Pro-life group raises $150,000 after Liberals cut off funding
CALGARY, Alberta, September 1, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — An attempt by abortion activists and Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government to stop their pro-life work backfired, a leading Canadian pro-life activist group says.
The Liberal government cut summer job grant funding to several pro-life groups in May, including the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform.
That left CCBR with a $150,000 shortfall for its summer internship program, which is essential for its continuing activism.
Interns are trained to “take leadership positions throughout Canada,” said CCBR communications director Jonathon Van Maren.
Moreover, many of them choose to stay with CCBR, which for this reason has grown from five people in 2011 to some 50 in 2017.
So “we decided that we were going to, despite of this denial of funding, go ahead with it and just trust that Canadian pro-lifers would support our work and step up,” Van Maren told LifeSiteNews.
CCBR hired 30 summer interns, 11 in Alberta and 19 in Ontario.
Van Maren admits he was “nervous, absolutely” with the decision.
“I think that pro-life non-profits sort of spend their life in a state of financial nervousness, so it’s not an unfamiliar feeling,” he said.
“But essentially we just trusted if we were frank about what we needed, our donors would come though, and Canadians pro-lifers who recognize the value of our work would come and help us and they did,” he said.
In fact, “they’ve responded beyond what we could have possibly imagined.”
On Thursday, CCBR hit its crowdfunding target of $150,000, from 336 donors, and the donations are still coming.
But that’s not all, says Van Maren.
The Liberal funding cut was instigated by Victoria-based Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, which targeted CCBR in an April press release as an “extremist political organization” that mounts “offensive campaigns.”
Patty Hajdu, minister of employment, labour and workforce development, subsequently announced Liberal MPs would no longer be approving summer job grants to pro-life groups.
“Any funding provided to an organization that works to limit women’s reproductive rights last summer was an oversight,” spokesman Matt Pascuzzo said at the time.
“That’s why this year we fixed the issue and no such organizations will receive funding from any constituencies represented by Liberal MPs.”
Hajdu also said she’ll look into changing how the summer job program is administered so that no MP, Liberal or otherwise, can in the future approve funding for a pro-life group.
It’s up to individual MPs to assess and approve applications for summer job funds from groups in their ridings.
Kathy Dawson, ARCC’s Alberta board member, said at the time that changing the rules to the program “would be fabulous.”
But the abortion activists didn’t factor how pro-lifers would respond in that equation.
“Instead of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada succeeding in keeping all the activists off the street, we have more supporters than when we started,” Van Maren told LifeSiteNews.
“And we have people who have never really been involved in the pro-life movement before who are now engaged.”
Moreover, “we have a very unified group of people who are determined to ensure that the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada and the Liberal government, and any other organization that assists the abortion industry in hiding the truth, is not going to be successful,” he added.
So as to ARCC’s attempt to stamp out pro-life activism by cutting off Liberal funding, “It’s safe to say it backfired,” said Van Maren.
“It’s definitely backfired.”