OTTAWA, October 18, 2001 ( – Fr. Tony Van Hee, a pro-life Catholic priest who has quietly and peacefully picketed, prayed and fasted outside the Canadian parliament buildings in Ottawa since September 1989, was removed from the spot from which he has graced Parliament for years. According to Parliament Hill insiders, security has been heavily increased on the Hill and precipitated Fr. Van Hee’s removal to a spot much further away from the buildings (by the Eternal Flame).

Conservative MP Elsie Wayne, reacted to the news with sadness, alluding to the fact that Divine security comes with and not without Fr. Van Hee’s presence. Mrs. Wayne told LifeSite, “Oh no! Instead of moving Fr. Van Hee they would have been better to keep him right here. I feel so badly. He is fighting for the values we are here to protect. I’m going down to visit him.”

Years after Fr. Van Hee began his daily vigil, taking place every day while Parliament is in session, his totally peaceful perseverance earned him a privileged position to set up his pro-life poster display close to the doors that MPs use to enter the Parliament buildings.

Last year homosexual and euthanasia activist NDP MP Svend Robinson received a torrent of criticism from his colleagues after he sought to evict Fr. Van Hee from his post. After being outraged at a sign that was part of Fr. Van Hee’s display, Robinson threatened the priest with expulsion if he did not remove the sign. When the priest did not comply Robinson took the sign and threw it over a wall. At the time, then Independent MP John Nunziata said, “I just find it annoying that he would attack a mild-mannered priest for expressing his views when a lot of people have tolerated Svend’s extreme views and defended his right to express those views.” Liberal MP Dan McTeague called Robinson a bully, adding, “I guess freedom of speech, a right given by Parliament, is a one-way street for Mr. Robinson.”

See the coverage of the Robinson altercation: