(see page 3)
Walk for Life
Sunday, March 25
Phone: (519) 836-6311 | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org | Website: guelphforlife.com
Mailing Address: Guelph & Area Right to Life, 26 Norfolk St, Guelph, ON, N1H 4H8
40 Days for Life Closing Potluck
Garden of Grace: Planting Day
Spring is on its way, and with it will come lots of activity in the Garden of Grace! This Garden, situated on the property of the Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate in Guelph, is a quiet, prayerful space for families who have lost a child before birth.
It officially opened last summer, and has been a place for quiet reflection and healing for many visitors since then.
To start things off, we'll be looking for volunteers to assist with some spring clean-up and mulching. Volunteers are welcome on Monday, May 7th (with a rain date of Tuesday, May 8th). If you don't mind getting your hands dirty, and would like to help out, please join us!
We'll also be planting annuals on Wednesday, May 30th (rain date: Thursday, May 31st). To sign up to volunteer for either of these dates, please contact our office.
Visitors to the garden can expect to see a new statue this year. Local artist Timothy Schmalz created the two statues that are currently in the garden, depicting the sorrow of an angel leaning over an empty crib, and the comfort of Jesus with a baby in his arms. He will also be creating a beautiful statue called "A Warm Embrace," showing Jesus with children around him. This hope-filled addition to the garden will be placed on the long pathway loop at the far end of the garden from the church steps.
Garden of Grace
(see page 7)
Guelph & Area Right to Life
(see page 1)
Saturday, June 2
(see page 4)
Tuesday, June 19
Monday, May 7
Thursday, May 10
Walk for Life
National March for Life
Annual General Meeting
Wednesday, May 30
Garden of Grace: Clean-Up Day
(see page 2)
by Kristin Swaving
'Safe Access Zones' In Effect
Save the date! Guelph & Area Right to Life's annual general meeting will be taking place on Tuesday, June 19 at the Right to Life office (26 Norfolk St, Guelph).
Starting at 7:00pm, we'll be providing updates on our projects and the impact we've had in the community over the past year, as well as electing board members. Light refreshments will be provided. Please RSVP by contacting our office.
On February 1st, the Ontario government's new 'bubble zone' ('safe access zone') legislation came into effect. This automatically creates a 50 meter zone around abortion facilities in the province, which can be extended to 150 meters upon request.
Within the zone, people are not permitted to express opposition to abortion or offer resources to women entering the facility.
Hospitals that perform abortions and pharmacies or other locations that dispense the abortion pill can request to have a zone applied to them, but only free-standing abortion facilities will have one applied to them automatically.
In Ottawa, the zone around the Morgentaler abortion clinic has been marked with permanent signs that say "Access Zone Boundary."
Freeport Hospital in Kitchener, where abortions are performed, had chosen not to apply for a bubble zone. While pro-life prayer regularly takes place across the street from the hospital, the CEO of the hospital stated, "we're not sure that...we've ever had a circumstance that was close enough to the hospital that the access zone would make any difference to the experience of women coming or going from the clinic, or staff." However, after pressure from the local pro-abortion group SHORE, the hospital applied for a 150m zone.
Since Guelph General Hospital does not currently perform surgical abortions or dispense the abortion pill, they are not eligible to apply for a bubble zone.
Several pro-life groups are pursuing legal options to challenge the new law.
Here we are, at our spring newsletter; one of our favorite ones, because it means that summer is coming!
We at the office have had a wonderful winter. In January, we had our Light Chain, which boasted its highest attendance in years. We also held our second annual Fundraising Dinner at the Mandarin Restaurant, which 130 of our supporters were able attend. We raised just under $21,000!! And maybe a couple extra pounds. Thank you so very much to all who came out. Our 40 Days for Life campaign has also had more churches involved then ever before, so hopefully that means even more hours covered then previous years.
Looking ahead, we would like you to set aside June 2nd for our annual Walk For Life, which will be held in both Guelph and Fergus. This is a great opportunity to be a witness for life in our communities!
