Graphic anti-abortion flyers depicting Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and what’s purported to be a bloody aborted fetus landed on hundreds of Mississauga doorsteps Tuesday.
Created by the Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), the flyers are being distributed in 20 ridings across the country, where the group believes it can turn the tide in the next federal election.
Volunteers for the organization said residents’ reactions were most often negative and sometimes even hostile.
“When they see a picture of what an abortion really is, it creates anger,” said Mary Ellen Douglas, national co-ordinator for the group. “It comes as a shock to most people. I think that they’ve totally forgotten what an abortion is — this is not the removal of an appendix.”
Douglas regretted, however, that the flyers weren’t put in envelopes to shield them from children’s eyes.
“People don’t want to see it. Say the word ‘abortion’ fast (and) you don’t know what it means. But if you see it, and you understand it, you have to do something about it,” she said.
Mississauga resident Katie Halsall, who received one of the flyers, called the image “tasteless and unnecessary” but objected more to the message behind it.
“It’s abusing the rights of women,” she wrote in an email to the Star. “I am worried about young people, young girls especially, living in a community where their personal choices, health care options, and human rights are threatened, and where their reproductive rights and options are ultimately taken away from them.”
The CLC targeted Trudeau because of the leader’s decision to enforce a pro-choice policy on all candidates in his caucus.
Douglas says the position puts the Liberals in line with the long-standing pro-choice NDP, leaving anti-abortion activists with fewer choices at the ballot box.
“The goal is to let people know that Trudeau is not allowing freedom of speech on an issue where so many lives are lost,” she said.
When asked about the flyers on Wednesday, Trudeau did not back away from his position.
“I am perfectly comfortable with Canadians knowing that the Liberal Party is unequivocal in its defence of women’s rights. We are the party of the Charter. We are the party that stands up for people’s rights. We will continue to do so,” Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa.
The flyer drive was timed to coincide with a rally on Parliament Hill Thursday, part of an annual three-day event organized by the CLC which includes a candlelight vigil and a youth conference. Last year’s rally drew 25,000 people, Douglas said.
The group has distributed similar flyers in Fredericton, N.B., targeting provincial Liberal Party Leader Brian Gallant, Vancouver and Ottawa.
- With files from Tonda MacCharles