law.  

In 2019, Fr. Van Hee’s lawyers provided six affidavits in support of their constitutional challenge, including support from Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, then archbishop of Ottawa, and Dr. Christian Elia, Executive Director of the Catholic Civil Rights League.  

In response, the Crown served 15 affidavits of various witnesses, from abortion industry advocates to Ministry of the Attorney General and civic officials. As a result of more recent developments, one of the Crown’s affidavits has been withdrawn, rather than face further exposure through the court process.  

In 2021, 14 cross-examinations conducted on Crown witnesses, used up the remainder of Fr. Van Hee’s funds, and court hearings are expected to begin this year.  

Click HERE to support Fr. Van Hee in his legal battles for the unborn.  

Fr. Van Hee recently spoke to LifeSiteNews about his landmark case and the importance of continuing pro-life witness. See the full interview below:

LSN: What significant developments have been made on your case in the past year? 

Fr. Van Hee: In 2021, my lawyers completed their cross-examination of 14 Crown witnesses. The Crown has made it clear that they fully intend to defend the bubble zone law, despite its obvious intrusion into free speech. 

A major constitutional challenge comes at a cost. Support has been provided by folks who have supported Mary Wagner in the past, and from a variety of kind individuals in support of life, for which I am most appreciative. But more is needed to pursue this challenge to the end. 

We expect that a hearing will be undertaken soon on the legal arguments.  

LSN: Your case was delayed due to COVID-19, with restrictions being lifted, when do you anticipate it will reach the Supreme Court? 

Fr. Van Hee: The scheduling of the application will depend on the remaining requirements of the Crown witnesses to answer their undertakings. A hearing is expected this year. If that is appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, that will likely take a further two years. 

LSN: What significance do you think the overturning of Roe v. Wade will have on Canadians and Canadian law?  

Fr. Van Hee: For those of us who are able to see with the eyes of faith, the overturning of Roe v. Wade and Casey is one of those miraculous signs and wonders God gives to us to strengthen our trust in His overall mastery. 

For those who only see with the eyes of the world, such as our Prime Minister and the mainstream media, the overturning of American precedents is a source for a specious cry for greater access to abortion in Canada, where no restrictions currently exist, with ever greater risk for the unborn and their mothers. 

LSN: How do you see the upholding of civil rights in Canada, especially during the past two years? 

Fr. Van Hee: I see the Prime Minister tearing down rather than upholding civil rights, at an alarming pace. We have seen the overreach of the Emergencies Act, and the re-election of a complacent Ford government in Ontario, responsible for the charges I face. With the support of the NDP at the federal level, there is little hope for a change in political leadership until 2025. 

LSN: What do you see as the greatest civil rights injustice in Canada right now? 

 Fr. Van Hee: The greatest civil rights injustice in Canada and in the world will always be, in my opinion, legalized abortion. Mother St. Theresa of Calcutta addressed the violence in the world as a reflection of the violence faced by a soon-to-be-aborted child. 

LSN: How do you hope your case will benefit Canadians?  

Fr. Van Hee: Hopefully, if successful, it will be one small step of being allowed to speak freely on the humanity and personhood of the unborn, and to the reawakening of a mother’s compassion for her child. Free speech is at the cornerstone of democracy. 

LSN: Why is this case still important for Canadians today?  

Fr. Van Hee: Because it is one effort to allow for free speech on issues of general public interest. The effort to enshrine in law the protection of the unborn child from the risk of death via abortion will always be a matter of public interest, despite efforts by pro-abortion activists to disallow such engagements in the public square. 

LSN: Are you still praying and fasting on Parliament Hill while Parliament is in session?  

Fr. Van Hee: No, my last Prayer Fast and Witness for Life on Parliament Hill was Thursday, October 4, 2018. 

From October 20-24, 2018, I began a Prayer Fast and Witness for Free Speech across the street from the Morgentaler abortion “clinic” at 65 Bank St., until I was arrested at 11.13 A.M. Wednesday, October 24, 2018. 

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This time last year, Justin Trudeau and his media allies were at the forefront of falsely accusing Catholic institutions of having buried Indigenous children in mass graves at various residential schools across Canada.

There was and is no credible evidence to support these wild accusations, but many Canadians are still unaware of the facts.

SIGN to demand an apology from Justin Trudeau for promoting the "mass grave" smear

The anger generated by the media at home and abroad saw over twenty Canadian churches burned, and extensive damage done to many more, but the record has never been set straight in what amounts to a disinformation campaign. 

Terry Glavin at the National Post recently wrote a masterful piece that may go down in history as the definitive “debunking” of the assertions about the mass graves that never were.

Glavin points out that “nothing new was added to the public record” concerning the history of residential schools in Canada.

“The legacy of the schools had already been exhaustively explored in the testimony of hundreds of elders and a series of inquiries, public hearings, criminal cases, settlements and federal investigations going back decades. Most important of these efforts were the widely publicized undertakings of the 2008-2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), and the content of its voluminous findings,” Glavin wrote.

