Saturday, June 30, 2012


"...And I learned soon enough that prayer does not take away bodily pain or mental anguish. Nevertheless, it does provide a certain moral strength to bear the burden patiently. Certainly, it was prayer that helped me through every crisis.

Gradually, too, I learned to purify my prayer and remove from it the elements of self-seeking. I learned to pray for my interrogators, not so they would see things my way or come to the truth so that my ordeal would end, but because they, too, were children of God and human beings in need of his blessing and his daily grace. I learned to stop asking for more bread for myself, and instead to offer up my sufferings, the pains of hunger that I felt, for the many others in the world and in Russia at that time who were enduring similar agony and even greater suffering. I tried very hard not to worry about what tomorrow would bring, what I should eat, or what I should wear, but rather to seek the kingdom of God and his justice, his will for me and for all mankind.

"Thy will be done." That was the key, but only slowly did I come to experience how perfect a prayer is the Our Father, the Lord's Prayer. "Lord, teach us how to pray", the disciples had said, and in his answer the Lord had explained the whole theology of prayer in the most simple terms, exhaustive in its content and yet intended for the use of all men without distinction. The human mind could not elaborate a better pattern in prayer than the one the Lord himself gave us.

He begins by placing us in the presence of God. God the almighty, who has created all things out of nothingness and keeps them in existence lest they return to nothingness, who rules all things and governs all things in the heavens and on earth according to the designs of his own providence. And yet this same all-powerful God is our Father, who cherishes us and looks after us as his sons, who provides for us in his own loving kindness, guides us in his wisdom, who watches over us daily to shelter us from harm, to provide us food, to receive us back with open arms when we, like the prodigal, have wasted our inheritance. Even as a father guards his children, he guards us from evil--because evil does exist in the world..."

From Walter J. Ciszek's book, He Leadeth me

Thursday, June 28, 2012

He Leadeth me: the series

From Walter J. Ciszek's book He Leadeth me (updated September 8, 2012)

Faith in him alone June 16, 2012

Seeking and finding God June 22, 2012

In Russia June 24, 2012

Painting by Akiane Kramarik Prince of Peace

What Hell must be like

"The world of solitary confinement is a universe of its own...the isolation...the silence...the interrogations that would go on for 24 or 48 hours with no rest no sleep no food...the psychological...the minutes of silence and solitary routine stretched out without end...

There was no such sort of human companionship to sustain you at Lubianka. When you came back from an interrogation session here, you were on your own. You could only torture yourself by going over and over the session in your own mind, wondering whether what you had said was right, or what you might have done better, agonizing again and again over every question and every answer. Here there was no relief to be sought by talking it over with somebody else, by asking advice (poor as it might prove to be), by sharing experiences and sympathizing with one another.

Solitary confinement, in short, must be very much like what some theologians paint as the principal torment of hell: the soul at last recognizing its mistakes for what they were and condemned forever to the loss of heaven, constantly tormenting itself with reproaches and tearing itself apart because it still sees and understands and wants the things it has lost forever, but knows it is condemned to lose forever because of its own choices, its own failings, its own mistakes..."

From Walter J. Ciszek's book He Leadeth me

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The future of "Therapeutic Homicide"

The National Post has reported on a recently published editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that says Canada needs to debate the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia—which they are calling “therapeutic homicide.”

In response to that CMAJ editorial, someone sent me an email comparing “therapeutic homicide” to another euphemistically labelled life-terminating procedure which was legalized in Canada four decades ago: “therapeutic abortion.”

I think the email writer’s analysis is bang on, and is a stark warning for us all about what is in store for Canada if we go down the path of legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia, and so I am posting an extensive excerpt from that email here:

"If assisted suicide/euthanasia is legalized in Canada, I can't think of any reason it won't end up like abortion in this country: no restrictions, fully funded by the taxpayer, health care workers pressured to take part in the procedure, lack of support/access for alternatives, etc.

The arguments they are using to promote it are eerily similar to the ones abortion advocates used to promote legalizing abortion: it is being done anyway, so it's better to have it under control and done in a "humane" way rather than resort to the "back alleys"; people have a "right" to self-determination, integrity, freedom of choice, autonomy, "security of the person," equality, etc.

If assisted suicide is legalized, why do we think suicide prevention programs would still be allowed?  Just imagine how abortion proponents would go ballistic if we wanted to start an "abortion prevention program"! That would be an affront to the freedom and dignity of women! Even "suicide alternative" organizations (if allowed to exist) would be viciously attacked for their "anti-choice" views and would receive no government funding. (Think of the "anti-choice" crisis pregnancy centres). Those offering life-affirming counseling to a suicide-minded person would be accused of "forcing their religious views on others."

Abortions were initially allowed for "therapeutic" reasons and for "difficult" cases we have 100,000 "therapeutic" abortions per year in Canada, no questions asked.

