Cameron Côté of the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform.

Graphic pro-life campaign targets Justin Trudeau

  • June 13, 2015

Organizers of a controversial anti-abortion campaign will not back down despite protests about the graphic nature of postcards that have been delivered to mailboxes in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto.

The postcards show a headshot of Liberal leader Justin Trudeau alongside a graphic image of an aborted fetus.

The campaign, which begun on the west coast in March, is a combined effort of Campaign Life Coalition, as part of its #No2Trudeau campaign, and the Calgary-based Canadian Centre of Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR).

“Our intention with the campaign is to expose the reality of what abortion does to pre-born children,” said Cameron Côté, CCBR’s western activism and outreach director. “With that information we are (also) asking, together with Campaign Life Coalition, for Canadians to understand Justin Trudeau’s stance on abortion and act accordingly.”

Côté wants Canadians to oppose a Trudeau government when they go to the polls in October. Trudeau, the son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau — who was in office when abortion was legalized in 1969 — is personally pro-choice but has also made it policy that all Liberal members must toe this line. The back of the postcard contains recent quotes from the younger Trudeau regarding “his radical stance of supporting abortion,” said Côté.

About 250,000 of the one million postcards that are to be distributed have already been issued. Saskatoon is expected to be the next city targeted.

Although there is no indication the campaign will spread further east in Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces at the moment, Côté said he is hopeful a volunteer group will pick up the initiative.  

Using graphic images is not a new tactic for CCBR. It has been heavily criticized. Liberal health critic Hedy Fry recently said using the images for “shock value” puts children at risk by unnecessarily exposing them to graphic content.

“They say they care about children, but they don’t,” Fry told reporters. “Shock value means that obviously these people running these campaigns (don’t care) about children.”

The Liberals have received a number of complaints from both sides of the abortion debate.  Despite this Fry insisted Trudeau and the Liberals “will not back down.”

Côté said policies are in place to ensure campaign volunteers get the message to “our target audience,” which he described as “homeowners and people who are physically able to have an abortion.”

The 25-year-old pro-life activist did acknowledge that he has received a number of complaints, as well as messages of support, since the campaign began.

Back in 2007 Calgary’s Bishop Fred Henry withdrew his support of the CCBR over the use of similar graphic images in its Genocide Awareness Project which likened abortion to genocide. Henry said CCBR may be working for a good cause, but “the end, however, does not justify the means.”

Côté rejects this argument, citing the success of past campaigns which employed the use of graphic images to expose an injustice.

“It has been (central) to the success of the past,” he said, pointing to the civil rights movement, anti-smoking campaigns of today and the Appalachia movement. “There have been countless campaigns that have been successful by exposing the injustice and that is the underlying principle. The Canadian public like any other society is willing to accept the injustice until the injustice is made visible.”

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