“…[N]ot a single mass grave was discovered in Canada last year,” he added.

“The several sites of unmarked graves that captured international headlines were either already-known cemeteries, or they remain sites of speculation even now, unverified as genuine grave sites.”

“Not a single child” accounted for during the extensively researched commission “was located in any of these places,” Glavin underscored.

“In none of these places were any human remains unearthed.”

SIGN and SHARE the petition calling on Justin Trudeau to set the record straight.

Even Trudeau's kneeling at what was reported upon as a just-discovered residential school burial ground was a lie - it was actually a well-known Catholic cemetery, but the media didn't let these details get in the way of reinforcing their narrative.

Trudeau also called on Pope Francis to come to Canada and apologize for what had happened, as outlets like Reuters, the New York Times and scores more told the world that “nearly 1000 bodies” had been found in two mass graves. 

Those online articles were quietly edited from "mass graves" to "unmarked graves", but we still have the Twitter posts from major outlets like Reuters to prove the staggering level of misinformation. 

SIGN: Justin Trudeau must tell Canadians the truth - there were no mass graves

According to an extensive investigation by Professor Emeritus Jacques Rouillard from the Université de Montréal: “The ‘discovery’ was first reported last May 27 (2021) by Tk’emlúps te secwépemc First Nation Chief Rosanne Casimir after an anthropologist, Sarah Beaulieu, used ground-penetrating radar in a search for the remains of children alleged by some to be buried there.”

“Her preliminary report is actually based on depressions and abnormalities in the soil of an apple orchard near the school – not on exhumed remains.”

Professor Rouillard opined that the unverifiable narrative of what could have amounted to child-murder has led to the false assertion of genocide, an assertion without any supporting evidence.

“By never pointing out that it is only a matter of speculation or potentiality, and that no remains have yet been found, governments and the media are simply granting credence to what is really a thesis: the thesis of the ‘disappearance’ of children from residential schools,” Rouillard wrote.  

“And all of this is based only on soil abnormalities that could easily be caused by root movements, as the anthropologist herself cautioned in the July 15 press conference.”  

The vast majority of Canadians have been misled by the media and Mr. Trudeau, believing the most incredible smears imaginable, leading to scores of attacks on churches around the country. 

It's time we heard the truth.

Please sign the petition today.

We are also cc'ing Canada's Catholic bishops on this petition - they must also demand the record be corrected, lest Canadians continue believing the mainstream media's disinformation. 

For More Information: 

How the world's media got it wrong on residential school graves - National Post

Trudeau lied about the bogus mass grave story - LifeSiteNews

Trudeau's narrative was a hoax - LifeSiteNews

**Photo: St. Jean Baptiste Church in Morinville burned to the ground on June 30, 2021**

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LSN: What advice do you have to pro-life advocates facing bubble zones, as well as a hostile social and cultural environment? 

Fr. Van Hee: Since the constitutionality of the bubble zone law is being challenged, it probably is better to spend time praying fasting and witnessing as close as legally possible to the abortion “clinic,” rather than wasting time and resources with another court challenge. My challenge needs further support prior to the court hearing, and whatever appeals may follow. 

However, if one is able, “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws” (Martin Luther King). 

Pro-life advocates who recognize, acknowledge, accept that they are facing a hostile social and cultural environment are already established in the truth. We live in a culture of death, pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia, pro-death. 

Living out that truth, that our culture is a culture of death, calls us to testify openly and publicly against abortion and euthanasia.  

One who does not openly and publicly testify against this hostile social and cultural environment is like a soldier who flees at the decisive moment in a battle. He is no longer a witness but a deserter. The March for Life is therefore a great witness, but it is the witness we have to give on a daily basis, when called upon. 

LSN: What is your response to pro-life advocates becoming discouraged in Canada? 

Fr. Van Hee: If one truly trusts in God, trusts that the battle is His more than ours. Although our part may be very small, it remains essential – knowing that He accomplishes all that we do. There is no need for discouragement but rather joy, that His will is being accomplished always and everywhere whether we know it or not, and that the only reason He allows evil at all, is to bring about a greater good. 

LSN: Why is pro-life witness so important during this time? 

Fr. Van Hee: We are called upon to TESTIFY. This testimony is our mode of being in the world. 

We live in a culture of death, if a Christian does not stand out, he is a part of that culture. 

LSN: How can people help support you? 

Fr. Van Hee: Most importantly, by letting God be God in your life to form you more and more into His image and likeness. In that way we build a social and cultural environment more to God’s liking. 

If you wish to help on the court case go to https://www.lifefunder.com/helpfrvanhee  

LSN: Are there any further comments you would like to make? 

Fr. Van Hee: Yes, we live in a perfect world, all the checks and balances are in place. God couldn’t do anything imperfectly even if He wanted to. He gives us exactly what we need every nano second. 

With files from Lianne Laurence

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