TORONTO, January 18, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A Catholic teachers’ union vice president is promoting Saturday’s pro-abortion Women’s March on Washington.
Liz Stuart, 1st vice president of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA), is urging co-unionists to attend the Toronto march at Queens Park planned to show solidarity with the American event.
— Liz Stuart (@lstuart6) January 14, 2017
Stuart also retweeted an Ottawa Labour Council’s tweet to “check out” the Solidarity March in Ottawa on Saturday.
If in Ottawa this Saturday you might want to check out the Women's March on Washington-Solidarity March in Ottawa. https://t.co/AptRkWHoPL
— Labour Council (Ott) (@Ottawalabour) January 17, 2017
But the Women’s March in Toronto, like the Washington March and the many springing up across the U.S. and Canada, is unequivocally pro-abortion, confirmed spokesperson Denise Hammond.
The Toronto March “has adopted” the Washington March’s “Guiding Vision and Definition of Principles,” she told LifeSiteNews.
Those principles include championing women’s rights to “open access to safe, legal, affordable abortion and birth control for all people, regardless of income, location or education.”
They also include embracing “gender justice” and assert that women “must have the power to control our bodies and be free from gender norms, expectations and stereotypes,” and declare “that LGBTQIA Rights are Human Rights.”
Marie-Claire Bissonnette, the youth coordinator for Campaign Life Coalition, says she finds it “ironic” that “a group of Catholic educators would encourage people to attend a march which was created to support and promulgate a woman's so-called ‘right’ to kill her child — something which Catholics have always viewed as intrinsically evil.”
Stuart, who was elected to the provincial executive in 2015, notes on her Twitter account that she is a “Teacher and 1st Vice President of OECTA. The views expressed in my tweets are my own.”
Neither Stuart nor OECTA communication director Michelle Despault responded to requests from LifeSiteNews for comment.
It’s unclear if Stuart or others will attempt to walk in the March of Women Toronto behind an OECTA banner.
The Catholic union, which represents 45,000 teachers across Ontario, infamously allowed a contingent to march behind its banner in Toronto’s Pride Parade in 2014, despite Cardinal Thomas Collins’ public objections, and since then, OECTA groups have consistently marched in the Pride Parade.
Given the Catholic Church’s teaching on abortion, a group identified as Catholic showing up at the March for Women Toronto could put facilitators in a quandary.
Organizers of the Women’s March on Washington deleted the pro-life group New Wave Feminists from its list of “official partners” on Monday.
Hammond told LifeSiteNews that the Toronto march does not have formal partners, nor has it been approached by a pro-life group wanting to take part.
But a pro-life group perceived as officially participating in the march would send a “contradictory to the message that we’re trying to put out,” Hammond said.
“We have marshalls in place,” she added. “The basis of our march is no tolerance for hate, so if there someone was coming with intent with that perspective, it wouldn’t be welcome.”
Added Hammond: “One of the key questions in the States is in terms of funding for reproductive rights and reproductive services and we would see that as undermining our position.”