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Euthanasia has “brought shame” to Canada: Cardinal Collins

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15,000 pro-lifers march upon Parliament Hill in Ottawa

By Deborah Gyapong
Photo caption: The 20th March for Life in Ottawa on May 11 brought thousands to Parliament Hill to spread their message. (Deborah Gyapong)
Euthanasia and the crushing of conscience rights is bringing “shame to our country,” Cardinal Thomas Collins told the 20th National March for Life.
“It’s very important that we are here,” said Cardinal Collins of Toronto at the pre-March rally May 11 on Parliament Hill, calling the pro-life presence a “sign of our fidelity” and a “witness to life.”
“We do not own life; we are merely entrusted with that gift from the moment of conception until natural death,” the Cardinal said. “Both legislators and the judiciary have turned away from the sanctity of life.” The legalization of euthanasia and the “accompanying crushing of conscience rights brings shame to our country,” he said.
He urged the thousands gathered on the Hill to use their hands, hearts, and heads to fight for the sanctity of life by putting them in the service of those who may need love and care to persuade them not to opt for euthanasia. 
Cardinal Collins called on them to pray for guidance on how to be effective in fighting for life.
All of us “want the elimination of abortion and euthanasia,” he said, but reminded the crowd of St. Pope John Paul I teaching, “If we ask for either all or nothing, we are going to get nothing.”
John Paul II said by making incremental progress, pro-lifers could “get something,” eventually allowing them to get everything, the cardinal said.
Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu was the first of 14 sitting Conservative MPs to address the crowd by announcing her private member’s bill C-277, calling for a national palliative care framework, has gone to third reading with the unanimous support of all parties. It now goes to the Senate.
Although the march is intended as a joyful opportunity for pro-lifers to gather to reinvigorate the movement, political division over tactics in the Conservative leadership race intruded on this year’s event.
Campaign Life Coalition, organizers of the march, highlighted the two pro-life Tory leadership candidates they have supported: MP Brad Trost and former MP Pierre Lemieux. Both are solid pro-life candidates who have put life and family front and centre in their campaigns and both were able to make a final campaign pitch at the march.
Campaign Life had issued a voters guide disqualifying all the other candidates, including Conservative MP Andrew Scheer. Campaign Life wants supporters to leave blank the rest of the 10-slot ranked ballot.
During a rally before the march, six sitting MPs either endorsed Scheer or urged people to vote for all three pro-life candidates. “We have three strong candidates who are pro-life but I’m supporting Andrew Scheer,” said Conservative MP Kevin Sorensen.
Scheer, the former Speaker of the House, also has a perfect pro-life voting record but ran afoul of Campaign Life when he said during his campaign he would not introduce abortion legislation as prime minister because the party is not united on that issue. 
Tensions in the leadership are running high because Scheer is running second to frontrunner MP Maxime Bernier, a Quebec Conservative MP and libertarian. Conservative Party members are mailing in their ballots sent out by the Party in early May. The leader will be chosen May 27. 
The opportunity to vote for a pro-life Conservative leadership candidate and the 20th anniversary of the march did not translate into bigger numbers for this year’s event.
Organizers estimate 15,000 people took part this year on a cool, cloudy and windy day after a rainy spell that has caused flooding along the Ottawa River. The record attendance is 25,000.

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