Women are sometimes (often?) pressured to have abortions (especially if the baby they are carrying is considered less than "perfect" by our imperfect society's standards); we are not allowed to ask women the reasons for their abortions; details of most abortions (such as gestational age, complications, etc) are kept hidden from the public, and now in some provinces abortion related information is not even available through Freedom of Information legislation.

And then of course, there's the censorship of the pro-life view by student unions on university campuses.

Why would assisted suicide and euthanasia--or should I say, "therapeutic homicide"--be any different?

Whether or not other countries which have legalized assisted suicide/euthanasia have been able to keep it restricted to just those cases that fall within clearly defined guidelines (in fact, some studies suggest they can't), what makes us think Canada could contain it, given our abysmal record at containing abortion? We are not like any other democratic nation on the planet with our secretive, fully-funded, limitless, abortion for any/no reason, unaccountable policy--and we're not even allowed to discuss this in our provincial and federal legislatures!

How do those pushing for legalized "therapeutic homicide" in Canada think that it won't progress the same way "therapeutic abortion" has in this country? How do they propose to contain the practice, when they (many of them are also proponents of abortion) could not contain abortion?"

One of the most outspoken advocates in favour of the legalization of assisted suicide is Dalhousie law professor Jocelyn Downie, who the email writer reminded me co-authored a guest editorial in the CMAJ in 2006, entitled, Abortion: Ensuring Access.

That guest editorial caused a huge outcry because the authors misrepresented the CMA’s policy on abortion referral, claiming that doctors who won’t refer are committing malpractice (compelling CMA’s ethics director Dr. Jeff Blackmer to issue a public clarification of CMA’s policy). The authors also claimed that the Supreme Court recognized that a woman’s “right” to “terminate a pregnancy” is protected by the Charter, when in fact the SCC recognized no such thing.

The writer that sent me the email, wonders if Dr. Downie, or some other advocate of legalized assisted suicide, can help us to understand how/why legalizing assisted suicide won’t lead to the same secretive, unrestricted, coercive situation we are in today with abortion.

I’d like to know the answer to that as well.

Or do we have another guest editorial in the CMAJ to look forward to in the not-too-distant future called "Therapeutic Homicide: Ensuring Access"?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Is the business of the public the public's business?

Ontario's Information and Privacy Commissioner Ontario (IPC), Dr. Ann Cavoukian, made a presentation to St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto on November 24, 2011.

It was called Opening the Door: Ontario’s Hospitals and FOI.

It was about the upcoming legislation that brought hospitals in under the Freedom of Information Act in Ontario.

I have identified below, a few key slides from that presentation.

There is no mention in the presentation about the abortion exclusion.

There are lots of mentions about how important access to information is. In fact, that is the whole point of the presentation.

Why is FOI essential?
Access and Transparency = Accountability = Democracy

A Free and Democratic Society
Government transparency and access to information are vital ingredients for a free and functioning democratic society;
When information is freely available, the public may question the actions of their government and participate meaningfully in policy decisions –this is not possible if government activities are hidden from public view.
Transparency helps to create a culture of accountability

It’s the Public’s Business
“We do not, and never will, accept the proposition that the business of the public is none of the public’s business.”
—The Honourable Ian Scott, July, 1985.

Application of Exemptions and Exclusions 
Not all exemptions are mandatory – exercise discretion in favour of disclosure;
Exclusions mean records are not subject to FIPPA –often the records can still be disclosed unless another statute prohibits disclosure;
Ask “Why shouldn’t we disclose?” NOT “Do we have to disclose?”

Key Messages
Transparency is a public good, not a burden;
Treat the Act as a starting point, not the end of the story;
Do not turn FOI into a technical “legal” exercise – there are other equally important considerations;
Be proactive –the Act should be last resort for citizen access.

IPC Philosophy The Essential 3 C’s
Consultation: by keeping open the lines of communication;
Co-operation: rather than confrontation, in resolving complaints;
Collaboration: by working together and seeking partnerships to find joint solutions.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Don't let the numbers fool you

It has been revealed that abortion complication rates are much higher than the pro-abortions keep telling us.

And this comes from Echo, who, as I have stated before, is not pro-life.

Echo also wants more access to late-term abortions.

And as I have stated before, Echo is completely funded by Ontario tax dollars.

This report says that hospital abortions are safe, yet Echo's own numbers show that short-term complication rates are higher then the common figure always stated, which is about 1%.

For instance, in Joyce Arthur's report attacking crisis Pregnancy Centres, Exposing crisis pregnancy centres in BC, we were told that:
"complication risk still less than 1%" and "Less than one in 100 abortions result in serious complications"

And in this other Echo report:
"Abortion service provision is safe with less than 1% complication rate".

But Echo's own numbers contradict this.

So let's look at what this current report, Induced Abortion in Ontario: Case Scenarios, actually tells us about complication rates.

On page 14, I refer the reader to:
Table 7. Hospital Abortion Outcomes (2002/03 to 2008/09) for 98,483 abortions

The chart reveals short-term complication percentages (1), and they are not less than 1%.

