Patrick Craine

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Pro-lifers accurately predicted devastating results of Trudeau’s Charter of Rights

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine
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OTTAWA, Ontario, April 25, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - As many Canadians celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms last week, cultural conservatives across the country remembered it instead as the document that paved the way for unregulated abortion, same-sex “marriage” and, most recently in Ontario, legalized brothels.

Though the Charter contains no explicit right to abortion and no mention of “sexual orientation”, pro-lifers accurately predicted its devastating effects leading up to its passage on April 17, 1982 and campaigned hard against it despite opposition within their own ranks.

In a 2006 obituary for former Catholic Register editor Larry Henderson, the Globe and Mail reported that he had caused a “furor” by accepting paid ads in 1981 from Campaign Life that warned the Charter would result in abortion-on-demand and homosexual “marriage” and adoptions.

Last week, Campaign Life Coalition re-released a brief that they had put out in 1981 arguing that the unborn were excluded from the Charter’s protections. “With over 65,000 abortions each year in our hospitals the Charter cannot be considered as neutral on abortion,” it reads.

Gwen Landolt, the national vice president of REAL Women Canada, who served as Campaign Life’s legal counsel at the time, wrote another brief for them at the time warning that the Charter would lead to social issues being decided by judges rather than the legislature.

“Being a lawyer, I could see what was taking place, which was the transformation of the decision making power into the hands of the appointed court,” she told LifeSiteNews. “In other words anything Parliament passed was subject to review under the provisions of the Charter.”

“But I could see the wording was so broad, so vague,” she continued. “It means anything the judges wanted it to mean. So I knew what was going to happen - we were losing control. Parliament was losing control and by Parliament losing control, the public was losing any say in any of these issues of the day.”

Landolt said Campaign Life was extremely successful at lobbying politicians against the Charter, with people coming in from all over the country - to the point that Catholic MPs were concerned that their vote for the Charter would be a vote for abortion.

In fact, former Liberal and pro-life MP Garnet Bloomfield, who was one of only two Liberals who actually ended up voting against the Charter, told Landolt that at the party’s Wednesday caucus meetings Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau would express his frustration at the pro-life movement’s success.

“The pro-life movement started to be just a little cloud on the horizon and now it’s getting bigger and bigger and bigger like a huge storm cloud. It’s getting bigger all the time. We have to stop these pro-life people,” Trudeau would say, according to Landolt.

But, she said, the Charter’s success was unexpectedly guaranteed when Cardinal Emmett Carter of Toronto endorsed it - or ‘removed his opposition’ from it - after working quietly behind the scenes with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who had assured him that the Charter would not worsen the status of the unborn. Landolt said Trudeau had even given the Cardinal a verbal agreement that if the Supreme Court struck down the abortion law he would invoke the notwithstanding clause.

When they were first told of the Cardinal’s public endorsement, “the Catholic members of the Liberal caucus threw their papers in the air and said ‘hurray, now we can support it’,” explained Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition. “The many MPs who were very concerned about it now had this endorsement from Cardinal Carter.”

The previously successful, many months of intense pro-life lobbying efforts were derailed. Movement leaders were devastated, with many feeling deeply betrayed.

According to Hughes, the Cardinal eventually recognized his error, but too late. “He came back three days before the Charter passed and said Trudeau lied to him,” explained Hughes. “I guess he finally succumbed to all the material that we had sent him and he finally woke up and saw that it was wrong.”

Before the Charter passed, Progressive Conservative leader Joe Clark reluctantly allowed his caucus members to put forward a motion stating that the Charter would not apply to abortion and capital punishment - on the condition that if the motion were defeated, the entire caucus would support the Charter anyway.

When the Liberal majority defeated the motion, pro-life PC member Doug Roche opposed the Charter anyway, said Landolt.

But the pro-life fight continued even after the Queen gave her royal assent to the new Constitution on April 17, 1982.

In 1986, the late pro-life Progressive Conservative MP Gus Mitges proposed a motion to amend the Charter to include the unborn, which would have afforded them total protection under the law.  Most speakers in the debate spoke in favour of the motion, but it ultimately lost the vote 62-89 on June 2, 1987.

