Co-Architect of Canada’s Abortion Law To Appear At Another Catholic Fundraiser with Cardinal

TORONTO, October 19, 2001 ( – Former Prime Minister John Turner attended the annual Toronto Cardinal’s Dinner last night for which he acted as Chairman. Catholic pro-lifers were scandalized that Turner was allowed this prominent role in the Catholic event due to his unrepentant major role in abortion in Canada. Turner, while Justice Minister in 1969 under Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, passed the notorious Omnibus bill, which included the legalization of abortion and homosexuality.

The pro-life demonstration outside the Cardinal’s Dinner last night saw about 40 pro-lifers praying quietly and distributing a sheet indicating their concerns. Some 25 members, mostly youth, from Show the Truth were present with their usual signs of aborted children and a few special signs reading “John Turner one of abortion’s architects.” They joined the other pro-lifers from Campaign Life Coalition in a prayer vigil for Life. Coverage of the dinner in the Toronto Star and the Toronto Sun focused mainly on the protest.

See photos of the vigil at:

One of the pro-lifers present managed to greet Turner as he was entering the Metro Convention Centre for the dinner and was shocked at the former PM’s crude response to his firm but respectful reprimand. A LifeSite News reporter, covering the event, interviewed pro-lifer Dan Largy following his exchange with Turner. Largy, described by friends as a pleasant and peaceful person, greeted Turner saying: “I am a fellow Catholic like yourself” and they shook hands. Largy told LifeSite he then looked Turner in the eye and said calmly, “What you did, Sir, was wrong.” To which Turner responded, “You don’t know what the f*** you’re talking about.” Largy told LifeSite that after the comment Turner gave him a slight push. Largy told Turner there was no legal abortion before the law he implemented and Turner repeated the same crude phrase, pushed Largy and walked away. (To listen to a Real Audio recording of LifeSite’s interview with Largy click:

Turner’s agitation was confirmed by other pro-lifers on the scene, and also by accounts of his demeanor inside the Centre. LifeSite spoke to two ladies holding roses and handing out pamphlets who also expressed concerns directly to Turner outside the Centre. As Turner approached them he said “you people are a bunch of extremists.” And also ” I am in good standing with the Church.” While the pro-lifers and the controversy over Turner were not mentioned officially at the dinner, the issue was discussed frequently at tables, according to people who attended the dinner. LifeSite also learned from various attendees that Turner seemed quite shaky during his address at the dinner.

Suzanne Scorsone, public relations director, for the Archdiocese of Toronto, took photos of the pro-lifers picketing the event. However, she accepted the comments of Campaign Life Coalition’s Alex Vernon who assured her that the pro-lifers were not questioning the Cardinal’s pro-life commitment, nor did they mean to harm his charity dinner. “We simply want to say it is inappropriate for Turner to chair the Cardinal’s dinner given his public record on abortion,” Vernon said.

The $175/plate dinner attracted 1,800 people, according to media reports.

Despite the controversy, LifeSite has learned that Turner will appear with the Cardinal at another Catholic fundraising dinner sponsored by the Meritus organization. The upcoming fundraising dinner is an extravagant affair at $500 per ticket. The “Tastes of Heaven” is billed as an “exquisite Italian festa in support of Catholic Missions in Canada.” Scheduled for November 14, beginning at 6pm at St. Lawrence Hall (King and Jarvis) in Toronto, the event calls for “cocktail attire” and is limited to 200 tickets. The promo indicates that “a masterful chef from Italy” is being flown in “just to create this superb culinary experience.” The promo lists Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic and John Turner as “gracing the event.”

Pro-abortion speakers as headliners at Catholic events and fundraisers are becoming a frequent occurrence in Canada. While the major guffaw over President Bill Clinton, speaking a the fundraiser for a Catholic hospital in Hamilton, attracted the greatest media attention, in former years the hospital fundraiser was keynoted by notoriously pro-abortion New York governor Mario Cuomo. The Canadian Catholic Health Association has for its past two annual meetings featured pro-abortion keynote speakers, David Suzuki and then the intensely pro-abortion Stephen Lewis at the most recent meeting.

See previous coverage of this issue by LifeSite:

See the coverage in the Toronto Star and Toronto Sun: