By Elizabeth O’Brien
OTTAWA, ON – The group of seven Crossroads walkers, who crossed Canada on foot to raise pro-life awareness, finally wrapped up their 5,000-kilometer trek at Parliament hill this Saturday amidst the applause and cheers of a welcoming crowd.
The seven walkers arrived in Ottawa on Friday in time to join a group of faithful pro-life witnesses who pray every noon before the Bank Street Morgentaler abortion site. They swelled the regular ranks to a total of 21 people, praying together as they circled the clinic.
The contingent of Ottawa protestors noted that it was the first time there had ever been a counter protest at the site. Someone had heard about the walkers’ arrival, Wanda Hartlin of Campaign Life Coalition told LifeSiteNews.com, and as a result, a few counter-protesters arrived carrying signs, including one that said, “Pro-family, pro-child, pro-choice.”
The next morning, the Canada Crossroads group walked onto Parliament hill at 11:30 a.m. About 50 people had gathered to greet them, some of whom had traveled from as far as Toronto to welcome the weary travelers. The crowd gave them a warm reception, clapping and breaking into cheers as Hartlin introduced them one by one. Pro-life MP Pierre Lemieux (Glengarry-Prescott-Russell) greeted the group and gave them each a certificate and one enormous flag of Canada that they all signed. Afterwards, Lemieux took them on a private tour of Parliament.
The seven walkers to arrive included: Cyril Doll (Calgary, AB), Jeremy Fraser (High River, AB), Greg Roth (Saskatoon, SK), Etienne O’Toole (Vancouver, BC), Ben Broussard (Sulpher, LA), Sarah Gallaher (Manassas, VA) and Wendy Macagno (Mojave, CA)
The event was coordinated with three other America Crossroads groups that walked into Washington D.C. on the same day at the same time. While this was the 13th time the walk has been completed in the States, the Canadian group was the first to successfully cross Canada.
Over the course of the weekend, the seven took turns speaking at different churches on Saturday evening, Sunday morning and Sunday evening. They also spoke before a group of interested young people at an Ottawa LifeTeen meeting. Noted pro-life musician David McDonald, who sings every year at the Ottawa March for Life, also gave his personal testimony at the same event.
After completing their mammoth journey, the walkers started packing and prepared to unite with their families again. They will have time to return home and take a “short breather,” said Hartlin, before the majority of them head off to university in the fall.
Describing the unfailing spirit of the pro-life walkers, Hartlin told LifeSiteNews.com, “They have a great conviction in the life of the unborn child.”
“They have grown up in a generation where abortion is available. They are survivors, and their message is that everyone has that right to live.”
BC walker Etienne O’Toole, who has been documenting the steps of the journey, wrote his final blog on Saturday, stating, “We have met so many people along the way, raising our voices for those who have none, and have given great witness to the pro-life message. But this is just the beginning for me, as this walk motivates me to do ever more to try to change hearts and minds and put an end to abortion.”
He stated, “It is my hope that Crossroads also inspires others to do more, whether politically, socially, or prayerfully, to put an end to abortion.”
The secular mainstream media was not present to cover the Crossroads Ottawa reception. The Montreal Gazette reports, however, the conclusion of a separate, pro-abortion tour. The four members of the “Know Your Rights” team have spent the past two months traveling across the country “on a mission to provide sexual health information to young people”. Started by the Canadian Youth for Choice and supported by the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health, the group wants to initiate more sex education and to facilitate easier access to abortion across Canada.
Throughout July and August the group set up their booth in locations across Canada, answering questions about sexuality and contraception. In addition, they gave out approximately 6,000 condoms and gathered petitions for a new Charter for Sexual Reproductive Rights for Youth. They finished up the tour at the Vans Warped Tour music festival in Montreal on Sunday. Canada.com ran a lengthy report on the efforts of “Know Your Rights,” but ignored the Crossroads walk.
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