Prime Time Crime


(Published in the Similkameen Spotlight week of Aug.  1, 2005)

Hell Comes to Hogtown

  By John Martin

Last night’s elation and celebration for long suffering Maple Leaf fans was tragically short lived.  Moments after clinching their first Stanley Cup since 1967, a series of explosions rocked Toronto as street festivities turned to terror and people ran in panic.

Bombs were detonated at several locations immediately surrounding the Air Canada Center and at least 52 people are confirmed dead.  Authorities report as many as 700 injuries; many of them life threatening. 

Bloodied and traumatized residents trampled one another as paramedics struggled to reach the wounded.  People screamed out for loved ones as ambulance sirens filled the night.

Within minutes of the explosions, the Canadian based anti-abortion group, “All Kids Live, eh” contacted media outlets to take credit for the attacks.  “All Kids Live, eh” has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks on hospitals and clinics providing therapeutic abortion services for a decade.  In a short statement the group warned that until the killing of babies stops, the attacks will continue and intensify. 

Campaign Life Coalition, the political wing of the Canadian pro-life movement was among the first to respond to the bombings with a statement that read, “"CAMPAIGN LIFE COALITION CONDEMNS TORONTO BOMBINGS AND HOPES CANADIAN PRO-LIFERS DO NOT PAY THE GUILTY-BY-ASSOCIATION PRICE."

Toronto Mayor, David Miller, told reporters that responsibility lay with the 1988 Supreme Court’s ruling that struck down Canada’s abortion law.  He also blamed “those feminists who use indiscriminate slaughter of unborn babies to advance their anti-family policies.”  He further blamed George W. Bush for doing nothing to overturn Roe v. Wade. 

In Ottawa, Prime Minister Paul Martin cut short a Tamil Tiger fund-raiser to urge Canadians to remain calm and stressed that it’s probably too early to point fingers.  He also noted that he will be holding meetings with Canada’s pro-life leaders in an effort to assure them they have no need to worry about a backlash and will always have a voice in his government.  In a somewhat surreal statement, Mr. Martin praised the country’s pro-life community and explained that, “those who advocate violence against innocent civilians and the taking of life represent a perversion of the pro-life movement.” The PM added that while bombs in the streets of Toronto may be scary – Stephen Harper is scarier.  

Former PM Jean Chrétien, who attended last night’s Stanley Cup game, commented as he was being whisked away by RCMP security that “Da fetus is da fetus and when you have da fetus, dat’s good.  Cause den it’s defeated.”  A team of audio forensic specialists, linguistic experts and psychologists are still trying to decipher his statement.

Writing in the Toronto Star, Haroon Siddiqui stressed that “We need to talk less, listen more, to pro-lifers.”  The editor emeritus cautioned against a backlash and warned that, “Hounding law-abiding pro-lifers contravenes our basic democratic principles, besides being wholly counterproductive.”  He further noted that the Bush administration’s policies regarding abortion have been a “colossal failure”.

There are reports from numerous universities across the country that the bombings are being cheered as vindication and retribution for an abortion policy “soaked in blood.”  Referring to the bombings, one unidentified professor at McGill told his students “we need a million more Air Canada Centers.” 

It hasn’t been all high-fives on Canadian campuses though.  There are unconfirmed reports that a professor at the University of Victoria was fired this morning for telling his class that, “Most pro-lifers are not abortion clinic bombers – but most abortion clinic bombers are pro-lifers.” 

Meanwhile, there is some controversy around reports that an internal memo reveals the CBC has advised its reporters and writers to avoid using the word “pro-lifers” in covering last night’s bombings.

According to the memo, rather than calling assailants pro-lifers, "we can refer to them as citizens, lobbyists, activists, reformers, moral entrepreneurs or some other appropriate noun.”  It is important, the memo explains, to remain neutral in the abortion debate.

A memorial service for last night’s victims will be held in conjunction with an anti-Bush rally tomorrow afternoon on the legislature grounds.

John Martin is a Criminologist at the University College of the Fraser Valley and can be contacted at

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