In fact, 6.95% of the 96,859 women who had "same day" hospital abortions had complications (and were readmitted as inpatients: .91%; to same day surgery: .59% ; to the emergency department: 5.45%)


7.70% of 1,624 women who had "in patient" hospital abortions had complications (and were readmitted as inpatients: 1.91%; to same day surgery 1.05%; to the emergency department 4.74%).

Then on Page 20, I refer the reader to this:
“According to the hospital survey data, 35 of the 94 general hospitals responding (79% response rate; 94/119 Ontario general hospitals) performed abortions. However of these 35, only 16 reported providing second trimester abortions and all were in larger urban areas. Of these 16, only 13 performed abortions beyond 19 weeks. According to hospital survey data, later stage abortions are only provided for medical reasons, including for a non-viable foetus. Hospital survey data (12/13 hospitals) shows that the gestational limit for these hospitals is 20 weeks (3 hospitals); 21 weeks (1 hospital); 21.5 (1 hospital); 22 (2 hospitals); 23 (1 hospital) 23.50 (2 hospitals) and 24 (2 hospitals).”

Notice the use of the word “only”. “Only” implies that not many hospitals perform second trimester abortions.

Yet fully 16 hospitals do provide second trimester abortions.

And of these 16 hospitals:

3 hospitals do abortions up to 20 weeks
1 hospital does abortions up to 21 weeks
1 hospital does abortions up to 21.5 weeks
2 hospitals do abortions up to 22 weeks
1 hospital does abortions up to 23 weeks
2 hospital does abortions up to 23.5 weeks
2 hospitals do abortions up to 24 weeks

And this statement:
“According to the hospital survey data, later stage abortions are only performed for medical reasons, including for a nonviable fetus."

What medical reasons are we talking about? And how many were done for a nonviable fetus? How many were done for other reasons? Why isn't that information provided? Does Echo have something to hide?

On Page 20, I refer the reader to:
Table 5. Second Trimester (Gestational Age > 12 Weeks) Hospital Abortion Outcomes (2002/03 to 2008/09) for 16,446 procedures

Again, let's look at the percentages:

8.05% of women who had "same day" hospital abortions after 12 weeks had complications (and were readmitted as inpatients: 1.52%; to same day surgery: .42%; to the emergency department: 6.11%)


7.48% of women who had "in patient" hospital abortions after 12 weeks had complications (and were readmitted as inpatients: 1.60%; to same day surgery: 1.07%; to the emergency department: 4.81%)

Complication rates much higher that we thought; more access to late-term abortions. Is this what Ontarians really want?

(1) Short-Term Complications: "Using administrative health data, we examined short-term abortion complications. For the purposes of this analysis, any visit to an Emergency Department (ED) or hospital within 14 days of the procedure was counted as a complication, regardless of the reason for the visit.")

Sunday, June 24, 2012

In Russia

After Father Ciszek and Father Nestrov arrive in Russia with refugees from Poland, Father Ciszek says:

"...The rudest awakening of all, however, was our growing realization that we might have no apostolate at all here. Though freedom of religion is technically guaranteed by the 'Soviet Constitution, proselytization is strictly forbidden. The constitution guarantees freedom of atheist propaganda, but those who try to spread the truths of the faith or foster religion are in fact breaking the law; Nestrov and I had known this, of course, simply as a matter of pure fact; now we began to experience it as a fact of daily life.

Nobody wanted to talk about religion, let alone practice it. Though none of the workers in our barracks knew that Nestrov and I were priests, they were still reluctant to so much as discuss any matters dealing with God or religion. We were accepted among them as fellow workers, in an easy spirit of comradeship. We shared the work, the poor food, the poor housing, the daily hardships. The refugees, especially, were a simple people with a difficult lot in life that they accepted with resignation. They welcomed us in their company, conversed freely, and answered practical problems with the cliches and bromides born of common hardships or cultural heritage. But they would not speak of God or hear of God.

They were afraid. Nestrov and I, too, became cautious and even fearful; you could not help it in that atmosphere. We were afraid not only for ourselves and for what we still hoped might prove the ultimate success of our apostolate, but for the people among whom we hoped to minister as well. They had so little in this life that we did not want to be the cause of further trouble to them. We knew, and they knew, there were informers and party members who would report any religious activities. It was even necessary not to say anything to the children about God, tempting as such a thought might be, lest they in all innocence tell others about our conversation and so give us away..."

The two priests thought that they had made a mistake in coming to Russia...

"...And then one day, together, it dawned on us. God granted us the grace to see the solution to our dilemma, the answer to our temptation. It was the grace quite simply to look at our situation from his viewpoint rather than from ours. It was the grace not to judge our efforts by human standards, or by what we ourselves wanted or expected to happen, but rather according to God's design. It was the grace to understand that our dilemma, our temptation, was of our own making and existed only in our minds; it did not and could not coincide with the real world ordained by God and governed ultimately by his will..."

From Walter J. Ciszek's book He Leadeth me

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Can pride be defeated?

"Pride can never defeat pride; only humility can defeat pride."

From Peter Kreeft's book Christianity for Modern Pagans


Friday, June 22, 2012

Are abortion guidelines enough?

The Insufficiency of Guidelines

Written by Mike Schouten

Canada should do away with its drunk driving laws. We no longer need laws prohibiting this activity. In fact, the laws that are in place are ineffective (because people break them anyway). And enforcing them places an incredible financial burden on governments already strapped for cash.

A much better solution would be to toss the laws and let people use their own better judgement as to wether they were impaired or not. And, if there was any concern about members of the public being unable to choose for themselves as to how many drinks they could consume prior to getting behind the wheel of a car, we could provide them with guidelines for assistance. If need be, we could even host an education program at the local community centre.

What do you think? Good idea? Who needs laws anyway?

Crazy idea? Absolutely!

Canada has laws against drinking and driving for good reasons. Laws restrict certain behaviours and punish those who disobey them. Through legal restrictions the state decides what we can do with our bodies, and in a sense, laws grant people freedom.

You can imagine how terrifying it would be to drive the streets of your town or city knowing that drunk driving was legal. Although some people do indeed break laws, generally speaking, we feel safe knowing that certain harmful actions are restricted by the authorities.

A recent debate in the House of Commons has prompted many discussions in mainstream media and the blogosphere about another law. An abortion law. Even though Motion 312 introduced by Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth would have no bearing on Canadian law whatsoever, pro-choice groups have brought out all the artillery to oppose this common sense suggestion by Mr. Woodworth.

Among the many reasons given for not having this debate is that there is no need for a law, as the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) already has guidelines in place. Joyce Arthur, executive director for Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC) went so far as to dedicate an entire portion of the ARCC website to counter arguments to Motion 312. One of these arguments states, “Doctors abide by a Canadian Medical Association policy that recommends abortion on request only up to 20 weeks gestation.”

Now, it’s true, the CMA has guidelines in place which set the viability of the fetus at twenty weeks. But that’s all they are, guidelines. And the latest statistics from the Canadian Institute for Health Information reveal that they’re not working. Even though reporting is incomplete due to secrecy policies in some jurisdictions (less than ¼ of the abortions reported divulged the gestational age of the child), the stats show there were 537 abortions post 21 weeks gestation in 2010. Clearly, guidelines are not preventing viable fetuses from being aborted.

Just as we would never settle for guidelines when it comes to drunk driving, we shouldn’t when it comes to the lives of innocent, pre-born children. Without laws that prohibit driving under the influence of alcohol many innocent people’s lives would be violently ended. So also, without laws prohibiting late term abortions, viable pre-born children are also having their lives violently ended.

Canada needs an abortion law. Every other democracy in the world recognizes that guidelines don’t suffice, and therefore has legal protections in place.

When will Canada?

Mike Schouten is director of - Reprinted with permission from the author

Seeking and finding God's will

"...To predict what God's will is going to be, to rationalize about 'what his will must be, is at once a work of human folly and yet the subtlest of all temptations. The plain and simple truth is that his will is what he actually wills to send us each day, in the way of circumstances, places, people, and problems. The trick is to learn to see that—not just in theory, or not just occasionally in a flash of insight granted by God's grace, but every day. Each of us has no need to wonder about what God's will must be for us; his will for us is clearly revealed in every situation of every day, if only we could learn to view all things as he sees them and sends them to us.

The temptation is to overlook these things as God's will. The temptation is to look beyond these things, precisely because they are so constant, so petty, so humdrum and routine, and to seek to discover instead some other and nobler "will of God" in the abstract that better fits our notion of what his will should be. And that was our temptation at Teplaya-Gora, just as it is the tempta-tion faced by everyone who suddenly discovers that life is not what he expected it to be. The answer lies in understanding that it is these things—and these things alone, here and now, at this moment—that truly constitute the-will of God. The challenge lies in learning to accept this truth and act upon it, every moment of every day.

The trouble is that like all great truths it seems too simple. It is there before our noses all the time, while we look elsewhere for more subtle answers. It bears the hallmark of all divine truths, simplicity, and yet it is precisely because it seems so simple that we are prone to overlook it or ignore it in our daily lives..."

From Walter J. Ciszek's book He Leadeth me

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Faith in him alone

In Father Walter J. Ciszek, S.J'.s book He Leadeth me, we learn one man's story that begins in October 17, 1939 in Albertyn, Poland. The Soviets had come to town.

I hope to print some excerpts here as I continue to read the book. It is a remarkable story of faith.

Father Ciszek is the parish priest in this small town. He tells us that the Jesuit mission which had flourished for ten years in Albertyn was destroyed in a matter of weeks.

"Again and again, as I watched all this happen, I had to force myself not to think of the question that kept returning unbidden to mind: "Why has God allowed this evil to happen?" Why persecutions?...

...The perplexity and pain grew within me as I saw the visible Church, once strong and organized, dissolve under the attacks of these invaders and watched the people grow estranged, pressured ceaselessly into accepting this new order.

And what of the young people who were literally torn away from their parents and forced to join the Young Pioneers or Komsomol organizations, taught to report on any "deviations" of the old people at home? How frustrating it was to hear the Church and priests and religious openly slandered in communist propaganda, and to know that the children had to learn and repeat atheist doctrines every day in school and in their class work. How could God allow all this? And why?...

...It was not a crisis of faith, any more than it is for anyone who has ever suffered a great loss or faced a family tragedy and asked himself the same questions. It was rather a crisis of understanding, and no one need be ashamed to admit he has been troubled by it. Anyone who has done much reading in the Old Testament is familiar with those questions. "How long, Lord, how long will you allow our enemies to triumph over us?"

Most especially in the days after David, in the ages of captivity, when the glories of the golden age of Solomon were but a memory by the rivers of Babylon and Israel had been broken and led away in shame, does the question recur again and again. To Israel, surely, it must have seemed the end of the world, the end of the covenant, the end of God's special care for his chosen people.

Yet, from our vantage point in history, we know it was really quite the opposite. Israel's troubles were in truth a manifestation of Yahweh's special providence, his special love for his chosen people. Like a fond and loving father, he was trying to wean them away from trust in kings or princes or in armies or the powers of this world.

He was trying to teach them, again and again, that their faith must only be in him alone. He was leading them, through every trial and in every age, to the realization that God alone is faithful in all tribulations, that he alone is constant in his love and must be clung to, even when it seems all else has been turned upside down. Yahweh is still the Lord behind the events and happenings of this world; he can be found there and he must be sought in them, so that his will may be done.

It was he who had chosen them, not they him. It was he who had first made the covenant with them, who had led them and cared for them, shepherded and fed and guarded them in every tribulation. Their part in the covenant must be to trust in him alone, to remain always faithful, to look to him and not to other gods, to rely on him and not on rulers or on chariots or bowmen.

He was ever faithful and so in turn must they be, even when he led them where they would not go, into a land they knew not, or into exile. For he had chosen them, they were his people, he would no more forget them than a mother could forget the child of her womb."

Access to abortion information denied in Ontario

(An edited version of this article appeared in the May/June 2012 issue of LifeCanada News)

You know, I wasn't born in a cabbage patch. So can someone please tell me what is going on in Ontario?

Recently the McGuinty government passed Bill 122, The Broader Public Sector Accountability Act.

One of the stated purposes of this act was to create:
“higher accountability standards for hospitals, Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and broader public sector organizations.” and to "Expand Freedom of Information legislation to cover hospitals".

This means that hospitals and other institutions now fall under Freedom of Information and Privacy Act (FIPPA,). On the face of it, this should mean more accountability and access to information, right? Wrong.

You see, not only was Bill 122 passed into law, but a new clause was added to FIPPA with this amendment; a clause that specifically excludes abortion:
“(5.7) This Act does not apply to records relating to the provision of abortion services.”

The result of these changes is to actually decrease accountability and decrease access to information, since abortion services are now excluded whereas before they were included.

For instance, before this change occurred, a citizen of Ontario could ask for and receive information on abortion statistics. I have done several of these Freedom of Information requests.* In fact it was my latest FOI, which was refused, that alerted me to the change.

This will mean we will have no information about health complications for women and no information on gestational age. How will this be in the best interests of women's health? It seems the only ones who stand to benefit are those involved in the abortion industry, since now they can conduct their business completely shielded from the public--no other publicly funded 'medical service' receives such 'special' treatment. Abortion advocates continually claim that abortion is just like any other 'medical procedure'. If that is true, why the need to hide it?

It appears that there was no debate in the Legislature about this abortion exclusion clause. Nothing at all. It looks like nobody, including MPPs, were even aware of the change. There is no mention anywhere in any of the Hansard transcripts about this exclusion clause for abortion services.

Is it even remotely possible that this change could have happened without anybody noticing?

One must remember the kind of controversy the topic of abortion always creates in this country. Yet nary a word anywhere in the media, nothing from the Opposition benches, no debate on this exclusion clause, no communication to the public, nothing. So what happened?

Well, there are three possible answers, all of them disturbing.

First, either this was an honest mistake, and this clause was included in error. Since the result has been to ban all access to abortion information, resulting in the stated objective not being achieved (increased accountability), so a mistake, although unbelievable, is possible.

Second, maybe this was not a mistake, and it was an intentional tactic by Mr. McGuinty to secretively exclude abortion services from public scrutiny. Maybe he just slipped in the clause and nobody noticed. If this is what happened, where was the opposition when this was going on?

Mr. Hudak didn’t even vote on third reading of the bill. Where was he, and what were his members doing while this stealth maneuver was secretly going on? Were they all asleep in the cabbage patch?

Third, and this is the most troubling, is that Mr. Hudak whipped his MPs into being silent. Remember the provincial election when Mr. Hudak backtracked on his pro-life viewpoint?

"I may have signed a petition from my riding in that respect, but listen, let me be clear: we are not reopening this debate," said Hudak. "Just like the federal Parliament, we would not be reopening that issue."