This winter has also had some negatives, as the 'Safe Access Zone' law was passed, as well as the government prohibiting pro-life organizations from receiving grants for Summer Students. This is a very disappointing reminder of how totalitarian our current government is. Please take time to write to your MP's and MPP's in regards to these issues. On a positive note, it has been awesome see many 'letters to the editors' on these issues; keep it up!
And, I would like to again remind you that we now are able to accept PAD (pre-authorized) donations. This is an amazing way for our office to have security in knowing how much money we will have every month, and helps us plan our expenses accordingly. It is also an amazing opportunity for YOU to be able to support this super awesome organization with just a small (or large!) donation every month ;)
Til next time, God bless!
Below: hand-written notes from students at St. James, offering encouragement to young girls in India.
Above: The Jamiens for Justice club with their Gendercide Awareness display board.
In the Schools: Gendercide Awareness
Are you all in? This year's March for Life theme of 'All In' calls Canadians to come together in the face of many challenges, including the new bubble zone legislation and the Canada Summer Jobs grant issue.
If you haven't been to the March in our national's capital before, we encourage you to attend this year on Thursday, May 10 for an amazing experience! The march reguarly sees 20,000 Canadians gathering on Parliament Hill.
This year, the local Knights of Columbus council is organizing a bus for the Guelph area. This will be a day trip on a coach bus. For further details, please contact our office.
This April, we are inviting pro-life speaker Stephanie Gray to speak at local high schools. Her talk, which she recently shared at Google Headquarters, focuses on how we should respond to the vulnerable, especially in the issue of abortion.
Thanks to your donations, we're able to invite world-class speakers like Stephanie to change lives here in Guelph!
Last semester, our staff partnered with Jamiens for Justice, a student club at St. James High School, to raise awareness of gendercide. This student-led campaign helped to inform the school about a major human rights issue: girls being aborted just because they're girls.
This phenomenon occurs widely in India and China, countries where a cultural 'son preference' can lead to the belief that girls are less valuable. Women may abort their daughters or abandon them after birth due to pressure from their family. In China, it is estimated that one out of every six girls is lost to gendercide.
During Gendercide Awareness Week at St. James, students shared daily announcements with statistics about the issue and created a display board to educate their peers.
At the end of the week, students wrote letters to girls in India who are being assisted by an organization called the 'Invisible Girl Project'. This organization identifies girls who are vulnerable to abandonment, and provides them with education and support.
Through these letters and notes, students shared their dreams and goals, and encouraged girls to dream big and have confidence. They emphasized that students at St. James are praying for these girls in India, and that they are loved.
Coming Soon: Stephanie Gray
March for Life Buses
Thank you to everyone who joined the prayer and fasting for this year's 40 Days for Life! In our area, we saw 15 churches participating, and many people joining in prayer throughout the 40 days.
For the first time, Kingdom Life Fellowship hosted an inter-denominational 40 Days for Life opening prayer gathering; in addition, Bishop Crosby of the Diocese of Hamiton visited the Basilica of Our Lady to offer a 40 Days for Life Mass.
We're looking forward to a potluck dinner on March 25th to conclude this time of prayer with fellowship and a good meal! All are welcome to attend. Dinner will be at the Community Room of Holy Rosary Church (175 Emma St, Guelph) starting at 6:00pm. Please RSVP by contacting our office.
Help Us Gather Signatures and Support in Guelph!
40 Days for Life
The Petition of One Million, a project of Alliance for Life Ontario, seeks to gather one million signatures from Canadians for the protection of life in the womb. The petition will be presented to the federal government in 2019, on the 50th anniversary of the legalization of abortion in Canada.
You may have signed the petition at our of our events or at your church. If so, thank you very much!
To gather more signatures this summer, we'll be hitting the pavement, asking members of the community to sign the petition. If you'd like to volunteer to help, we invite you to attend a volunteer training session.
The hour-long training session will prepare you with information about the petition and tips on how to start conversations and answer common questions.
Starting in May, volunteers with be going out in pairs to specific locations to engage passers-by or do door-to-door canvassing.
Training will take place at our office in downtown Guelph.
Please join us on either Saturday, April 21 at 11am or Thursday, April 26 at 7pm. You are required to register in advance by e-mailing email@example.com. Refreshments will be provided, and training is free!
