Ottawa mayor again declares ‘Respect for Life Day’ for National March for Life
OTTAWA, Ontario, May 8, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The mayor of Ottawa has again declared the occasion of the National March for Life as ‘Respect for Life Day’ in the capital city after his same proclamation last year sparked a media firestorm.
Mayor Jim Watson signed off on the proposal this week as thousands prepare to storm Parliament Hill on Thursday, May 10th for the largest annual rally outside the federal legislature.
“The National March for Life has been taking place in Ottawa for the past fourteen years to bring awareness for the need for life-affirming solutions,” the proclamation reads in part.
The theme of this year’s march, which marks 43 years since abortion was legalized in Canada, is “Abortion Hurts Everyone.” Last year’s event drew over 15,000 pro-lifers, and organizers expect as many or more again this year.
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The mayor’s proclamation last year became a flashpoint for pro-life and pro-abortion supporters in the days leading up to the march after pro-lifers took to social media to congratulate him.
Mayor Watson himself was forced to defend the proclamation while at the same time affirming his belief in the “right to choose.”
“I don’t happen to agree with those who want to take away a woman’s right to choose,” Watson had told reporters. “But ... it’s not the mayor’s personal beliefs and hunches that should rule the day.”
Some legal-abortion advocates had argued that the special day violated a city policy that proclamations ought not be issued for “politically or religiously motivated” causes. But Mayor Watson said the political qualification refers to partisan politics.
Pundits also noted at the time that the city’s policy stipulates a proclamation does not constitute a “personal or civic endorsement.”
The events surrounding the March for Life begin Wednesday with prayer services and Masses at various churches in the downtown area and a candlelight vigil at the Canadian Human Rights Monument at 9 p.m.
A noon rally before the march on Thursday, May 10th will feature speeches by pro-life Members of Parliament, as well as religious and pro-life leaders.
That evening there will be a Rose Dinner featuring a keynote address by Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute. A Youth Banquet takes place at the same time with an address by Rev. Pat Mahoney, president of the Christian Defense Coalition, followed by the day-long youth conference on May 11th.
Find more information on the National March for Life website.