May 29, 2013
Decades ago, I was appointed a director of The Committee For Neutral Schools by Dr. Henry Morgentaler, a Montrealer who had survived the Holocaust.
Our purpose was to see bilingual, non-sectarian schools flourishing across Canada. All students would learn English and French together in "Neutral Schools".
I was interviewed on radio and TV at the time, trying to get everyone to see the logic.
Courses could be divided, using English for some subjects and French for others. Students would be working side by side. Playing side by side. They could develop lasting friendships and pass on to their children a Canada living in peace and harmony.
But we could not stop the French extremists in Quebec and the English extremists in the rest of Canada from blocking our plans.
So decades later, we see the battles in Quebec continuing, wasting time and resources and turning people against each other. It seems we have learned nothing, but Henry tried his best to teach us.
Henry Morgentaler was a survivor of the greed and hatred that killed millions of innocent men, women and children in Europe. He was a visionary, a man who understood what division and bigotry can do.
And he respected women, our basic human right to control the use of our own bodies. He risked his own reputation, his freedom, even his life, to save women from back street deadly abortions, to provide clean, safe abortions for those who came to him. There were those who would have killed him, given the chance.
Henry did not go out seeking customers. He did not put up signs or take out TV ads. He helped those who came to him in need of his help. And he had an outstanding record of safety. I find it ironic that people who claim that they value human life, would gladly murder to achieve their aims.
I am grateful that I had the privilege of working with Henry Morgentaler under a banner of fairness, peace and justice. We can only hope that the world catches up with his wisdom before too much longer.