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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: An imposing view from Ottawa

Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor

The Canadian government will spend nearly a quarter of a billion dollars with the 2018 Canada Summer Jobs Program and is now accepting applications for funding. Organizations from every ethnic and religious background were previously given equal consideration under this program, but that’s all about to change.

I’m still having difficulty believing it, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has apparently attached new conditions to the program which completely nullify our “freedom of conscience and religious rights” enshrined in the Constitution. The funding guidelines now require applicants to sign a declaration that their organization’s mandate includes support for abortion, same-sex marriage, transgender identity, or any other liberal belief now declared a right.

This immediately excludes millions of Canadians belonging to thousands of organizations, with diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, unless they renounce beliefs such as (1) unborn children have the right not to be aborted unnecessarily; (2) marriage should only be between a man and a woman, or (3) science says there are only two human genders: male and female.

For starters, it disqualifies all Catholic organizations in Canada (12.73 million Canadians indicated they were Catholic in the 2011 Census) since no official Catholic Church organization could, in good conscience, “.... sign an attestation stating that their organizational mandate...” supports abortion, same-sex marriage, or the belief that there are more than two human genders.

The federal Liberal government has, in other words, just implemented targeted measures, which discriminate against millions of Canadians on the basis of their conscience and/or religious beliefs. This coercive anti-democratic attempt to impose compliance with the ideological beliefs of the federal Liberal Party surely cannot be allowed to stand.

Catholic organizations obviously acknowledge and accept that abortion and samesex marriage are presently not illegal in Canada, nor would they mislead anyone on that point . . . but Justin Trudeau is demanding far more than reluctant compliance with the law; he’s demanding conversion to his liberal worldview with a signed “attestation” which effectively renounces core beliefs. That’s dark.

Let’s be clear: there is no legal right to abortion enshrined in either the Charter or any Supreme Court of Canada ruling; notwithstanding what the Prime Minister periodically claims. And that’s not my opinion . . . it’s a fact confirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada. Nonetheless, Justin Trudeau had no trouble making support for abortion the law within the Liberal Party, declaring that no Canadian could be a Liberal MP unless they supported abortion-on-demand.

Now he’s using that same model of forced compliance in an attempt to impose his liberal ideology on all Canadians with a full-on frontal attack on the fundamental freedom rights of all Canadians, which ARE — unlike abortion — enshrined in the Constitution.

If you haven’t read the fundamental freedoms section of the Charter lately it states: “Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: (a) freedom of conscience and religion; (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.”

Canadians shouldn’t be punished for believing something other than what Justin Trudeau believes. Nor should we be intimidated into silence and kept from speaking out on the possible need to change laws, or enact new ones, such as a law to protect the unborn; if we sincerely believe such a law is needed, or that an existing law is immoral.

Our four Island MPs really need to speak up for Islanders on this issue, but will they have the courage? One thing is for sure; this sinister and antidemocratic abuse of federal power represents a very dark day for conscience rights in Canada.

- Kevin J. Arsenault is the sacristan for St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Ft. Augustus. He obtained his PhD in ethics from McGill University

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