Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 20, 2002
March for Life says 'Let them live!'
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
The government's proposed bill allowing for embryonic stem cell research came under attack by several speakers - including former Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day - at the fourth annual March for Life on Parliament Hill May 10.
Speaking to a crowd of over 1,000 enthusiastic, banner waving pro-life demonstrators, Day said the legislation introduced in the House of Commons the previous day is "a disappointing step backwards."
Day said introduction of the bill is especially disappointing "when adult stem cell research has so much to offer, so much potential." He told the crowd that no issue is more important than the issue of life itself.
Research on embryonic stem cells kills the embryo, which is considered a human being by pro-life organizations including the Catholic Church.
The government's legislation would also ban human cloning, "rent-a-womb" arrangements and the sale of human sperm and eggs.
Maverick Liberal MP Tom Wappel was buoyed by the definition in the proposed bill of the embryo and the fetus.
He said that in defining the two as "human organisms" the bill recognizes that the embryo and the fetus are human. "It's about time we recognized that in legislation," he said.
Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition, urged Canadians to put pressure on MPs to defeat the bill in the House of Commons. "Every member of Parliament must know that this legislation cannot be supported," he said.
Hughes also said MPs who vote for the bill should know that "we will defeat them in the next election."
Liberal MP Paul Szabo praised the demonstrators for standing up against abortion saying "We're going to work very hard each and every day to support your cause."
Other Liberal MPs who spoke at the event were Dan McTeague and Paul Steckle, the Liberal co-chair of the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus.
Other Canadian Alliance members speaking to the demonstrators were Jason Kenney, Garry Breitkreuz, Maurice Vellacott, Myron Thompson, Leon Benoit and David Anderson.
Tory Elsie Wayne was unable to attend but sent a letter of support that was read to the crowd.
However, she took part in a news conference saying, "We only have to stop and think for a moment that each and every one of us was an unborn child in the womb at one point in time and we would not be here today if our moms and dads had not protected us."
The theme of this year's March for Life was Let Them Live. Participants paraded through the streets of downtown Ottawa shortly after the rally on Parliament Hill.