If you are not able to attend on either of these dates, contact our office - alternate dates may be available!
Reaching Minds Through Media
Volunteer Training Sessions:
Saturday, April 21 (11:00am)
Thursday, April 26 (7:00pm)
Since 2000, Alliance for Life Ontario (AFLO) has coordinated pro-life television commercials that air right here in Ontario, with the aim of reaching women who are experiencing crisis pregnancies and to encourage a culture of life within our province.
Generally airing every two years, the advertising campaigns are seen on major television networks such as Global and CTV. The most recent campaign saw 800 ads being aired across the province.
Guelph & Area Right to Life is proud to contribute to this campaign. Together, by combining our resources, we are able to do much more than we could on our own! Through your donations, and the donations of the many AFLO supporters, these television ads are seen across the province in cities such as Toronto, London, and Ottawa.
In previous years, the ads have focused on several different topics, including the harms of abortion, the role of fathers in offering support during a crisis pregnancy, and the impact that abortion has had in our country.
This year, a new ad has been created with a positive message for young women experiencing an unexpected pregnancy. It highlights the fact that there are loving families ready to adopt children. The ad provides a contact number and encouragement.
The upcoming three-month ad campaign will begin this spring!
By Paul Tuns
In December, the federal government announced changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program which now requires employers to sign an attestation of support for what the application process called Charter rights and underlying values, including reproductive and LGBQT rights. In January, the Trudeau government faced a backlash from religious groups and columnists who decried the violation of conscience rights required to qualify for the federal subsidy to employ students for summer jobs. The government responded after nearly two weeks of criticism claiming the change was never meant to prevent faith groups and others from obtaining subsidies but rather was designed to stop organizations with a “core mandate” opposed to abortion or LGBQT rights from receiving funding.
Each year, Employment and Social Development Canada hands out $120 million to companies, non-profits, and charities to help defray the costs of hiring approximately 70,000 high school and university students. The rationale for the program is that the work provides young Canadians with the opportunity to obtain some work experience.
Last year, Trudeau announced that Liberal MPs would not dole out money to pro-life groups after pro-abortion groups complained. The government settled with the Canadian Center for Bioethical Reform, Guelph Right to Life, and Toronto Right to Life in November for breaching the Charter in denying them funding. The government admitted the groups were “denied funding on the basis of a criteria neither set out in the Applicant’s Guide nor included in the MP’s list of local priorities for 2017.”
To avoid similar lawsuits, the government changed the program to include requirements that all recipients attest to support for Charter rights and “values underlying the Charter.” The Canada Summer Jobs website stated all “applicants will be required to attest that both the job and the organization’s core mandate respect individual human rights, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” including “reproductive rights.”
Numerous church groups that run summer camps, daycare, youth drop-in centers, and other programs indicated they could not in good conscience sign the attestation. Some Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Sikhs who owned businesses said they could not check the attestation without violating their consciences.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, and the Canadian Council of Christian Charities were leaders in condemning the new policy. They noted that Trudeau was imposing his views on recipients of government programs, that freedom of speech and freedom of conscience are Charter rights, and that abortion is not specified in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The EFC said, “this policy change would mean that to be eligible for the grant, organizations will have to attest that their core mandate affirms the government’s view on a list of issues, including the government’s position on abortion, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.” It explained this violates Section 2 of the Charter which protects the religious freedoms of Canadians.
Amid the criticism, the government remained steadfast that they were correct. Employment Minister Patty Hajdu said “we think this is a fair process.” Trudeau said, “an organization that has the explicit purpose of restricting women’s rights by removing the right to abortion is not in line with where we are as a government, quite frankly where we are as a society.”
After initially standing by the policy, the government seemed to tweak their requirement. Hajdu explained, “there is a difference between an applicant’s beliefs and an applicant’s core mandate for the job funding.” She said “the fact that an organization is affiliated with a religion … does not itself constitute ineligility for this program.” She would later tell CTV’s Don Martin that if a company or organization’s core mandate is unrelated to abortion or LGBQT issues, they should have no problem signing the attestation of beliefs.
