OTTAWA, May 9, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Up to 25,000 pro-lifers packed Parliament Hill today under threats of thunderstorms. The bad weather, however, held off, providing sunny conditions for the 16th National March for Life.
This year was another in a continuing series of record-breaking numbers for the federal parliament's largest annual rally. Organizers estimated the crowd at likely near 25,000 given the clearly visible substantial increase in numbers over last year, when the count was 19,500.
This year the March was obstructed by construction across the entire base of Parliament Hill, making the exit off the Hill considerably longer because of a bottleneck at the one narrow exit.
That, coupled with the larger size of this year’s crowd, resulted in an estimated 2,000 attendees not being able to get off the Hill for the March before the front of the March returned to Parliament Hill.
The event, which marks the passage of Pierre Trudeau’s infamous “Omnibus Bill” in 1969 that struck down Canada’s ban on abortion and paved the way for abortion-on-demand, was focused this year on a call to end female gendercide. The practice, believed to be common in some of Canada’s Southeast Asian immigrant populations, was in the news this year because of Tory MP Mark Warawa’s Motion 408.
This year’s March was dedicated to Nellie Gray, the founder of the U.S. March for Life in Washington, D.C. who passed away in the summer of 2012.
John-Henry Westen, editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews.com, said the March is the “most important public demonstration in our nation.” “Look around you and remember this time because you will be telling your children and your grandchildren that when life was under attack in our great nation, you stood for life,” he said.
Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, commented on the growth of the march. “The Canadian news media cannot ignore you. Soon the government will not be able to ignore you,” he said.
Twenty-one Members of Parliament and two Senators participated and spoke to the crowd. (See list at bottom of story.)
Bev Shipley, Conservative MP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, said the March for Life is the most important event on Parliament Hill every year. “There is none, there is none as significant as this one, supporting the dignity and the sustainability of life,” he said.
David Anderson, Conservative MP for Cypress Hills – Grasslands, said the MPs “will stand with you and move ahead on this issue.”
“There are no good reasons to be aborting babies and there are 100,000 good reasons why we should stand with mothers and fathers who are faced with a difficult choice each year,” he added.
Conservative MP Mark Warawa pledged to continue his battle against sex-selective abortion. “Together we will keep up the fight and we will win,” he said.
Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth said, “We’re here today to convince Parliament that human equality and human dignity are more important than any political interest. And I’m counting on you to take that message back with you all across Canada.”
There were also seven Catholic bishops who were introduced on the steps by Archbishop Terrence Prendergast.
Archbishop Gerald Lacroix, Primate of Canada and Archbishop of Quebec City, said the marchers were there “to tell the whole of Canada and our people here we have elected to serve the great people of Canada that we want life to be respected, we want life to be celebrated.”
A band led by Chris Bray wowed the youthful crowd with lively music that blared through the streets of downtown Ottawa.
List of parliamentarians on the Hill:
Senator Tobias Enverga, Ontario
Cons MP Guy Lauzon, Stormont Dundas and South Glengarry
Cons MP Rod Bruinooge, Winnipeg
Cons MP Harold Albrecht, Kitchener Conestoga
Cons MP Kyle Seeback, Brampton West
Cons MP David Anderson, Cypress Hills – Grasslands
Cons MP Wladislaz Lizon, Mississauga East-Cooksville
Cons MP Bev Shipley, Lambton Kent Middlesex
Cons MP Rob Anders, Calgary West
Cons MP Jeff Watson, Essex
Cons MP Mark Warawa, Langley
Sen Norm Doyle, Nfld & Labrador
Cons MP Dean del Mastro, Peterborough
Cons MP Maurice Vellacott, Saskatoon Wanuskewin
Cons MP Leon Benoit, Vagreville- Wainwright
Cons MP Stella Ambler, Mississauga South
Cons MP Kevin Sorensen, Crowfoot
Cons MP Royal Galipeau, Ottawa Orleans
Cons MP Lawrence Toet, Elmwood Transcona
Cons MP Stephen Woodworth, Kitchener Centre
Cons MP James Lunney, Nanaimo- Alberny
Cons MP Kelly Block, Saskatoon- Rosetown-Biggar
Cons MP Dave Van Kesteren, Chatham-Kent-Essex
Cons MP Brad Trost, Saskatoon-Humboldt
Cons MP John Williamson, New Brunswick Southwest
Cons MP Lavar Payne, Medicine Hat
Cons MP Bob Zimmer, Prince George-Peace River
Cons MP Ed Komarnicki, Souris- Moose Mountain