Henry Morgentaler has been selected as one of 25 "Transformational Canadians" by the Globe and Mail. I think it's very hard to argue that Dr. Morgentaler is a transformational figure in Canadian history, regardless of which side of the debate you fall on.
He certainly had a transformational effect on me, and I've never met the man, or had an abortion. I know I've told this story before, but it bears repeating. My father, while certainly progressive (at least, much more now that when I was younger), is also not what you would categorize as outwardly passionate. He argues, sure, but I don't remember seeing him get involved in a lot of heated discussions about his core values and beliefs. When Dr. Morgentaler was being given an honorary degree at UWO - before I identified as a feminist or had ever given abortion much thought - my dad said, very emphatically, that it was about damn time. He said Dr. Morgentaler had done more for women's rights in this country than any single other person, and that the man deserved an Order of Canada (which he later received!). Dad was so adamant, so passionate, that I immediately committed myself to finding out more about this Morgentaler fellow and what he was all about.
Thus began my path to activism. Not that I wouldn't have got here anyway, but it was certainly a helpful nudge. Dr. Morgentaler is a very human hero, but I think it makes him all the more endearing because he fought hard despite his flaws, and showed unwavering faith in the cause. He also overcame some enormous obstacles; most people would argue that being a Holocaust survivor makes someone hero enough.
Dr. Henry Morgentaler really did transform this country and I hope that we can stay true to his legacy.