A participant in Quebec City’s first March for Life holds up his pro-life sign. Photo courtesy Campaign Québec-Vie

Quebec March for Life weathers the storm

  • June 5, 2024

Neither a smoke bomb, shrieking foes, nor police warnings kept pro-life Quebecers from taking to Quebec City streets June 1 for what organizers hope will become an annual March for Life.

About 1200 counter-protestors, including provincial Minister for the status of Women Martine Biron, outnumbered the 1000 or so pro-lifers, who were told by police their safety couldn’t be guaranteed, organizers told The Catholic Register.

“The police pulled me aside and said, ‘Here's the situation. We're really understaffed. We've called for reinforcements, but they're not here yet. Right now, we can't really guarantee your safety. Unfortunately, the other side is not cooperating. You might have to consider cancelling the march portion of it and just stay here,’” said Georges Buscemi, President of Campagne Québec-Vie (CQV). 

Riposte Pro-Choix organized the counter-protest with the cooperation of the two largest trade unions in Quebec, the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ) and the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN).

As the March for Life speeches began near Tourny Fountain in front of Quebec’s National Assembly, a large group of counter-protestors came from nearby Francophonie Park to the front of the stage where they successfully disrupted speakers by whistling and screaming.

“We had to basically swallow the microphone and yell into it to be heard because the counter-protestors were doing their best to bury us. We shortened the speeches due to the situation,” Buscemi said.

Despite the disruption, organizers proceeded with the scheduled march.

“A window opened, and things started calming down, and we decided, ‘Let's go,’” said Buscemi.

“At that point, the morale skyrocketed. People realized, ‘Wow, we're in Quebec City, in the middle of Quebec, and there's over a thousand people here.”

The marchers returned to find counter-protesters had occupied their stage and, adding to the confusion, released a green smoke bomb.

When order was restored, abortion survivors and post-abortive speakers were able to address the crowd.

The first of its kind event in Quebec was planned with the financial backing and moral support of Campaign Life Coalition, organizer of the annual national March for Life in Ottawa.

“Without Campaign Life Coalition, it wouldn't have been possible. They gave us the serenity, the confidence, that we could go ahead and not be completely shirtless the next day from the expenses,” Buscemi said.

He also credits the collaboration with ThéoVox, a Quebec-based religious media network.

“That was, I would say, almost decisive. They're the ones who have been asking that we have it.”

Buscemi explained that though the desire for a Quebec march has long been there, “we didn't have enough manpower or the money to do it right.”

Buscemi and the CQV team are already planning for next year.

“We’re very happy. The next March is already being planned; things are already moving. We're already thinking, how are we going to make this better, bigger?”

Only two days after the Quebec City March for Life, the provincial minister for women and gender equality and youth, announced three million dollars would be spent to “support the security needs of Pride events.”

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