So did Mr. Hudak tell his caucus to keep quiet--and they actually listened? Did he pull a Mr. Harper?

Regardless of the reason, whether it was intentional or a mistake, the solution is clear. The clause should be removed and the Act changed back. Mr. McGuinty should resign, and Mr. Hudak should resign as well.

It doesn't matter if you are pro-life or if you are pro-choice. All of Canada should shudder at this complete subversive use of the democratic process, no matter how it occurred. If this can happen in Canada’s largest province, it can happen in any other, or every other province in Canada.

This has already happened in BC, but the exemption for abortion is not as comprehensive as for Ontario. Which province will be next? In fact, has it already happened in other provinces? Would anybody even know?

* (e.g. Through FOI, I learned there were 77 selective fetal reduction abortions committed in 2010, and 2108 abortions for babies 14 weeks gestation and greater, and that there were a total of 44,091 tax-payer funded abortions in Ontario in 2010...53% more than CIHI reported)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

How to get to heaven

"What is childlike humility? It's not the lack of intelligence, but the lack of guile. The lack of an agenda.

It's that precious, fleeting time before we have accumulated enough pride or position to care about what other people might think. The same un-self-conscious honesty that enables a three-year-old to splash joyfully in a rain puddle, or tumble laughing in the grass with a puppy, or point out loudly that you have a booger hanging from your nose, is what is required to enter heaven.

It is the opposite of ignorance--it is intellectual honesty: to be willing to accept reality and to call things what they are when it is hard."

From the book Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Why ‘weneedaLAW’ in Canada’s abortion debate

By John Hof
Special to The B.C. Catholic

It has been 42 years since Pierre Elliott Trudeau sent Canada down the path of liberalized abortion laws. As a result we are today the only democratic country on the planet with absolutely NO law on abortion at all.

Any unborn child, at any time during its nine months in the womb, can be aborted for any reason, or no reason at all, and 100 per cent of the costs are picked up by taxpayers.

We are in the dubious company of only North Korea and China when it comes to the status of the children in the womb. I am not at all comfortable in this company.

This shocks and dismays most Canadians, who think something needs to be done. More than 77 per cent believe there needs to be some regulation and restriction on this brutality.

A vast majority believe this can be done by addressingthe problem through legislation: making it illegal to commit abortion after some point in the pregnancy.

Therein lies the problem. We know the unborn are human from the moment of conception, and for that reason should be protected from harm by the laws of a civilized society. But how can we move from having absolutely no law to having complete protection? This is a dilemma I am sure even King Solomon would have had trouble with.

Enter into the discussion This new political group announced as their mission “to build a groundswell of support among the Canadian public for federal abortion legislation.”

Some might say we in the pro-life movement have been trying to do this since the Trudeau days.

How have our effortsworked out so far? More than 4 million children have died by abortion since 1969. Maybe, just perhaps, we need to be open to a new strategy.

What makes the weneedaLAW group different? These young people are thesurvivors of abortion. They know that one-quarter of their generation have lost their lives to “choice.”

They want more than just idle words and rhetoric. They want to stop the killing in their lifetime, and they have a strategy to do it.

Naturally they need help and encouragement, and they received that when they gained an endorsement from Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, May 16.

“Canada does need a law, and this initiative is a helpful first step toward correcting an unacceptable legislative void that is unique among democratic nations. I encourage Canadians to support it and pray for its success,”said the archbishop.

There are some who will say that unless a law protects all pre-born children in thewomb it is not good enough. I could not agree more. Unfortunately we live in a day and age where all pre-born children are at risk, and we need to start granting them protection at some point, knowing that ultimately our desire and mandate is to protect them all.

Protecting and saving some may not be “good enough,” but it is far better than having open season on all the unborn. Common sense tells us we need to start somewhere to turn back the tide.

The archbishop understands this; the youth of today understand this. It is high time all of us in the pro-life movement understood this and fell in line with this strategy.

If we don’t, we risk spending the next 40 years on the outside of the political spheres of influence. We will continue to be taken for granted by political parties and their leaders, and by individual members of  Parliament who “refuse to raise the abortion issue.” The unborn will continue to die at the rate of more than 100,000 per year.

Saving some children is not a compromise of our belief that all life is sacred. Politics is the art of the possible. Prudence says that there are opportunities to save some children in Canada.

We need to start somewhere, and the archbishop has just indicated a good place to start taking that “first step” is working with

John Hof is the director of Campaign Life Coalition B.C. Reprinted with permission from the author

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Abortion incrementalism: the series

Here are all posts on this topic (Last updated April 12, 2013):

Archbishop Prendergast advocates helping pregnant women and placing restrictions on abortion (June 4, 2010)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Top secret abortion figures

Barbara Kay: McGuinty Liberals put ‘top secret’ label on abortion figures

Barbara Kay says it like it is. And she gives us a pretty good final analysis on what happened recently in Ontario regarding Freedom of Information, or lack thereof:

"It seems very clear that the Ontario government has become concerned that pro-life forces have found renewed political strength. What used to be a “settled” question is no longer settled. Many Canadians, for example, are disturbed over the issue of sex selection via abortion of female fetuses. The phenomenon is causing discomfort amongst rigid multiculturalists, some of whom occupy positions of power.