The motion’s chances were damaged by a very unexpected letter to the Members of Parliament from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.  As The Interim reported at the time, the CCCB wrote that while they supported the protection of life from conception, the bishops “do not want their position to be understood as necessarily endorsing the constitutional amendment recommended by Mr. Mitges as the most suitable means to implement this right to life of the foetus.”

Pro-life leaders were once again bewildered and shocked by Canadian episcopal undermining of yet another very promising initiative to protect the lives of the unborn.

The effects of the Charter are still being felt across the country with its provisions brought to bear on social issues ranging from parental rights to euthanasia and much more.

In September, the Supreme Court of Canada approved drug injection sites by arguing that the federal government had violated the Charter’s protections of “life, liberty and security of the person” by targeting the Insite facility in Vancouver.

Landolt warned that in the coming years Canadians can expect the high court to rule on a slate of public policy issues that ought to be the proper domain of the elected legislature, including issues related to poverty, unemployment insurance, welfare, and mandatory minimum sentences for criminals.

“Nothing’s going to stop them now,” she said.

Canada’s abortion legislation was dramatically loosened in 1969 when Prime Minister Trudeau’s Liberals passed an Omnibus bill that allowed a committee of doctors to approve the deadly procedure. The changed law, with its loopholes, weak safeguards and resultant rubber stamping of most abortions soon led to a practical abortion-on-demand situation across the country.

It was that law which the Supreme Court struck down in 1988 by arguing that it violated women’s equality rights under section 7’s protection of the “security of the person.”

Though the Supreme Court ruling called on Parliament to enact a new law that would address the Court’s concerns, the Mulroney government introduced vastly weaker legislation than was necessary. Pro-life leaders warned that the bill would likely not prevent any abortions from taking place. It was dramatically defeated in a tie in the Senate after having passed in the House of Commons. The lack of any abortion legislation since then has left a legal vacuum on the issue for 24 years despite numerous attempts to introduce various types of abortion restriction bills.

Parliament is currently considering a motion by Kitchener MP Stephen Woodworth to launch a special committee to discuss when human life begins. In particular, Woodworth is calling for a re-examination of section 223 of the Criminal Code, which states that a child only becomes a “human being” once he or she has fully proceeded from the womb.

The motion is scheduled for debate on April 26.

See the March 14, 1981 Campaign Life ad warning about the dangers of the Charter.

See the second Campaign Life ad urging Ontario Premier Bill Davis to withdraw his support for the Charter.

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Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

Belgium approves euthanasia for rapist serving life sentence

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

Belgium’s Minister of Justice approved a euthanasia request Monday from a convicted rapist serving a life sentence.

The Brussels court of appeal will review the case September 29, but Belgian media report it is expected simply to record the existence of the agreement between the man and the government.

This would not be the first euthanasia of a Belgian prisoner – a terminally ill man who had already spent 27 years in jail was legally killed two years ago – but in the case of Frank Van Den Bleeken, the euthanasia request is being linked to the conditions of his imprisonment.

Van Den Bleeken, 50, has spent close to 30 years in prison. He was sentenced to life-long imprisonment for several counts of rape, one of them followed by murder. He has been declared irresponsible for these acts because of psychiatric disorders and does not want to be released from prison, considering himself to be “a danger for society.” Despite having repeatedly asked for psychiatric treatment, none has been forthcoming in the absence of any Belgian institution prepared to take up this sort of patient.

The convicted rapist says his psychological suffering is “intolerable” and it is on these grounds that three doctors decided last May that Van Den Bleeken should be entitled to euthanasia – even though he has also asked for a transfer to a Dutch institution where psychiatrically ill criminals receive adequate treatment and care.

He presented both demands to the minister of Justice via an emergency procedure. The Brussels appeal court decided that the minister, Maggie De Block, was not competent to order a transfer to the Netherlands but that she could decide to grant his request for euthanasia. The decision is being called a purely “medical” one by the minister who told the press that she confined herself to following the doctors’ opinion.

A previous euthanasia request made by Van Den Bleeken three years ago was rejected on the grounds that all had not been done to ensure that he would suffer less and that other options than death were available.

Now, even though it is clear that the prisoner would find more humane conditions of detention in nearby Holland, that he is conscious of the gravity of the acts he commits under the pressure of his mental illness, and that he is in need of medical care, the decision to make him die reads as a further trivialization of euthanasia in a country where an ever-increasing amount of psychological motives are being accepted to justify “mercy-killing.”

