ARPA Note: Kudo’s to CLC for organizing this, to the Jubilee church in Ottawa for having a Reformed prayer service, and to the many MP’s who bravely stood for life. Please send them a note of appreciation (their names are below).
By John Jalsevac: OTTAWA, May 13, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Under balmy skies that were greeted with prayers of thanksgiving by those recalling last year’s cold and blustery weather, thousands of pro-life Canadians gathered on Parliament Hill in Ottawa for the 2010 Canadian March for Life on Thursday – a crowd that Jim Hughes, president of Campaign Life Coalition, estimated at about 12,500 people.
“This is something that God sent us as a special gift,” said Hughes, the main organizer of the annual pro-life event, about the weather. “Other special gifts include all those that have come up here. I want to congratulate all the teachers and the chaperones and you young people who’ve come.”
“God bless you all and let’s continue to bring life to Canada!” Hughes said to cheers.
Other speakers joined Hughes in praising the huge number of teens and young adults that made up a large percentage of the crowd. They also thanked the group of Members of Parliament, the significant number of Catholic bishops, and other prominent clergy who traveled to the event to show their support.
Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Primate of Canada, commended the Canadian government for its recent decision not to include support for abortion in its G8 maternal health plan. But he also urged the government to do more to protect life at home. “We would like some more courage, some more courage to do something more in Canada,“ he said.
Bishop Nicola de Angelis of Peterborough, also addressed the crowds, saying: “My message is very simply, my friends, just to remind you that God created life. God did not create death. We don’t own our lives.
“We are the custodians of our life. It is up to God to call our life back whenever he decides and nobody can anticipate for any selfish initiative to terminate life.
“Every child that is born is a sign that God is not tired of man. Remember this my friends: welcome children to life,” he urged.
“I congratulate you dear friends, particularly young people, so many young people are here,” said the bishop. “Dear friends, and most of all young people, in promoting and defending life, you don’t count your personal costs. … You are always in the front line trenches, day by day, bearing witness for the cause of life.
“May God strengthen you and give you joy in your undertakings.”
Other prominent clergy present on the Hill included: Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa, Bishop Luc Cyr of Valleyfield, Quebec, Bishop Stephen Chmilar of the Ukrainian Church in Toronto, Bishop Michael Mulhall of Pembroke, Ontario, Bishop John Pazak of the Canadian Slovaks of the Byzantine Rite in Canada, Bishop Brendan O’Brien of Kingston, Bishop Terrence McGrattan, the auxiliary bishop of Toronto, Bishop Ibrahim M. Ibrahim of the Catholic Greek Melkites of Canada, and Bishop Car Reid of the Traditional Anglican Catholics.
Shortly after Bishop de Angelis concluded his remarks, former Member of Parliament Pat O’Brien took the podium to introduce the twenty-one members of parliament who were present. O’Brien praised the courage of the MPs, telling the crowds that pro-life MPs are often under immense pressure to ignore their convictions, and that the “stick and carrot” are often used to coerce them to keep quiet on the issue of life.
“These are the kind of MPs that we have, and that we need more of,” said O’Brien.
Rod Bruinooge, Chairman of the Pro-Life Parliamentary Caucus, and MP for Winnipeg South, told the throngs that, “It’s been a real privilege to chair the pro-life caucus over the last few years.
“It’s something I really believe in. I believe in the value of the unborn, and I’m not afraid to say that.”
Bruinooge used the opportunity to promote his private member’s bill, Bill C-510, known as Roxanne’s law (named after a woman who was murdered for refusing to abort her child) which he told the crowd would “empower women to press charges again people who threaten them into an abortion.”
“In the pro-life movement in Canada it’s important to take small steps to acknowledge the value of the unborn, and I’m hopeful that people like yourselves will support this bill,” he said.
The other MPs who were present included: Harold Albrecht, David Anderson, Leon Benoit, Kelly Block, Royal Galipeau, Dean Del Mastro, Ed Komarniki, Guy Lauzon, Pierre Lemieux, Gurbax Singh Malhi, Phil McColeman, Dan McTeague, Lavar Payne, Paul Szabo, Brad Trost, Tim Uppal, Maurice Vellacott, Mark Warawa, Jeff Watson, and Stephen Woodworth.
After the speeches, the 12,500 pro-lifers wound their way through the streets of downtown Ottawa, snaking past the infamous Morgentaler abortion facility.
The march concluded with a series of testimonies from members of Silent No More Awareness, men and women who have had abortions and now regret their decision.