May 14, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Thousands of pro-lifers attended provincial Marches for Life across Canada on May 8, joining forces with the 23,000-strong crowd at the National March for Life in Ottawa, with the aim of ending abortion in this country.
While a few regions hold their marches on different days to accommodate as many people to attend as possible, all have the same focus that abortion kills children and must be stopped.
VICTORIA, British Columbia
Hundreds of pro-lifers started the day on Thursday, May 8, 2014 for the 6th annual March for Life in Victoria with prayer at two noon pro-life Masses held at St. Andrew’s Roman Catholic Cathedral and St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church. Marchers then gathered at Centennial Square and headed down Government Street to the B.C. Legislature where they heard inspirational speeches on this year's theme, Life: The Only Choice.
Speakers were introduced by emcee Pavel Reid, director of the Office of Life, Marriage and Family of the Archdiocese of Vancouver, and included Bishop John Corriveau of Nelson, pro-life advocates Carmela Marie Cruz, Elizabeth Sutcliffe and Lara Burns, as well as high school students Amanda Seymour and Antonio Balogh.
The day finished with the Victoria Pro-Life Gala dinner co-hosted by National Campus Life Network and UVic’s pro-life club, Youth Protecting Youth. The guest speaker was Lara Burns, who shared her personal testimony, speaking about “The Joy of Choosing Life.”
A video of the Victoria March for Life is available here.
After the pro-life Mass at St. Joseph's Basilica, marchers gathered at the Alberta Legislature where Bishop David Motiuk of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton offered opening prayers. The Knights of Columbus led the March from the Legislature to Sir Winston Churchill Square for speeches on this year's theme: “But Mommy, Daddy, my heart is beating.”
Emcees were Denise Mountenay, founder and president of Canada Silent No More, and Joanne Byfield, president of ALIES (Back Porch), who introduced a host of speakers including Dr. Robert Hauptman of Canadian Physicians for Life and Sharon-Rose Milan, executive director of Campaign Life Coalition Alberta.
Marchers then returned to the legislature for closing speeches and a prayer service for the victims of abortion.
Organizers of the Regina March for Life, which was held this year on April 28 due to commitment conflicts, said that while the numbers were small, the enthusiasm was great, with about 100 pro-life supporters attending the event.
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Marching from the Legislature to Victoria Avenue and back, the warmly-dressed pro-lifers presented a great witness to passing motorists that the best choice is to “Choose Life.”
“In spite of the cooler weather and threatening rain, and in spite of several car and bus loads having to turn around because of bad road and visibility conditions, the March went off without a glitch and we received several honks and thumbs up and very few 'negative' fingers or thumbs down from the passers by,” Gilles L'Heureux of the Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association (SPLA) told LifeSiteNews.
L'Heureux said that in keeping with this year's theme to “Defund Abortion,” SPLA past president Marcy Millette encouraged pro-lifers to support the Parental Consent initiative that SPLA is promoting, with the eventual goal of defunding and eliminating abortions in Saskatchewan.
“SPLA believes that the only way to eventually eliminate abortions altogether is to start off with small victories and the Parental Consent bill is the first step,” L'Heureux said.
ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland
A group of supporters lined Prince Philip Dr. in front of the Confederation Building, the provincial legislature, in St. John's on May 8 to stand in solidarity with pro-lifers across the country on the day of the National March for Life in Ottawa.
“As no politicians were present and the windows of their offices are covered for renovations, we opted to stand on the road in front of the legislature LifeChain style,” Patrick Hanlon of Pro-Life NL told LifeSiteNews.
The anti-life counter-protesters were conspicuously absent this year. “The anti-lifers that attend and try to disrupt every event we have, showed up after we left thanks to a typo in one of the public listings,” said Hanlon.
He noted that CBC TV was present for the pro-life demonstration but left before the others arrived.
“It was nice for CBC to note that while our numbers were small, there were plenty of cars passing by and honking in support. They seemed more interested in more response to the new Premier, but did have a clip of the Ottawa March for Life at the tail end of the show,” Hanlon said.
Hanlon pointed out that the March for Life generally gets a low turnout because the main annual pro-life demonstration in the province, the Good Friday Vigil at the St. John’s hospital (ongoing for over 35 years), gets hundreds of people.
“Our attendance was lower this year, however the attendance at our Good Friday vigil / march was higher and got national media attention,” Hanlon said.
LifeSiteNews will highlight the Marches for Life held in other regions as reports become available.