The abortion numbers we already know – over 100,000 a year in Canada, and 44,000 billed-for abortion in Ontario alone in 2010 (we won’t be able to know how many in 2011) – are making it clear that remaining the only country in the free world with no abortion regulations is not possible indefinitely.

What is needed is more public discussion on the issue, not a cowardly clampdown on information that will help guide us in that discussion. Behind Ontario’s Bill 122 is a totalitarian impulse. This undemocratic Act should not stand."

Undemocratic indeed.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Long winding road to read petition

(or Petitions 101)

On March 12, 2012, I emailed my Member of Parliament Mauril Belanger, and asked him to read a petition with 25 signatures. I was told by his office to send them in, which I did, and by which time I  had 50 signatures.

This was my petition:
"Whereas Canada is the only nation in the Western world and in the company of China and North Korea without any laws restricting abortion; And whereas Canada's Supreme Court has said it is Parliament's responsibility to enact abortion legislation; Therefore, we call upon the House of Commons in Parliament assembled to speedily enact legislation that restricts abortion to the greatest extent possible."

Simple, right? Wrong.

Now remember, I am not allowed to just waltz into the House of Commons any time I please, and stand up there and read my own petition in Parliament. No siree, I can't do that. I must follow the rules, and the rules say that I have to get my MP to do that (1).

I continued to email and call Mr. Belanger's office on a regular basis for the next two months, to ask if he would first of all, read my petition in the House, and second, when would he do it? I never got any absolute confirmation to either of these questions until May 24 when I was told it would be "tabled" in Parliament, but not "read".

Now I wasn't exactly sure what "tabled" meant and how that differed from "read". And this was not the first time Mr. Belanger's office had used this word. I always used the word "read", since that is what I asked my representative in Parliament to do for me: to "read" my petition. So I needed to do a bit of research.

There are two ways to "present" a petition. One is done orally by an MP (tabled and read in the House and written up in the Debates (Hansard) and Journal), and the other is to file it with the Clerk of the Petitions (tabled only and written up in the Journal only) (2). In both cases, the government responds officially to the MP. (3)

I thought about this and decided that no, if I couldn’t have my petition actually read orally in the House, and written up in the Debates, then I didn't want it just "tabled" (i.e. filed with the Clerk of the Petitions only). I wanted my petition back.

So on May 25 I called again and spoke with Mr. Belanger.

It was quite the interesting conversation.

I asked Mr. Belanger if he was going to read my petition. He said no. I said, okay, then I want it back unless you are going to read it. He said I will not read it and it has already been certified. I said I don't care what's happened to it, it's my petition and unless you are going to read it in the House I want it back. He said no. I asked him why he refused to read it. He said that it was his choice to read it, or not to read it. I am not kidding. I asked him if he was always rude to his constituents. He said he wasn't being rude. I said I want my petition back. He said no. I said I want my petition back. He hung up on me.

So I made a few phone calls...

And then, miracle of miracles, last Thursday I received another email from Mr. Belanger's office. This is what it said:
"Enclosed you will find the electronic link to the Hansard of yesterday. My colleague Sean Casey, Liberal M.P. for Charlottetown, presented the petition you had sent to my office, as per your wish that it be read into the record as opposed to being tabled."

Please refer to page 8574:

Halleluiah! My Petition had been read. In the House of Commons. By an MP. Which is all I ever wanted.

And here is what was said in the House of Commons, and is now in the Debates (Hansard) record:
"Mr. Sean Casey (Charlottetown, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present today, each of which may sound a bit familiar given the petitions that have already been presented today. The first one is on behalf of residents of the greater Ottawa area, including Gloucester, Nepean and Orléans. The petitioners point out that Canada is the only nation in the western world, in the company of China and North Korea,without any laws restricting abortion. They call upon the House of Commons to speedily enact legislation that would restrict abortion to the greatest extent possible. "

Persistence paid off.

(1) Presentation of Petitions
"As outsiders are not permitted to address the House directly, petitions are presented by Members. Therefore, groups and individuals with petitions for the House must enlist the aid of Members to have their petitions certified and presented. Members are not bound to present petitions and cannot be compelled to do so; [53]  nevertheless, it is evident that many Members consider it a duty to present to the House petitions brought forward by citizens. [54]  The Member, whose role it is to make the presentation on behalf of the petitioners, is not required to be in agreement with the content of any petition he or she may choose to present, and no such inference is to be drawn. [55] 

(2) "Certified petitions may be presented in two ways: orally during Routine Proceedings, [62]  or by filing them with the Clerk of the House during any sitting of the House. [63]  In practice, the majority of petitions are presented during Routine Proceedings"

(eg. Statistics compiled by the Clerk of Petitions indicate that 2107 of 2361 petitions presented in the Second Session of the Thirty-Fifth Parliament (1996-97) were presented orally during Routine Proceedings)

"When petitions are presented during Routine Proceedings, the Members’ remarks are recorded, transcribed and printed in the Debates for that day. An entry is also made in the Journals, the official record of House proceedings. The petitions are listed as having been certified correct and presented pursuant to the Standing Orders. Petitions filed with the Clerk are of course not mentioned in the Debates, but they are listed in the Journals. Certified petitions once presented to the House (by either method) are then delivered to the Clerk of Petitions who is responsible for their reception and processing."

