Justin Trudeau's declaration anti-abortion candidates were not welcome to run for the Liberal party in 2015 wasn't on the official agenda at a pro-life rally in Winnipeg on Saturday, but many in the crowd made it clear they disagreed with the federal Liberal leader's stand.
"Obviously, people are talking about it," said Paul Dupre, the leader of the Knights of Columbus, one of the groups that sponsored the morning rally.
"It's going to hurt his chances at getting votes. People were surprised he did make that announcement. They weren't expecting that from him," Dupre said of Trudeau's announcement Wednesday.
The rally began at 9:30 a.m. with prayers at the Manitoba Legislative Building, followed by a march down Memorial Boulevard to Portage Avenue, along Kennedy Street to Broadway and back to the legislature.
Organizers put the number of marchers at 750, fewer than last year.
It was the fourth annual march in Winnipeg. Similar events were held elsewhere in Canada during the week.
The Winnipeg rally was organized by a coalition of Christian groups including the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic Women's League, the Ukrainian Catholic Women's League and the Campaign Life Coalition.
Pentecostal minister Scott Miller told the crowd at the legislature an abortion his girlfriend had 35 years ago shaped his entire adult life.
He told the crowd, "I'm the father of an aborted child, and there's guilt shame and loss because of that abortion."
Miller said he was in Ottawa for a pro-life rally on Parliament Hill on Thursday when he heard about Trudeau's announcement.
What stood out for the pro-life minister was Trudeau's statement came hours after the Liberal leader attended a pro-life breakfast rally.
Trudeau even read a scripture from the Bible at the breakfast, Miller said.
"I don't hate Justin Trudeau. I pray for him," the minister said.
A Brandon University student leader compared abortion to euthanasia and called a private member's bill sponsored by Winnipeg Conservative MP Steven Fletcher a "mistake."
"Right now euthanasia is defined as homicide in Canada's Criminal Code," said Andrew Madill.
"But Bill 52 will define assisted suicide as health care."
Fletcher's bill would allow for assisted suicide in carefully controlled cases.