Thousands sign appeal channelling ‘Petition of One Million’

By  Brian Dryden, Canadian Catholic News
  • October 16, 2020

Ottawa - A new petition inspired by a similar effort in 1975 that rallied the support of more than one million Canadians is calling on the federal government to grant full legal protection to unborn children.

The petition, which was started by Alliance for Life Ontario, was able to collect just under 40,000 signatures from across the country, a far cry from the number of Canadians who signed a similar petition that was the inspiration for this one more than 40 years ago. But even though the petition only has 35,255 officially sanctioned signatures, Jakki Jeffs said the campaign was successful in continuing to make the pro-life case against abortion in Canada.

“Compared to a lot of the other petitions t h at ar e presented to the House, that is a lot of signatures and shows that there are a lot of Canadians that want to speak out against abortion,” said Jeffs, executive director of Alliance for Life Ontario.

Organizers of the new “Petition of One Million” collected 39,500 signatures, though only 35,255 were officially accepted when the petition was tabled in the House of Commons by Conservative MP Ted Falk on Oct. 5.

In May 1975, the Petition of One Million initiated by Alliance for Life Canada gathered 1,027,425 signatures and gained support from MPs, pro-life groups, churches, organizations and individuals nationwide.

“Although more than 40 years have passed since the first petition, Canadians are still waiting for the Canadian government to provide protection for children in the womb,” said the petition’s preamble. “We know more about life in the womb than we did decades ago and the empirical evidence proving the harmful effects of abortion on women, families and society is undeniable and yet the debate around the issue of abortion remains stifled.

“That’s why we’re launching a new petition asking PM Justin Trudeau to provide full legal protection for Canadian pre-born children.”

Of all the petitions that have been filed with the House of Commons and have had a mandatory government response filed since April, none had more than 5,000 signatures and only two had more than 4,000.

Jeffs said Alliance for Life Ontario has taken an educational approach to continuing to stress the pro-life message to advocate for the rights of the unborn.

“As religious people this is at the heart of who we are and what we believe, that all life is precious,” Jeffs said.

“We have to keep bringing this up and raising these issues and speak up for the hundreds of thousands of Canadian babies that have been killed,” she said, even if, for the most part, Canada’s political parties do not want to address the issue of abortion in any meaningful way.

“Nobody wants to get into this, nobody wants to have a real discussion about what we are doing in this country,” she said.

An official government response to the petition has yet to be filed. An assistant in Falk’s office said the government has up to 45 days to file its official response.

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