Defending the Vulnerable in Canada

Posted on May 23, 2024 in: General News

Defending the Vulnerable in Canada

Knights participate in pro-life marches from Ontario to British Columbia

By Cecilia Engbert



Thousands of pro-life advocates, including Knights of Columbus and their families, marched against abortion and euthanasia in cities across Canada on May 9. In addition to the 27th National March for Life in Ottawa, demonstrations were held in Regina, Saskatchewan; Edmonton, Alberta; and Victoria, British Columbia.

The Knights of Columbus is a major sponsor of the national march in Ottawa, which is organized annually by Campaign Life Coalition, and dozens of local members serve as its marshals.

Jeff Gunnarson, president of Campaign Life Coalition and a member of Galt Council 2184 in Cambridge, Ontario, spoke at the pre-march rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, encouraging marchers to stay engaged in their commitment to life in a country that permits euthanasia and assisted suicide and provides no legal protections for unborn children.

“We are here not to shame or to shout and protest. We are here in love; we pray in love for God to be with us so that by our loving witness, hearts and minds will be touched,” Gunnarson said. “It’s up to us to clean this house. Stay engaged. … Your commitment, your generosity and your prayers are making an impact.”

Abortion has been legal in Canada at any point during a pregnancy since 1988. Euthanasia and assisted suicide have been legal for persons with a serious illness, disease or disability since 2016; they accounted for 13,241 deaths in 2022 — more than 4% of all deaths in the country. The “medical assistance in dying” program was due to be expanded to people with mental illness March 17, but the expansion has been deferred until 2027.

Deputy Supreme Knight Arthur Peters, past state deputy of Ontario, also spoke at the rally, emphasizing the need to provide assistance to mothers in crisis pregnancies, compassionate end-of-life care for the ill, and appropriate medical attention for those who have mental or physical disabilities.

“The theme for our march this year is ‘I will never forget you,’ and indeed we will never forget the child in the womb or the elderly, the ill or the infirm who rely on our efforts to advocate for them,” he said.

Peters noted that Knights in Canada have contributed over $265,000 to help 90 pregnancy resource centers and maternity homes across the country through the Order’s ASAP (Aid and Support After Pregnancy) program since 2022.

“The Knights of Columbus stand firm with you in our resolve to respect life at all stages,” Peters said. “Please know that the Knights are here with you shoulder to shoulder, and together we’re going to build a culture of life in Canada and around the world.”

Knights in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia also made their presence known at the pro-life demonstrations that took place the same day in each province’s capital, with Alberta State Deputy John Onyskiw and Saskatchewan State Deputy Larry Packet both delivering remarks at their respective marches.

In British Columbia, Alex Schadenberg, co-founder and executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, spoke to the Victoria March for Life rally gathered in the square in front of the Legislative Assembly. Schadenberg is life director for the Ontario State Council and a member of Reverend John McMaster Council 6495 in West Lorne.

Father Larry Lynn, pro-life chaplain for the Archdiocese of Vancouver and a member of Corpus Christi Council 8535 in Vancouver, also addressed the Victoria rally with a message about the value of life, the redemptive value of suffering and the necessity of prayer.

“People don’t understand … that suffering is part of the human existence. … We are made to help relieve each other’s sufferings,” Father Lynn said. “In encountering suffering, we discover truth and goodness and beauty; we discover God. … We have these amazing tools. They are hope and reason and love and prayer, and so let us never forget to pray.”


CECILIA ENGBERT is a content producer for the Knights of Columbus communications department.

You must configure this module first via "Module Settings"