Anti-abortion messages like "Keep schools in business — don’t abort" and "Are you pro-life? Your mom was" could be seen scrawled on sidewalks across Brandon yesterday.
The colourful messages were written in chalk outside École secondaire Neelin High School, Vincent Massey High School and other public walking paths.
Alain Corriveau said the pro-life event was organized by Brandon Youth for Life, which includes members of St. Augustine of Canterbury Roman Catholic Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"The chalking event was one of the many events we ran this week for the National Week for Life and the Family," Corriveau said via email. "We want to make people aware of what is going on and remind them that each and every human being is valuable and appreciated."
While there was no school for students on Friday, Grade 11 Neelin High School student Emma Currey was walking by and took a look at the messages.
"I really like them because I’m against abortion too," she said. "Just be grateful that you’re alive and you need to consider those other people who haven’t had the chance to live."
Currey is a member of Mormon Church, however, she wasn’t a part of the campaign. She said she particularly liked the "Smile, your mom chose life" message.
"We believe that we’re all children of our Heavenly Father, and that we all come to Earth to be tested to be able to live with our Heavenly Father again," Currey said. "So I think they want people to realize how important a life is. It’s that person’s chance to be able to return to our Heavenly Father."
The messages came as a shock to some, including Brianne Desjardins, who was walking her dogs along the 34th Street path.
"I believe it is a woman’s choice," she said.
Desjardins took issue with one particular message on the path: "Abortion promotes male irresponsibility."
"I certainly don’t believe that, it’s not necessarily the man who chooses the abortion," she said. "I think that’s quite disturbing actually."
Another passerby, Leslie Davis, was pleased to see the messages out for all to see.
"Somebody’s got to fight for these unborn children," Davis said. "There’s just too many babies dying this way, and they should be allowed a chance in life. You never know they might be our next prime minister."
The controversial topic of abortion has once again been in the national headlines over the past few weeks.
Earlier this month, federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said he has "made it clear that future candidates need to be completely understanding that they will be expected to vote pro-choice on any bills."
Corriveau said in light of recent events, the "local pro-life youth are moved to stand up for our society’s most vulnerable victims in the womb and we welcome the participation of any other local pro-life youth in the City of Brandon."
Both Trudeau and Prime Minister Stephen Harper were put on the hot seat on different aspects of the issue Thursday.
Harper was asked during an event in New Maryland, N.B., whether Health Canada would intervene to force the New Brunswick government to remove obstacles and delays to publicly funded abortions.
With the province refusing to fund the private Morgentaler clinic, women must get two doctors to declare an abortion medically necessary before qualifying for the procedure at one of two hospitals. Three Liberal MPs argue this contravenes the Canada Health Act’s provision for access to services.
Harper sidestepped the question.
"I think you know full well that our government’s going to do everything we can to keep from reopening that particular debate," Harper said. "The administration of health-care systems is in the hands of the provinces."
Trudeau, meanwhile, continues to face questions about his position that future Liberal candidates must pledge to vote in favour of a woman's right to choose in any matter that comes up in Parliament.
Toronto’s Roman Catholic archbishop, Thomas Cardinal Collins, wrote to Trudeau earlier this week, urging him to reconsider his position and allow candidates to be faithful to their conscience.
Trudeau said he welcomes the input from the prelate, but his party is committed to the values laid out in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Harper took the opportunity during his visit to New Brunswick to take a swipe at the Liberal party’s new policy.
"Ours is a big party where we understand the Canadian people have different, often conflicting views on issues like this, deeply held views, and all such views are welcome in the Conservative Party of Canada," Harper said.
» firstname.lastname@example.org, with files from The Canadian Press
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