BRANTFORD — About 500 people with signs, poster, costumes and banners rallied outside of MPP Will Bouma’s office on Friday, to deliver a message — that his constituents do not approve of his participation in an anti-abortion rally in Toronto.
On May 9, Bouma attended the March for Life rally in Toronto. During the event he read passages from the Bible and cheerfully proclaimed his excitement in bringing his support as an MPP to the event telling those gathered that it is “OK to stand for life.”
That rally was organized by a coalition of organizations — including ARPA Canada. According to their website ARPA is an anti-LGBTQ political advocacy organization that believes they have an “obligation to show the world what a blessing sexuality can be when it is used in conformity with God’s intentions – lovingly between one man and one woman who are committed to each other for life in marriage.”
Public outrage at Bouma’s involvement in the Toronto March for Life spread across social media in the days following the event — the prompted two women from Brantford, Reagan Amini and Amanda Booth, to organize the ‘We Will Not Be Silenced’ rally to bring together Brant-Brantford constituents who did not approve of Bouma using his position as their MPP to support pro-life rallies and his participation on the events platform.
Abortion has been legal in Canada since 1969. According to Statistics Canada, 97,254 abortions were reported in 2005. Canada’s population of reproductive age females in 2005 between the ages of 15-49 was 8,136,854. That makes 1.2% of Canada’s population of persons with a uterus choosing to have an abortion.
Bouma attended the ‘We Will Not Be Silenced’ demonstration for only 10 minutes, standing just outside his office building door accompanied by staff, to listen to a letter by Krissy Featherstone.
“Brantford and Brant County are impacted by the following issues which we are concerned about: severe and undeniable lack of affordable, even reasonable, housing, an issue City Council is aware of but doesn’t seem to do much about. The demand at the Food Bank. Cuts to Library funding. Impacts to childcare and education funding. Increases in opiod use and overdoses. A lack of urgency in dealing with the environmental crisis. The number of missing and murdered Indigenous women. Where is the additional resources or funding for these issues?”
“Please, let us know what makes the March for Life more worthwhile than a library, childcare, or even simply spending time within Brantford, trying to figure out how to help your constituents,” said Featherstone — to the cheers of those in attendance.
Bouma did not speak to the people gathered or take questions.
Brantford-Brant NDP issued a statement following Bouma’s participation in the Toronto March for Life.
“The Brantford-Brant NDP denounces these extreme statements in the strongest terms and we call on all local leaders to denounce these archaic views as well,” said Myles Hosie, president of the Brantford-Brant NDP.
“Not only is abortion a long-settled legal issue in Canada but, when polled, it is a right that three quarters of Canadians support. The views of Mr. Bouma and Mr. Oosterhoff do not reflect the opinions of the majority of Canadians and the majority of the people of Brantford-Brant.”
Counter prosters and anti-abortion advocates were also in attendance outside Bouma’s office on Friday to lend support to the MPP — carrying signs that said they stood by his actions.
Organizers for the event say they have a follow up meeting with Bouma on June 7 to address his participation in the March for Life rally along with other local issues.