(3) Government Responses to Petitions

Abortion law unlikely without change in tactics

All-or-nothing approach by some pro-lifers to force policy against ‘choice’ hasn’t worked

By Paul Ranalli
Special to The B.C. Catholic

Within the community of those who work to promote respect for the innocent unborn, few can claim to match the passion, commitment, and work ethic of Jakki Jeffs, executive director of Alliance For Life.

That said, what are we to make of her latest iteration of the “all-or-nothing” approach to pro-life political action?

Many of us share her unwavering gaze on the goal of “legislated protection of life for every Canadian citizen in or out of the womb.” Ah, but how to get there? How to translate undoubted conviction into concrete achievement?

Sadly, the answer, by any objective standard, would not be to follow the political tactics exhibited over the years by AFL. While these groups do much good work in pro-life education and awareness, their legislative achievements have been an utter failure.

The only thing “amazing” about the “45 years of struggle” by Ms. Jeffs’ stream of the pro-life movement is just how little has been achieved from so much effort.

Any successful social movement allows for the unfettered efforts of many different streams, effecting a sort of “parallel processing,” in engineering terms. A social campaign will not long survive, much less succeed, with the kind of internecine sniping expressed by Ms. Jeffs toward the “we needaLAW” campaign.

Sadly, this is just the latest example of the demoralizing top-down criticism of honest pro-life efforts in this country by those who appear more interested in hegemony than actual political success.

Most pro-lifers would never dream of interfering with the good work of others in the field. However their tactics may differ. Yet some members have never been shy about offering their unsolicited advice, or worse.

A Chinese proverb states that a 1,000-mile journey begins with the first step. Apparently some in the Canadian pro-life movement believe otherwise.

However consider these moments in history: while Mahatma Gandhi demanded freedom for the Indian people from their British colonizers, his pivotal action was marching his supporters to the coast to make salt without paying the salt tax.

While Martin Luther King demanded full personal and political equality for black people in America, a legendary first step was a request to be able to sit in any seat of a city bus in Birmingham, Ala.

Closer to home, a Montreal general practitioner who once demanded unrestricted legal access to abortion for women began to perform abortions one at a time, and he got himself thrown into jail repeatedly.

To some in the pro-life movement these individuals might be seen as betraying the cause, because they attempted to achieve their ultimate goal in incremental steps. They did not exhibit the purity of demanding nothing less than an instantaneous law proclaiming full victory for their cause.

They must have had their tails between their legs, too. After all, what did they ever achieve?

Paul Ranalli is a neurologist from Toronto. Reprinted with permission from the author.

Friday, June 1, 2012


My mother used to say, "You may as well laugh as to cry".

I thought of that saying as I sat down to write this blog entry.

I wanted to tell you about my recent experience of trying to get my "pro-choice" MP to read my abortion petition in Parliament.

But all I could think about was an article I read yesterday that made me want to cry. It made me want to cry because this story is the best description I have ever heard of "pro-choice".

No euphemisms. No mushy words. No BS.

It is called "Thank goodness I can still cringe" By Dave Andrusko

Here is part of that story:

"Years ago Anthony Levatino, M.D. performed abortions before he became pro-life. In his testimony last week before the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the House Judiciary Committee, Dr. Levatino went into considerable detail in describing a "D&E" abortion-an abortion technique that dismembers the baby.

He asked the subcommittee members to "Imagine, if you can, that you are a pro-choice obstetrician/gynecologist like I once was. Your patient today is 24 weeks pregnant (LMP)."

He went on:

"Picture yourself reaching in with the Sopher clamp [an instrument for grasping and crushing tissue] grasping anything you can. At twenty-four weeks gestation, the uterus is thin and soft so be careful not to perforate or puncture the walls. Once you have grasped something inside, squeeze on the clamp to set the jaws and pull hard - really hard. You feel something let go and out pops a fully formed leg about six inches long. Reach in again and grasp whatever you can. Set the jaw and pull really hard once again and out pops an arm about the same length. Reach in again and again with that clamp and tear out the spine, intestines, heart and lungs."

" know you did it right if you crush down, a white material runs out of the cervix. That was the baby's brains. Then you can pull out skull pieces. Many times a little face will come back and stare back at you...And if you think that doesn't hurt, if you believe that isn't an agony for the baby, please think again."

I will try and write my other story now. Maybe I will be able to laugh.