The virtual National March for Life was hosted by Campaign Life Coalition vice president Matt Wojciechowski and CLC youth co-ordinator Josie Luetke. Screen capture

National March for Life goes online to deliver pro-life message

By 
  • May 15, 2020

OTTAWA -- Canadians were urged not to be afraid to speak out to protect life from the moment of conception until a natural death during the first ever online National March for Life on May 14.

A wide range of pro-life activists, religious and spiritual leaders and politicians praised Canadians who are on the frontline of the pro-life movement during the three-hour online presentation that, because of he COVID-19 crisis, replaced the annual march and rally held in the nation’s capital since 1998.

It mixed footage and testimonials from past March for Life gatherings in Ottawa with new messages of hope about the impact that the pro-life movement.

National March for Life co-chair Margaret Mountain said it was important to carry on with the rally, despite having to move it to an online format.

“The unborn child in Canada has absolutely no protection,” said Mountain.

“Even in this pandemic, abortions are happening across Canada,” she said. “That is why we march, the message remains the same. Parliament must bring in a law to protect all human beings, not just some, all human beings from the time of conception until a natural death.

“We miss the exuberance of the young people on Parliament Hill, the inspiring speakers, the camaraderie, the singing, the chanting, but we know in a time like this we do the best we can,” she said.

Conservative pro-life MP Arnold Viersen of Peace River-Westlock pointed out in a pre-recorded message  300 babies are killed by abortion every day in Canada and the pro-abortion federal Liberal government’s concern to protect life during the COVID-19 pandemic must be expanded to protect babies from abortion.

“During this time of COVID, I am grateful that Justin Trudeau and his government understand the value of life and how important it is to take measures to support it and that the government will sacrifice the economy to protect vulnerable Canadians,” Viersen said.

“All of us are practising social distancing to protect the vulnerable, but what about the pre-born?” he said. “Pre-born Canadians are arguably some of the most vulnerable.”

The online National March for Life also gave prominent online screen time to two pro-life candidates in the federal Conservative Party leadership race — Ontario MP Derek Sloan and Toronto lawyer Leslyn Lewis. Both candidates are supported as strong pro-life advocates by the Campaign Life Coalition, which has organized and staged the National March for Life since it was first held in Ottawa.

Along with the online rally and march that was streamed on the MarchForLife.ca website, pro-life content included a Mass for Life overseen by Ottawa-Cornwall Catholic Archbishop Terrence Prendergast that was recorded at Ottawa’s Notre Dame Cathedral and a pro-life special “Be Not Afraid” that was broadcast on the global Catholic Network EWTN.

CLC national capital co-ordinator Debbie Duval told the Canadian Catholic News that the response and feedback the CLC has been getting has been “overwhelming.”

According to viewership numbers provided by Duval for March for Life events May 10-15, there were more than 15,000 views registered for the live events shown on YouTube.  On EWTN, there were more than 17,000 views for the candlelight vigil May 13 and 25,000 views for the pro-life special Be Not Afraid.

She said she expects that having an online aspect to the National March for Life will continue going forward, though the march to Parliament Hill and rally will always be the primary focus.

“I do expect that next year we will have some sort of a hybrid that will involve online content,” Duval said, adding that any decisions will only come after a post-mortem on this years event. 

“We will always be on the Hill,” she said. “It will always be important to be there in person and tell the politicians that the killing of babies has got to stop. That will always be the focus of the march and rally.”

Most of the virtual National March for Life content will remain available online through the Campaign Life Coalition’s website (campaignlifecoalition.com) and Facebook page. 

The March for Life also marked the anniversary of the 1969 federal omnibus bill that decriminalized abortion.

(NOTE: This story has been corrected to clarify that Conservative leadership candidate Leslyn Lewis is a Toronto lawyer and not a Member of Parliament.)

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