TORONTO, June 12, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In a rare flap over abortion in Canadian municipal politics, a Toronto city councilor walked out of the council chamber Tuesday in protest over a moment of silence for recently-deceased abortionist Henry Morgentaler.
Denzil Minnan-Wong, a Roman Catholic who has served on council since 1994, told LifeSiteNews that he walked out on principle.
“I have always been prolife. Walking out was a matter of principle and personal integrity,” he said. “Not to walk out would have been a recognition of his accomplishments.”
“It would have been far more appropriate to have a moment of silence in memory of all the lives that he was responsible for extinguishing,” the councilor added.
The moment of silence was prompted by a motion from councilors Paula Fletcher and Pam McConnell.
The motion hailed the pro-abortion leader, who died May 29th at the age of 90, as a “a pioneer of reproductive freedom in Canada” whose “courage and determination helped ensure every Canadian woman has the right to choose.”
“Beginning with his own practice and expanding across the country, Dr. Morgentaler challenged unjust laws that jeopardized women’s health and well-being, often at great personal risk,” the motion added.
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Coun. Fletcher rebuked Minnan-Wong for leaving the chamber, telling the Toronto Sun that it was “one of the rudest moments in council’s history.”
“Stomping out and saying I can’t be here for a condolence motion is unheard of and it is just plain, downright rude,” she charged.
“Like him or not he had a very important moment in Canadian history in legalizing abortion for women and in the cultural movement,” she added. “Councillor Minnan-Wong might not like it but the right to terminate a pregnancy is actually legal in our country.”
But Minnan-Wong shot back, saying that Fletcher “is a great supporter of free speech until someone says something she doesn’t agree with.”
Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition, which is based in Toronto, said Minnan-Wong did the right thing.
“Had I been sitting there and they wanted a moment of silence, I would have prayed for the repose of his soul because of the damage he inflicted on so many women and children,” he said. “I think I would have walked out too and said my prayer out in the corridor or something.”
Hughes added that he was surprised and grateful that the Canadian flag on Parliament Hill was not flown at half-mast in honour of Morgentaler.
“'St. Henry’s' place in history will be marked with a big asterisk,” Hughes said. “Future historians will judge this society to be one of the most brutal down through time and Henry Morgentaler played his role in that.”
Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong
Toronto City Hall
100 Queen Street West, Suite C55
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2