Canada Pro-Life Activists Compile 30,000 Petitions Against Morgentaler Award
by Steven Ertelt
August 20, 2008
Ottawa, Canada (LifeNews.com) — Pro-life advocates in Canada have compiled 30,000 petitions from citizens upset that abortion practitioner Henry Morgentaler received the Order of Canada award. They hoped to present the petitions to someone at Rideau Hall, but no one was at the Governor General’s official residence to accept them.
Angelina Steenstra, the national coordinator of Silent No More Canada, led the petition-gathering effort.
She told the Canwest News Service that the petitions show the kind of deep outrage that exists across the country from people who are surprised the highest civilian honor was bestowed on someone who makes a living killing children and hurting women.
Steenstra also said her group is calling on a review of the how the Order medals are awarded, saying Morgentaler’s award shows there are obvious problems with the process.
The other day, Canada Supreme Court Justice Beverley McLachlin defended her role in overseeing the award.
McLachlin, who is the head of the advisory council that selects the award recipients said she normally doesn’t vote.
Her comments came after Charles McVety, president of the Canadian Family Action Coalition, and dozens of groups crafted a letter calling for her removal.
McVety said the chief justice should no longer sit on the Order of Canada panel because some award recipients, like Morgentaler, are involved in legal disputes that will eventually come before the court.
As LifeNews.com reported previously, a collection of 42 pro-life groups and businesses signed a joint letter to the Canadian Judicial Council, the agency responsible for overseeing the conduct of federal judges.
"In order to preserve the integrity of Canada’s judicial system, we respectfully ask that you consider this complaint seriously, investigate Beverley McLachlin’s inappropriate behavior and recommend to Parliament that (she) be removed from office," the August 12 letter said.
"The behavior of (McLachlin) outside the courtroom on the (Order of Canada) advisory council has reduced respect for both her and the Canadian judiciary," it added.
Jeff Ward, a spokesman for the Canadian Judicial Council, told the news service that it will take the complaint seriously.
"Any complaint that comes in, even if it is frivolous, does get processed and responded to," he said.
However, in an irony that isn’t lost on pro-life advocates, Judge McLachlin chairs the judicial council as well.
Brian Rushfeldt, executive director of the Calgary-based Canada Family Action Coalition, talked with CanWest about the letter and McLachlin. He worries she will not be able to be partial if a Morgentaler lawsuit to force New Brunswick taxpayers to fund abortions reaches the Supreme Court.
"What if the New Brunswick decision gets appealed to the Supreme Court? I see no way she can hear this case and claim she is going to be independent, fair, and neutral," he said.
At the end of July, KLRVU surveyed Canadians and learned that a clear majority oppose giving Morgentaler the award.
The poll included 13,324 respondents when the firm conducted it from July 17-21.
The random telephone poll of Canadian households found 55.8% of Canadians oppose the awarding of the medal to the man who helped ushered in unlimited abortions in Canada paid for at taxpayer expense.
The poll found opposition to the award across the provinces.
Beginning with a wave on the east coast of Newfoundland, ebbing slightly in Quebec and then continuing with a surge in Ontario right to the west coast — the tide of opinion against awarding Morgentaler has risen, dramatically.
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