Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Toronto Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong walks out on Morgentaler tribute

TORONTO - Council had a moment of silence for Dr. Henry Morgentaler Tuesday.

But not all councillors were willing to mark the death of the abortion doctor who died last month at the age of 90. Denzil Minnan-Wong voiced his opposition to the recognition and stormed out of the council chamber before the moment of silence.

He argued Morgentaler is “not someone who should be recognized or celebrated.”

“He’s a person who contributes to the death of thousands of unborn babies,” Minnan-Wong said. “I’ve held that position you know for a long, long time and it was a matter of principle for me.”

Councillor Paula Fletcher called Minnan-Wong’s protest “one of the rudest moments in council’s history.”

“Stomping out and saying I can’t be here for a condolence motion is unheard of and it is just plain, downright rude,” she said.

The condolence motion for Morgentaler was put forward by Fletcher and Pam McConnell.

“Dr. Henry Morgentaler was a pioneer of reproductive freedom in Canada, and his courage and determination helped ensure every Canadian woman has the right to choose,” the motion stated.

“Beginning with his own practice and expanding across the country, Dr. Morgentaler challenged unjust laws that jeopardized women’s health and well-being, often at great personal risk.”

The motion asks the city clerk to convey city council’s “sincere sympathy” to Morgentaler’s family.

Fletcher said she brought the motion forward because Morgentaler is “a historic figure in the history of our country.”

“Like him or not he had a very important moment in Canadian history in legalizing abortion for women and in the cultural movement,” she said. “Councillor Minnan-Wong might not like it but the right to terminate a pregnancy is actually legal in our country.”

Minnan-Wong dismissed Fletcher’s criticism.

“Councillor Fletcher is a great supporter of free speech until someone says something she doesn’t agree with,” he said.

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