Time for a change in pro-life tactics

Today marks the annual March for Life, the annual rally and march on Parliament Hill that I have long called the biggest political movement without a home.

I believe I’ve been to every March since 2005 and even some before to offer media coverage as a reporter and a commentator. Literally tens of thousands of people show up on Parliament Hill each year and are mostly either maligned or ignored. I’ve seen colleagues of mine do a headcount at 11 am, an hour before the event starts and then claim the few hundred people there are the sum total of the event.

I’ve seen more attention paid to the few dozen counter protesters than the 20,000 plus people showing up to announce that they are pro-life and a force to be reckoned with.

Bizarrely in a country that celebrates WE Day and youth involvement in any social cause, I’ve seen story after story about how it is wrong that Catholic school kids are bused in from across Ontario and Quebec to take part. Were it any other cause, the same journalists writing those stories would be signing their praises, profiling their commitment to “change the system.”

But that won’t happen with abortion.

I’m acutely aware that Canadians do not have black and white views on abortion. Some do, many don’t. After following this issue for many years, after reading countless polls that ask more than a simple are you “pro-choice” or “anti-abortion” question, here is what I know. Canadians don’t want abortion banned but they don’t like the status quo with no restrictions at all.

Whether they want restrictions after 12 weeks, as many European countries have or later really depends. One thing that I have seen several polls highlight is that many Canadians don’t like tax dollars being used for abortion.

So really, neither side of this debate can claim to have won the hearts and minds of Canadians but one side, the “pro-choice” side can claim victory because they own the hearts and minds of the media and the politicians if not everyday Canadians.

That is why I am urging a change in tactics for those that want to see change from the pro-life point of view.

If electing Andrew Scheer as leader of the Conservative Party and Jason Kenney as leader of Alberta’s United Conservative Party won’t result in a change in policy or legislation, then it is time for a change in tactics.

These two men are devout Catholics, I’ve known them both for years and would never question them on this front. I know them both to be personally pro-life and even they promise no change in policy, never mind legislation.


Simply put, their parties, their caucuses are not with them and would not stand for the daily barrage of media stories on the evil conservatives attacking abortion rights that do not exist in our charter. Politics is the art of the possible and if your caucus will not go with you then there is no ability to move policy.

I’ve long thought trying to change our permissive culture on this issue with legislation was wrong because our courts would strike almost all of it down. While maybe some tweaks could be made, some small changes, the idea, the hope by some that we will have a legislated ban on abortion is nothing short of pure folly in our current climate.

The pro-life movement has not won the battle for the hearts and minds.

I’m not telling pro-lifers to give up, pack up their tents and go home. Instead I’m saying start closer to home. Try to evangelize, in whatever way that word means for you. If you are religious, well that means spreading your faith. If you are not religious it means spreading your message of why you are against abortion but doing it in a way that brings people in, rather than drives them away.

Politicians, even the good ones are often followers when they should be leaders.

Why should we ask them to stand strongly when the people back home they are supposed to represent won’t have their backs but instead are aiming at their backs for taking a stand on this issue?





  1. … Very fine column.
    … Never seen the solution as addressing the supply of abortions, but the demand. Taking every opportunity to teach the value and virtue of life from conception, and the natural family is the deeper solution.

  2. Sadly, most Canadians are evil believing it is OK to kill a person in the womb. That includes Scheer and Kenney and all Librals. What is the difference between Hitler’s extermination camps and Turdeau’s Liberal abortuaries? Nothing. They both kill unwanted people. If there were different levels of evil, Canadians are worse than Hitler’s gang; Canadians kill defenseless children.

  3. Brian, you are absolutely 100% correct. I’ve been advocating for the same similar change in tactics for quite a while now. There’s no chance of getting any legislation to regulate abortion in any way in the current political climate. We can’t changed the status from the top-down. We have to attack the status-quo from the bottom-up. Changing the hearts of the people will eventually change their minds, and the more people who come to realize the horror of what an abortion actually is, the more pressure will be put on government to actually do something about it.

    I won’t discourage the annual march for life, but I won’t demand that the legal status of abortion should be changed — at least not right away. This is an intrinsic value that must be instilled into the hearts and minds of the people before we can even have a hope to persuade the government to do something to regulate abortion somehow.

  4. Sir: With all due respect the government needs to reopen the Constitution and declare that Women have equal rights and no Government has the right to legislate laws on women’s bodies, or rights, we are NOT LIVESTOCK we reproduce humans and the questions of abortion, pro choice or otherwise will be settled once and for all! It is unfortunate the world even now does not have enough food to feed the masses as it is!

  5. Hi Brian,

    What about linking abortion to foreign adoptions? Suggest that no adoptions from abroad be allowed until abortion in Canada has been drastically reduced.

    pro-abortion activists are always boring on about “choice”, while, with overwhelmingly more than chance frequency, the same people are often “anti-choice” in the context of TV channels, health care, education, etc., etc. Don’t shrink from pointing out the cognitive dissonance.

  6. I can agree with you that change in tactics is needed. Hearts and minds of the media and politicians. Minds maybe, hearts no. Peoples minds are influenced by what they see and hear in the media. That is their sources of following. Therefore a massive effort should be to March on the Media, not parliament, for they control the mindset. It comes from Liberal professors at Universites and hence do journalist come from that sector. That is why CCBR makes some be it small inroads by taking the argument to campuses. Hopefully the seeds being planted there one day will bear much fruit for the unborn child.

  7. Abortion is a moral issue. Yes, it shpould be made safe, but not compulsory. It needs to be made socially undesirable.

  8. Thanks Brian for sharing your point of view and for keeping the conversation going.

    There’s a wide spectrum when it comes to life issues, and individual Canadians can land anywhere on it. I appreciate people who are able to hold a respectful discussion on the subject of abortion. It is a conversation we as Canadians do need to have, along with our elected politicians. There’s so much misinformation about what happened in 1988 and I encourage everyone to read the official documents shared at this web site http://morgentalerdecision.ca as it really helped me to understand that Canada has no law, and that politicians were instructed to go back and work on a new law that would balance the rights of the woman with that of the fetus’. So, this does not mean to do nothing at all to protect human life in the womb, and it doesn’t mean that abortion can be totally abolished. Let’s get the debate going and reach something that the majority can live with that is balanced. As Canadians we are capable of being reasonable and respectful about this. I’m calling on politicians to do what the SCC instructed them to do in 1988… give us a law! Write to your MP and the political party you support and tell them what you think about this issue and how you want it settled, and if the party ran a platform or had a policy about starting to work on a law, you would vote for them.

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