Another article about the wish list contest....this time from BC Catholic
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver
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July 9, 2007
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On a Wish List and a prayer
By Paul Schratz
The damage done to Canada's demographic landscape, and its population, from abortion has been largely the work of one person, Dr. Henry Morgentaler.
How fitting that the efforts of another individual, Dave Gilbert of Ottawa, has put the abortion epidemic back on Canada's discussion table.
It took Morgentaler years of criminal charges and acquittals from juries, courts of appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as picking up support from sympathetic media, feminists, humanists, and other progressives, to lead the way for abortion becoming an uncontrolled event in Canada.
It took Gilbert a few weeks and Facebook to resurrect the topic; such is the power of the world wide web.
When the CBC launched its Great Canadian Wish List contest in May, it no doubt expected to generate some buzz and score a ratings coup along the lines of its other contests: The Greatest Canadian and the Seven Wonders of Canada.
Little did it expect to become the tool by which a single pro-lifer would return abortion to the public agenda.
Using the Internet networking site Facebook, through which the CBC was charting Canadians' top wishes and how much support those wishes were receiving, Gilbert posted his No. 1 wish: an end to abortion in Canada.
The Wilfrid Laurier University student, a Catholic, was able to strike a nerve - in fact, the nerves of 9,543 people - as his wish spread across the land and introduced Facebook to many people for whom the Internet had been merely an e-mail machine.
It also awakened a sleeping giant, the contented and comfortable pro-abortion movement, which quickly became as defensive as a selfish 5-year-old. It posted a blog entry critical of the whole campaign, proposed a pathetic alternative wish to keep abortion legal, and began rallying its troops from coast to coast, and probably beyond.
With histrionics more appropriate to fending off a home invader, abortion supporters began accusing the pro-lifers of misusing Facebook by promoting hatred, of not posting their photographs, of creating duplicate accounts, of having no other Facebook connections, of rallying Americans to the cause: all accusations that could equally be made of the abortion supporters. (In fact, a quick look at the abortion supporters' profiles reveals more than a few photographs of cats or blank images.)
In the interest of disclosure, I'll admit I'm guilty. I registered on Facebook solely because of the Wish List. I admit, I didn't put my picture, and not just because I don't have a cat. And it's to my dying shame that I'm a member of no other Facebook social networks.
To suggest, however, that this represents a "hijacking" of the process, an allegation that's being tossed about like confetti on various discussion boards, is like accusing viewers of Shrek 3 of hijacking the motion picture box office process.
In the end, more than 9,000 people used the Facebook/Wish List process for exactly its intended purpose, which was to build a network that would identify what's on Canadians' minds.
Now perhaps tuition-free schooling (the No. 5 Wish) is on Canadians' minds, or drastic action to protect the environment (No. 6), but obviously not to the degree that stopping abortion was, since together they don't even come close to No. 1.
If millions of tech-savvy students and environmentalists across the country were unable to, or chose not to, rally others to their cause, it suggests that perhaps we've been given a skewed impression of what's really important to people.
What Gilbert has managed to do is get the public's discomfort with abortion into the limelight, something that was preceded in May by a front-page article in the National Post questioning why abortion, an issue that so many people are passionate about, is never publicly discussed.
The embarrassment of the CBC was evident. It grudgingly accepted the baby it had conceived, clearly appalled that the No. 1 Wish didn't deal with something like global warming or health care. It downscaled its promised major weekend coverage to practically nothing, and unless you searched for it on YouTube, you probably missed it altogether.
No matter. Abortion is a topic for discussion again, regardless of the objections of those who are so wedded to the abortion cause that they will throw every accusation and insult at those who use legitimate means to oppose it.
So, a belated Happy Birthday to Canada, and may Dave Gilbert's fine effort help lead one day to the birthdays of hundreds of thousands of Canadian babies who would otherwise have been sacrifices to "choice."
And may all of us be reminded of just how much harm, or how much good, a single person can do.