A small contingent of MPs is willing to see and be seen at an anti-abortion rally
Over the course of the hour-long lunchtime rally, several of O'Brien's former caucus colleagues dropped by to show their solidarity and address the crowd. Among them were Paul Szabo and Paul Steckle, the latter of whom co-chairs the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus with Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott - himself in attendance as well. Indeed, there was considerably better representation from the Conservative caucus: Jeff Watson, Mark Warawa, Myron Thompson, James Lunney, David Anderson, Dean Del Mastro, Rod Bruinooge and Pierre Lemieux all joined Vellacott. Liberal Tom Wappell and Conservative Andrew Scheer sent their regrets - one was stuck in committee, the other serving as deputy speaker. As for the Bloc Quebecois and the NDP, they unsurprisingly gave it a miss altogether.
In his speech, Vellacott claimed the annual gathering is consistently among the largest crowds to hit the Hill but is still ignored by the press - a sentiment echoed by O'Brien. "Whatever the media might say," he assured the crowd, "there's never a rally to match this one."
Media reports and police estimates put the number at somewhere between two and three thousand, including several large contingents of students from local Catholic high schools
While other Pro-Life Conservatives gather to praise war making.
Detainee issue overshadowing military heroics: PM
About 1,000 people, including soldiers and families of the military sporting red, joined the weekly Red Friday Rally in a symbolic show of support for the military. Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor and Gen. Rick Hillier also attended the rally.
But neither of these small rallies amount to 'mass demonstrations' as occurred on the hill and across Canada when the U.S. invaded Iraq.
They are simply special interest lobbying by the Conservatives to their base. And a small base it is. One that has to be trucked in. Talk about a rent a crowd.
Unfortunately for our military they are forced to attend. Come to think of it the same could be said for the Catholic school kids.
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