BY SCOTT HAYWARD
Wow. What a year it has been. I started 2016 in a precarious position in my old job and now I end it knowing that every hour invested in the political pro-life movement will pay off!
Our year at RightNow
Believe or not, RightNow is still a baby; we are not even a year old yet! We started at the end of January 2016 and did not launch our social media campaign until the end of February 2016. But since then we have seen an incredible amount of growth. We now have politically activated over 6,500 people from all across Canada. In the past year we have reach over 2-million people on social media, traveled over 23,500km across Canada to meet and activate pro-lifers (that’s over half the distance of the diameter of the Earth, by the way…), and invested over 200 hours into four political pro-life campaigns.
Not bad for not even being a year old!
That is not say that we don’t face challenges at RightNow. While our website launched in the autumn, it was only in December that we were able to accept online donations. We are really pushing for stable, monthly donations to finance our work. So if you are looking for a cause to support and a place where you know your money will be used wisely, please look to us!
But enough about our awesome group of donors, volunteers, and supporters. Let’s take a look at how 2016 shaped up politically for the pro-life movement.
One of the sad things about the failures of the past few decades in the political pro-life movement is that not only have we remained stagnant with no pro-life legislation, federally or provincially, but we are moving backwards!
In 2016, the Athena Health Centre moved for an injunction in court to have a 100-metre bubble zone around their abortion clinic where pro-life protestors and counselors could not stand. The pro-lifers and the clinic operators reached an agreement in June to make the bubble zone at 40-metres, but the newly-elected Minister of Justice has promised to introduce legislation.
And in May, the Liberal government in Prince Edward Island announced that it plans on introducing abortion procedures to the Island for the first time in over 30 years.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Since RightNow has come onto the scene, we have been instrumental in making some positive changes. The first victory for the political pro-life movement came in October when Sam Oosterhoff won the PC Ontario nomination in Niagara-West Glanbrook against the PC Ontario party president, Rick Dykstra.
And on the leadership front, we see two important leadership battles happening: the leadership race for the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta and the leadership race for the Conservative Party of Canada.
Over in Wild Rose Country, there are four candidates running for the leadership of the Alberta PCs. Of the four candidates, one has a strong pro-life record as a politician and that is Jason Kenney. The Alberta PCs elect their leader using a delegated convention system, meaning that each of the 87 ridings elect ten delegates to go to the leadership convention in March 2017 to vote for the leader. Each riding association also gets to send an additional five delegates who are members of the riding association’s board of directors. Thus far, Jason seems to be leading in the delegate selection field with over double than all of his opponent. Combined.
On the federal scene, there are 14 candidates running for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada and four of those candidates have a perfect pro-life voting record in the House of Commons on both abortion and euthanasia (Pierre Lemieux, Erin O’Toole, Andrew Scheer, and Brad Trost).
Staying with the Conservative Party of Canada, the party passed a motion to strengthen its opposition to sex-selective abortion at its recent policy convention in Vancouver in May, adopted a Constitutional clause that recognizes the dignity of human life, and passed a policy resolution that calls for the protection of conscience rights for health care workers in federal law.
So what do we see?
We are seeing some major victories on the ground in terms of nominations, leadership races, and by-elections. However, the losses continue to mount in areas of the country that have been long-since abandoned by the political pro-life movement. Our movement goes anywhere and everywhere across this great country. We look forward to going to Atlantic Canada and Quebec in the new year to create pro-life campaign teams to build victories in their communities.
From all of us at RightNow, have a Happy New Year!