VANCOUVER, Mar 28, 2001 ( – The archdiocese of Vancouver has set a new policy regarding candidates for political office after an incident during the November federal election saw a noted pro-abortion politician speak at a parish hall in the diocese. During the federal election campaign Francesca Zumpano, Liberal candidate for the Burnaby-Douglas constituency, organized a ‘Supporters Reception’, featuring Heritage Minister Sheila Copps as guest speaker. The venue for the reception was the St. Helen’s Parish Hall in Burnaby, where Zumpano is a parishioner.

Copps’ outspoken pro-abortion position caused scandal among the faithful. The event was picketed and letters and faxes were sent to the parish office seemingly to no avail. However a recent letter by Vancouver’s Archbishop Adam Exner to Campaign Life Coalition BC president John Hof notes that the situation will not repeat itself given the diocese’s new policy. “This issue was raised last November at a Presbyteral Council meeting and a diocesan policy was adopted, namely, that parishes may not allow their halls to be used for individual political candidate’s meetings; only ‘all candidates’ meetings may be held in parish halls,” said the letter.