For 20 Years, Ottawa Knights Stand Strong for Life
Knights of Columbus members and their families were among the thousands who gathered in Ottawa for the 20th Annual Canadian National March for Life, Thursday, May 11. Thousands more participated in local marches across the country.
Peacefully gathering on Parliament Hill, the attendees for the national march came together to demand that the laws of the nation once again uphold the most basic right inherent to all human persons: the right to life.
This year’s national and local marches coincided with the 150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation. To mark the occasion, the Campaign Life Coalition — which organizes the national march each year — launched “iStandOnGuard.ca,” an online website campaign asking that every pro-life Canadian make a pledge to stand up for life from the moment of conception until natural death. The coalition hopes this pledge will help free Canada from the devastating effects of abortion which has killed approximately 100,000 children each year in the country. Legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy, even up to the moment of birth, these abortions are fully-funded by Canadian tax dollars. In addition, the current law places no restriction on abortions, allowing them for any reason whatsoever, or no reason at all.
The march began with a rally on Parliament Hill and proceeded through the downtown streets before returning for testimonies from participants in the Silent No More Awareness Campaign and a prayer service. Among those at the rally were three members of the Board of Directors of the Knights of Columbus: Supreme Director Graydon Nicholas of New Brunswick, Supreme Director Arthur Peters of Ontario and Supreme Director Larry Kustra of Manitoba.
In his remarks, Supreme Director Nicholas quoted St. John Paul II, saying, "If you want equal justice for all, and true freedom and lasting peace, then, America, defend life! All the great causes that are yours today will have meaning only to the extent that you guarantee the right to life and protect the human person."
"I defend these teachings publicly and privately along with each and every one of you," the supreme director continued.
Supreme Director Kustra explained why it is so important that the Knights attend such events, stating, “The Knights of Columbus with its nearly 2 million members believe that the right to life is a gift given to us by God. Life from conception to natural death is a sacred gift.”
“Our participation in the March for Life reminds us of the importance that we as Catholics place on the sanctity of life from conception to natural death,” Supreme Director Peters added. “In a society which now allows for euthanasia and assisted suicide, it is important that we publicly stand for our belief in the dignity of the human person at all stages of their life.”
This belief gives rise to pro-life work throughout the country, including the yearly marches for life held across the nation. As Supreme Director Kustra noted, the Knights believe “the right to life is the basis of other rights such as health, marriage and religion of an individual,” a belief which inspires them to strongly support a Culture of Life.
This year’s marches drew much comment after Jim Watson, mayor of the city of Ottawa, took down a flag flying above the capital building commemorating the 20th anniversary occasion. Despite the day having been proclaimed by the mayor as “National March for Life Day in the Capital,” the flag — which read “National March for Life Ottawa” in large letters — came down due to backlash from the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada.
Despite the backlash, the pro-life attendees at the event were not discouraged.
“I am extremely pleased at the number of young people that are participating in the national march,” said Mr. Kustra. “We even had a group of young people come from Alberta. This speaks well to the future of the pro-life movement.”