This morning I went to the post office to mail some personal and work letters. The envelopes for work have our campaign name, “We Need a Law”, in the return address and so it’s no surprise to me when people ask what kind of law I’m looking for. Today the mail clerk asked, “We need a law? Is that about the wind turbines?” I smiled as I gathered my thoughts, this usually goes one of two ways: the person clams up and doesn’t say anything else, making the transaction awkward, or, a simple “Oh, I see” and then they quickly try to turn the conversation around. So imagine my surprise when the lady says “So that means you’re, wait, you’re pro…no, wait you’re against it, right?” Here she was, opening the door for a discussion, something I’m not used to.
Knowing that words are so powerful, I smiled and said “I’m pro-life”. I waited for a response that would give me some indication that she was pro-life, or not. None came. So I explained the work that I do, how I believe that Canada should provide legal protection for children before birth, explaining that we’re only one of three countries in the world without any abortion legislation, whatsoever. When I told her that the other two countries were China and North Korea, I saw her eyes widen momentarily, and then with another blink her face was expressionless once again.
I then explained how a couple years ago, an MP put forward a motion to condemn sex-selective abortion. I told her that a motion wasn’t even law, what MP Mark Warawa was asking his colleagues in Parliament to do, was simply to rise together and say “We condemn this practice [of sex selective abortions]”. The trouble, I continued, was that those in office didn’t even have the guts to do that, saying that it would open the door to the abortion debate. It’s a sad state when we live in a democratic country that refuses to even publicly condemn a behaviour as barbaric and destructive as killing a pre-born child simply because of its gender. And we say we’re all about women’s rights? Hardly.
I told her the truth that in some parts of this country, especially where we have higher rates of east and south Asian cultures that traditionally do not value women as highly, we are seeing cases of sex-selective abortions.
The mail clerk then shared with me an example of a situation in Manitoba where a church denied a group access to their building, because they felt that the group’s actions were in contradiction with that church and they did not feel like they could endorse that behaviour by renting their space. She said that the pastor summed up the situation so well when he said “We’re all about tolerating everyone else, but when will we get to say ‘enough is enough’?” She appeared to be in favour of the church’s right to decline rental privileges based on their worldview. She explained that she was frustrated by this mentality that we simply have to accept everything at face value and we are not allowed to speak up against anyone, in case we might offend someone. “In an effort to allow everyone else to do whatever they want, we’re losing our own identity.”
She told me that while she “doesn’t agree with me [on abortion]”, she did agree that it was unbelievable that we can’t even condemn barbaric practices, such as sex-selective abortion.
Today was a small victory. Sure, I didn’t win her over, or convince her of the need for a law in Canada. But we had a civilized discussion on a sensitive subject, and maybe, she’ll even look up WeNeedaLAW.ca.