As in all the states of the European Union, the death penalty does not exist; it was abolished in Belgium in 1996. Rapists and murderers can find themselves sentenced to life-long sentences with no hope at all of ever being freed, a perspective which some find worse than death.

Since Van Den Bleeken’s story received media coverage, including a televised interview at the end of 2013, fifteen other prisoners have contacted the “UL-Team,” an information center for end-of-life questions, euthanasia expert Wim Distelmans told the media this Tuesday. He said those numbers are expected to rise. Distelmans is known for his support and active participation in cases of euthanasia for psychological reasons.

No date has been fixed for Van Den Bleeken’s death but his family has indicated that a doctor willing to perform the act has been found. Once the appeals court has given its ruling the prisoner will be allowed to leave the Turnhout prison where he is interned at present, and will be transferred to an unnamed hospital where he will be able to say goodbye to his family before receiving a lethal injection.

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Sen. Rob Portman, R-OH http://portman.senate.gov
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First GOP senator to back marriage redefinition may run for president in 2016

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By Ben Johnson

The first Republican U.S. senator to support same-sex “marriage” is considering running for president in 2016 – if he is re-elected this year.

Sen. Rob Portman, the junior senator from Ohio, told reporters he would decide about campaigning for the GOP presidential nod during a recent visit to New Hampshire, home of the first in the nation primary.

“I’m focused, as you can tell, on 2014 and on doing my job as a senator,” he said, according to The Daily Caller. “After the election, I'll take a look at it.”

Portman became the first Republican senator to support same-sex “marriage” last March, citing a two-year “evolution” that took place after he learned his son, Will, is homosexual. He announced his change of heart shortly after he “held a dozen meetings with big New York donors” who did not believe the GOP sufficiently championed the cause of redefining marriage, in his capacity as vice chairman of finance for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), according to Politico.

That provoked a backlash from pro-family leaders in the state, who warned Portman's move – which is at odds with the Republican Party platform – would splinter the Republican Party.”

That splintering could be seen on the pages of Ohio newspapers this month.

Lori Viars, vice president of Warren County Right to Life, wrote a column entitled, “Why Conservatives Are Dumping Portman.” She recounted asking then-Congressman Rob Portman if he would vote for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in the 1990s.

“I thought he'd give me a quick yes and that I'd be on my way in search of air conditioning. But Portman would not answer my question. I pressed him, and again he deflected,” she wrote. “On my third (more emphatic) try, he got angry with me. He clearly did not want to take a position on DOMA. At the time, his son would have been in preschool.”

“Whatever his reason, Portman's flip-flop puts his presidential ambition at a disadvantage,” Viars wrote.

That garnered a ripping riposte from Mike Gonidakis of Ohio Right to Life, which was published as a letter to the editor. He accused Viars of “recklessly question[ing] Sen. Rob Portman's commitment to the pro-life cause.” Portman has a zero percent vote rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America and, while representing his conservative southwestern Ohio district voted against taxpayer funding for abortion at home and overseas, in favor of the partial birth abortion ban and protecting babies who are born alive during botched abortions, and against human cloning.

Still, Viars is not alone in distancing herself from the senator. Ohio's social conservative group, Citizens for Community Values, now lists Portman as an "unacceptable candidate."

In August 2013, Cleveland Right to Life criticized Rob Portman's stance. National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) President Carol Tobias sent a letter to CRTL, saying it had chosen to “disaffiliate” itself with NRLC because it had “issued public criticisms of and implicit political threats against a U.S. Senator who has supported the right-to-life position on every vote that has come before the Senate, and who is a sponsor of major NRLC-backed bills – because the chapter disagrees with his position on a non-right-to-life issue.”

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Aside from his stint in the U.S. Senate, the 58-year-old served 12 years in the House of Representatives and acted as U.S. Trade Representative and Director of Management and Budget under the George W. Bush administration, holding each office for one year, respectively. He largely favored free trade and voted for the 2002 authorization for the use of force against Iraq.

He has prepared presidential and vice presidential candidates for debates and has twice been considered for the vice presidential nomination, in 2008 and 2012.

Polls show Portman a virtual lock for re-election to the Senate. But the largely unknown, not especially charismatic senator does not register in polls for the presidential nomination of a party that is still committed to the traditional concept of marriage and family. 

