Crossroads Canada walkers after they arrived on Parliament Hill at the end of their cross-country trek. They are, from left to right, first row: Maria Kalin, Becky Jensen, Alannah Walker (foreground), Lindsay Richey, Eleanor van den Enden and Becky Atkinson; back row: Benjamin Dennison, Stephen Casta, Adrian Pelletier, Patrick Wilson, Carlos Rivas, and Alex Pelletier. Photo by Deborah Gyapong

Pro-life Crossroads walkers are convinced tide is turning

  • August 15, 2012

OTTAWA - Twelve Crossroads walkers who hiked through Canada for the past three months wearing "Pro-Life" t-shirts ended their trek in Canada's capital convinced public opinion is turning against abortion.

"We have such a great country," said Patrick Wilson, 21, the leader of the Canadian Crossroads group that ended its cross-country trek Aug. 11. "We had a lot of positive support. I think the tide's turning."

"There was so much encouragement in the most unexpected places," said Lindsay Richey, 20, of Armstrong, B.C. "People that we expected would be angry or aggressive ended up being pro-life."

Richey said at one point a man driving his car past them on the highway turned around to come alongside them again to tell us "how proud he was to see people of his generation standing up for pro-life."

"It inspired him and made him happy," she said.

And in Winnipeg, a man driving a souped-up sports car pulled up near the group at a stoplight and asked Wilson what the group was doing. "Why are you pro-life and not pro-choice?" he asked.

"He looked like a complete dude," Wilson said. "I just liked his car."

But then the man stunned him by saying, "I'm adopted and if it wasn't for people like you I wouldn't be there today."

"He was just so touched," Wilson said. "This came at a time when we were encountering a lot of opposition."

Wilson said these hopeful signs would happen just when the walkers were feeling a little discouraged and wondering if they were doing any good.

The opposition they encountered included "a lot of middle fingers flashed at us, long glances and people yelling at us to go home," but what Wilson said bothered him the most was apathy.

"I'd almost prefer people take a stand, stand for something instead of living in la la land, with no sense of morality, and have no reaction at all."

For Richey, her most discouraging moment came inside a Catholic Church in Toronto when a parishioner told her he was pro-choice and didn't like what she was doing. She asked how he could be pro-choice and Catholic at the same time. "I'm a realist," was his response.

"It was very challenging, but at the same time so fulfilling," Richey said. "I could offer up all the hardship and difficulties for the cause of pro-life."

The Ottawa pro-life community welcomed the walkers.

"We're proud of you," Wanda Hartlin, Campaign Life Coalition communications co-ordinator, told the walkers upon their arrival on Parliament Hill.

Pro-life activist Frank Barrett presented each of the walkers with a certificate of appreciation from Conservative MP Pierre Lemieux, a pro-life MP who was unable to attend in person.

Crossroads groups began their walks in the mid-1990s. The Canadian group was one of five that began walks on May 13, leaving from Vancouver.

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