Thousands of Canadians from Newfoundland to British Columbia join in regional Marches for Life
May 14, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Thousands of pro-lifers joined in regional Marches for Life across Canada this year, joining forces with the record-breaking crowds at the National March for Life in Ottawa on May 10th, all with the aim of ending abortion in the country.
In addition to the nearly 20,000 that marched in Ottawa, almost 3,000 more participated in regional marches, with even more gearing up for the marches in New Brunswick and Alberta on May 17th.
Patrick Hanlon of Pro-Life Newfoundland reported that about 20 people gathered at the provincial legislature in St. John’s on May 10, but pointed out that the main annual pro-life demonstration in the province takes place on Good Friday, just a few weeks before the National March for Life: that event attracted about 300 people.
“This year was a little lower than our average as many of our regulars are currently in Ottawa attending the National March for Life,” Hanlon told LifeSiteNews.
The Halifax, Nova Scotia March for Life drew about 75 people to Province House on Granville Street, where the executive of Campaign Life Coalition NS and Andre Turcot, Pro-Life Chair of the province’s Knights of Columbus, addressed the crowd. An audio recording of the speakers’ comments is available here. A candle-light vigil was held in Halifax on May 9th to coincide with the Ottawa vigil and, despite a drenching rain, was attended by 22 stalwart pro-lifers.
More than 100 people gathered outside the Charlottetown legislature to participate in the 2012 March for Life on Prince Edward Island.
“Without a genuine respect for human life and the natural family, the Canadian social fabric will continue to disintegrate,” David Abbott of the Knights of Columbus told the gathering. “It is a fallacy to believe that a nation can legally and willfully destroy it’s own people without also destroying itself,” he said.
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The 2012 Winnipeg March for Life, organized by the Knights of Columbus, Campaign Life Coalition Manitoba and Life’s Vision, heard Most Reverend James Weisgerber, Archbishop of Winnipeg, exhort the 433 pro-life activists gathered at The Forks to defend life.
“We are made in God’s image,” the archbishop said. “Each one of us received this gift, and each of these gifts is a gift for all of us. So, we have to receive life. We have to support life. We have to defend life in all of the ways that we can.”
The Winnipeg marchers then walked to the Legislature where a member of “Silent No More” shared her story, and an educator and father of a large family encouraged men to stand up and take seriously their duty as husbands and fathers. Participants were then encouraged to swell the numbers for next year’s March by bringing at least one friend in 2013.
The Regina, Saskatchewan March for Life, with the theme “From Cribs to Crosses” drew nearly 500 people to the Legislature where a large sign depicting a crib, with a teddy bear in the corner, breaking apart and forming crosses, and rows of white crosses planted in the lawn, reminded the pro-lifers that abortion breaks apart the lives of women and families as it ends the life of the child in the womb.
“Witnessing displays of little white crosses all in a row gives one a huge feeling of regret, sadness and the realization of the lost little lives,” said Colette Stang, Vice-President of the Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association.
“The sign is black and white, as is the subject matter,” Stang explained. “There is no grey area: Abortion Kills. The broken crib drawing is not comfortable to look at, it makes one uneasy. It represents the tearing effect abortion has on people and eventually the world. The broken crib is coming apart and forming crosses…. This is a strong visual of what abortion is doing - breaking families, breaking hearts, breaking the lives of mothers, as well as breaking away from God.”
Speakers in Regina included the Bishops of Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert as well as representatives from “Silent No More,” Rachel’s Vineyard Saskatchewan, Catholic churches and organizations, and Evangelical Christian groups.
Following the March for Life along Albert Street in downtown Regina, Archbishop Daniel Bohan concluded the day by celebrating a Holy Mass for the Sanctity of Human Life at Christ the King Church.
Over 1,800 pro-life British Columbians from across the province marched to the Legislature in the 5th annual March for Life in the capital of Victoria. This year’s theme, “Speak up for Life,” challenged British Columbians to raise their voices for the protection of the lives of the unborn.
“Our intention here today is to peacefully and prayerfully bring attention to the victims of abortion in our province,” said BC March for Life media spokeswoman, Anastasia Pearse.
“We want to raise awareness and ask people to think before they choose abortion. They need to know the facts and be fully informed of all of the risks before they make these life changing decisions.”
Pearce noted that, while it is impossible to know for certain how many babies are aborted in the province due to a severe lack of transparency in abortion record keeping, it is estimated that over 14,000 abortions are performed every year.
“As tax-paying citizens, our money is being used to fund these abortions,” said Pearse. “We are marching today to speak out against this atrocity, to speak up for those 14,000 British Columbians who never had the chance to speak for themselves. We cannot remain silent when so many lives are at stake.”
Organizers of the rally said the presence of so many youth was the highlight of the March, with hundreds of students from Vancouver coming by bus to join the students in Victoria.
Monica Roddis, president of Life Canada, noted in her speech that polls show this generation to be more pro-life than previous generations, while Anastasia Pearse, who is also the Western Campus Coordinator for the National Campus Life Network (NCLN), stated that pro-life clubs on high school and university campuses are reaching thousands of students with the group’s life-affirming message.
Pearse challenged the students present to continue to speak up to their classmates about critical life issues, as their witness is helping to shape the future of Canada.
Pro-lifers were further encouraged by Rev. Rob Fitterer to use all media mediums possible to share the pro-life message. “It is through this media that we will change our society,” he said.
John Hof of Campaign Life Coalition BC told LifeSiteNews that a large group of people were gathered at the Legislature when the marchers arrived.
“It turned out they were members of the Musqueam First Nation who were having their own rally, demanding the protection of an ancient burial site that may soon undergo development,” Hof explained, adding that he wasn’t sure how the two coinciding rallies could proceed.
Hof said that when their chief, Stewart Philip, who was in a meeting in the Legislature, emerged, he was given the use of the PA system set up for the March for Life speeches, and, after thanking the pro-lifers and pointing out that both groups held many ideals in common, approached Archbishop Michael Miller and touching his own heart said, “Your Grace, you need to know this issue is close to my heart.”
A video and pictures of parts of the BC March for Life produced by Clayton Long are available here.
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