In a Hamilton, Ont., townhall meeting Trudeau called the pushback against the policy a “kerfuffle.” He then explained the rational for the policy: “Of course, you’re more than allowed to whatever beliefs you like, but when those beliefs lead to actions determined to restrict a woman’s right to control her own body, that’s where I, and I think we, draw the line as a country.”
CLC national president Jim Hughes told The Interim that “Trudeau seems to believe it is fine to hold a belief as long as one doesn’t act on it, but freedom of speech and freedom of conscience are meaningless unless one lives them in the public square.”
Toronto Right to Life is taking the government to court over the policy. In a statement, TRTL said that they are asking for a judicial review in Federal Court that the attestation “be declared an unconstitutional violation of our freedom of expression, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion and equality rights.”
TRTL explained: “We are forced to take legal action again because the federal government has again attempted to discriminate against Toronto Right to Life and other pro-life organizations,” and “all employers across Canada who hold personal pro-life beliefs.” It added “pro-life Canadians cannot afford to let this discrimination go unanswered.”
Above: Cristina & Samantha, two of the the five summer students who worked with the Guelph & Area Right to Life office in 2016.
(continued on page 6)
Idealogical Litmus Test for Canada Summer Jobs Program
A full version of this article originally appeared in The Interim magazine on Feb. 2, 2018
AFLO Annual General Meeting
'Ideological Litmus Test,' continued from page 5
Below: participants at the Light Chain event in front of Guelph City Hall on January 28th, 2018.
Shining a Light on the Impact of Abortion
Mark your calendars! On Saturday, June 23, Alliance for Life Ontario's AGM will be taking place in Guelph at the Holiday Inn. This is an opportunity to hear excellent guest speakers including Donna Harrison (Executive Director of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists) and Blaise Alleyne (speaking about his new book, "A Guide to Discussing Assisted Suicide," co-authored with Jonathan Van Maren).
For details, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 519-824-7797.
On January 28, more than 60 pro-life supporters gathered to remember the 3,981,500 lives that have been ended by abortion in Canada. Thank you to everyone who took the time to bring awareness to the community! We were joined by Pastor Dave Forrest (Guelph Christian Life Church) and Pastor Marc Jagt (Fergus North Canadian Reformed Church), who lead the prayer.
Step 2: Gather Sponsors
Join us in Guelph or Fergus, rain or shine! The walk is about one hour long. After the walkathons, you're invited to stay and enjoy lunch.
Ask your family and friends if they would like to sponsor you. Using the sponsor sheet on the opposite side of this page, record the sponsors and their donation amounts.
Saturday, June 2, 2018
Step 1: Pre-Register
Our annual walkathons in Guelph and Fergus are a great chance to bring a pro-life message to our communities - and they're also one of our biggest fundraisers!
Be part of sharing the pro-life message with your community. By bringing this important message to our city streets, we both educate and spur others to action! Join with local families, students, and seniors and walk with us!
Fergus Walk for Life
Location: Maranatha Canadian Reformed Church
(600 Belsyde Ave E, Fergus)
Time: 10:00am (Registration at 9:30am)
Pizza and drinks will be provided after the walk.
Guelph Walk for Life
Location: Sacred Heart Catholic Church - Parish Hall
(98 Alice St, Guelph)
Time: 10:00am (Registration at 9:30pm)
Lunch will be provided after the walk.
Step 3: Walk with Us!
If you're planning to join this year's walk in either Fergus or Guelph, we ask that you contact our office in advance to pre-register.
Why Walk for Life?
Promoting a greater respect for all human life in support of the Guelph & Area Right to Life Association
Name: ___________________________ Age (if under 18 years): _____ Phone Number: ______________________
Mailing Address: __________________________________________________________________________________________
E-mail Address: __________________________ Signature: _________________________ Date of Signature: _____________
Walkers under the age of 18 must have parent or legal guardian's signature
Sponsor Record Sheet 2018
1) Pledges are to be collected by the walker prior to the event. 2) Tax receipts will be issued for donations of $10.00 or more.
3) Please complete all sponsor name & address info for the sponsor to receive a tax receipt.
4) Children under the age of 10 must be accompanied by an adult. 5) If you have additional sponsors, you may photocopy this sheet.