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A topless activist with Femen attacks Belgian Archbishop Andrè-Joseph Leonard, who is known for his strong pro-life and pro-family stance.
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Why are pro-abortion protesters always taking their clothes off?

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By Jonathon van Maren

I’ve seen a lot of bizarre responses to pro-life activism. There’s the crude picket signs, the illiterate chants, the flashes of violence, the incoherent threats that so often seem to involve used tampons, and even activists dressed up like giant genitalia.

But there is one phenomenon that never ceases to stagger me with its counterproductive stupidity and moral blindness: The increasing prevalence of “feminist” protestors, almost exclusively women, stripping down to “protest” something—usually protection for the pre-born or some other dissent from the totalitarian death cult of the Sexual Revolution.

When people ask me what the weirdest response to pro-life work is and I try to explain this phenomenon, they find it hard to believe. So do I. But yet it happens, time and time again.

The suicidal tendencies of modern-day feminism would be almost laughable if they were not so depressing.

One student stripped down and sat on a folding chair in front of our pro-life display at the University of British Columbia. A few protestors decided to protest the launch of our 2012 national tour by going topless. Then, at a presentation in London, Ontario, a bunch of pro-abortion protesters showed up at a counter-protest organized by the Canadian Auto Worker’s Union, sans clothing. And of course, at last year’s March for Life a topless Femen protestor flung herself at a remarkably composed Catholic bishop as he spoke to the crowd, shrieking “F*** your morals!”

You’d think such behaviour would attract ire rather than admiration. But this is 2014 and most of our municipal governments use our taxpayer’s cash basically to fund a day dedicated to that type of behaviour when the Pride Parade rolls around.

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Instead, these women are now generally referred to as “brave.” Even the popular, but tiresomely far-left website Upworthy recently pushed a video with a street activist protesting harassment by misogynist pigs by standing on the street in her lingerie. (Little tip: Protesting the fact that some misogynists define you by your body by voluntarily showing them what they wanted to see in the first place isn't defiance, it's acquiescence. Protesting the fact that these guys aren't treating you with dignity by acting like you have none is counter-productive. “That guy crudely suggested he wants to see me naked! Well, I’ll show him! By showing him exactly what he wants to see! Wait…”)

A bit of research into the infamous nude activist group Femen (“Our mission is protest, our weapon is bare breasts”) shows just how exploitative (inadvertent though it may sometimes be) this entire phenomenon is. In recent documentary the group’s leader, Viktor Svyatski, admitted that he had perhaps started the group to “get girls,” and that he carefully selected only the most attractive girls for his group. The documentary also revealed that Svyatski had described the Femen girls as “weak,” and was often verbally abusive with them.

Again, the suicidal tendencies of modern-day feminism would be almost laughable if they were not so depressing.

But the phenomenon of public nudity is also more than just incoherent protest—it is a way of forcing people to accept any and all manifestations of the Sexual Revolution. As I noted some time ago:  The public is now regularly subjected to crude and wildly exhibitionist “Gay Pride Parades” and “Slut Walks.” These are not considered to be optional festivals hosted by tiny minority groups. No, politicians who refuse to attend are labelled as heretics by the high priests of the New Moral Order, which is of course not an order at all, but a proud lack thereof.

Liberal activists don’t want the State to be outside the bedroom anymore, they want the State in the bedroom—loudly applauding the acts they see taking place, refraining from any judgment but one of approval, and paying for pills and bits of rubber to ensure that such acts do not go awry and result in reproduction or infection.

Your prayers are not welcome in public, but your privates are. The Emperor has no clothes, and is quite enjoying it—so long as the chilly breezes of moral truth don’t leak out of drafty cathedrals to cause discomfort.  

There may be hope on the horizon, as indicated by the wild popularity of such books as Wendy ShaIit’s A Return to Modesty, as well as increasing disinterest in topless beaches in places like France. Some “feminists” have responded to such trends with irritation, grumbling that all the hard-won ground they had fought for is being spurned by the ungrateful brats of today. But perhaps, instead, many women are realizing that allowing men to freely objectify them in public is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Perhaps people have begun to rediscover a human value that was once enormously prized, but now almost forgotten: Dignity.

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