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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Quebec groups launch court challenge to euthanasia bill

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

As announced when the Quebec legislature adopted Bill 52, An Act respecting end-of-life care, the citizen movement Living with Dignity and the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia, representing together over 650 physicians and 17,000 citizens, filed a lawsuit before the Superior Court of Quebec in the District of Montreal on Thursday.

The lawsuit requests that the Court declare invalid all the provisions of the Act that deal with “medical aid in dying”, a term the groups say is a euphemism for euthanasia. This Act not only allows certain patients to demand that a physician provoke their death, but also grants physicians the right to cause the death of these patients by the administration of a lethal substance.

The two organizations are challenging the constitutionality of those provisions in the Act which are aimed at decriminalizing euthanasia under the euphemism “medical aid in dying”. Euthanasia constitutes a culpable homicide under Canada’s Criminal Code, and the organizations maintain that it is at the core of the exclusive federal legislative power in relation to criminal law and Quebec therefore does not have the power to adopt these provisions.

The organizations also say the impugned provisions unjustifiably infringe the rights to life and to security of patients guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. They further infringe the right to the safeguard of the dignity of the person, which is also protected by the Quebec Charter.

In view of the gravity of the situation and the urgent need to protect all vulnerable persons in Quebec, they are requesting an accelerated management of the case in order to obtain a judgment before the Act is expected to come into force on December 10, 2015.


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Colorado baker appeals gvmt ‘re-education’ order

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

A Colorado cake artist who declined to use his creative talents to promote and endorse a same-sex ceremony appealed a May 30 order from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission to the Colorado Court of Appeals Wednesday.

The commission’s order requires cake artist Jack Phillips and his staff at Masterpiece Cakeshop to create cakes for same-sex celebrations, forces him to re-educate his staff that Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act means that artists must endorse all views, compels him to implement new policies to comply with the commission’s order, and requires him to file quarterly “compliance” reports for two years. The reports must include the number of patrons declined a wedding cake or any other product and state the reason for doing so to ensure he has fully eliminated his religious beliefs from his business.

“Americans should not be forced by the government – or by another citizen – to endorse or promote ideas with which they disagree,” said the cake artist’s lead counsel Nicolle Martin, an attorney allied with Alliance Defending Freedom. “This is not about the people who asked for a cake; it’s about the message the cake communicates. Just as Jack doesn’t create baked works of art for other events with which he disagrees, he doesn’t create cake art for same-sex ceremonies regardless of who walks in the door to place the order.”

“In America, we don’t force artists to create expression that is contrary to their convictions,” added Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “A paint artist who identifies as homosexual shouldn’t be intimidated into creating a painting that celebrates one-man, one-woman marriage. A pro-life photographer shouldn’t be forced to work a pro-abortion rally. And Christian cake artists shouldn’t be punished for declining to participate in a same-sex ceremony or promote its message.”

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

In July 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins asked Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to make a wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex ceremony. In an exchange lasting about 30 seconds, Phillips politely declined, explaining that he would gladly make them any other type of baked item they wanted but that he could not make a cake promoting a same-sex ceremony because of his faith. Craig and Mullins, now represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, immediately left the shop and later filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. The case now goes to the Colorado Court of Appeals as Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Craig.

“Jack, and other cake artists like him – such as those seen on TV shows like ‘Ace of Cakes’ and ‘Cake Boss’ – prepare unique creations that are inherently expressive,” Tedesco explained. “Jack invests many hours in the wedding cake creative process, which includes meeting the clients, designing and sketching the cake, and then baking, sculpting, and decorating it. The ACLU calls Jack a mere ‘retail service provider,’ but, in fact, he is an artist who uses his talents and abilities to create expression that the First Amendment fully protects."

Celebrity cake artists have written publicly about their art and the significant expressive work that goes into the artistic design process for wedding cakes.


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Prisoner of conscience Mary Wagner appeals her conviction

Tony Gosgnach
By Tony Gosgnach

TORONTO -- As promised, Mary Wagner has, through her counsel Dr. Charles Lugosi, filed a formal notice of appeal on numerous points regarding her recent, almost two-year-long court case that ended on June 12.

Justice Fergus O’Donnell of the Ontario Court of Justice rejected every application made by the defence – including for access to abortion center records, public funding, standing for a constitutional challenge and for expert witnesses to be heard – before he found Wagner guilty and sentenced her to five months in jail on a charge of mischief and four months on four counts of failing to comply with probation orders.

He further levied two years of probation, with terms that she stay at least 100 metres away from any abortion site. However, because Wagner had spent a greater time in jail than the sentence, she was freed immediately. She had been arrested at the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site on Lawrence Avenue West in Toronto on August 15, 2012 after attempting to speak to abortion-bound women there. She then spent the duration of the trial in prison for refusing to sign bail conditions requiring her to stay away from abortion sites.

Wagner is using the matter as a test case to challenge the current definition of a human being in Canadian law – that is, that a human being is legally recognized as such only after he or she has fully emerged from the birth canal in a breathing state.

Wagner’s notice states the appeal is regarding:

  • Her conviction and sentence on a single count of mischief (interference with property),
  • Her conviction and sentence on four counts of breach of probation,
  • The order denying public funding,
  • The order denying the disclosure of third-party records,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts on the applicant’s constitutional challenge concerning the constitutional validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts concerning the construction of Section 37 of the Criminal Code,
  • The probation order denying Wagner her constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion on all public sidewalks and public areas within 100 metres of places where abortions are committed,
  • And each conviction and sentence and all orders and rulings made by O’Donnell.

In the notice of appeal, Lugosi cites numerous points on which O’Donnell erred:

  • He denied Wagner her constitutional right to make full answer and defence.
  • He denied Wagner her right to rely on Section 37 of the Criminal Code, which permits “everyone” to come to the third-party defence and rescue of any human being (in this case, the preborn) facing imminent assault.
  • He decided the factual basis of Wagner’s constitutional arguments was a waste of the court’s time and that no purpose would have been served by having an evidentiary hearing on her Charter application because, in the current state of Canadian law, it had no possibility of success.
  • He misapplied case law and prejudged the case, “giving rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias and impeding the legal evolution of the law to adapt to new circumstances, knowledge and changed societal values and morals.”
  • He accepted the Crown’s submission that it is beyond the jurisdiction of the courts to question the jurisdiction of Parliament legally to define “human being” in any manner Parliament sees fit.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code is not beyond the powers of Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code does not violate the Preamble to, as well as Sections 7, 11(d), 15 and 26, of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • He denied Wagner standing to raise a constitutional challenge to the validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code.
  • He ruled that Section 223 of the Criminal Code applied generally throughout the entire Criminal Code and used it to deny unborn human beings the benefit of equal protection as born human beings under Section 37 of the Criminal Code.
  • He denied the production and disclosure of third-party records in the possession of the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site, although the records were required to prove Wagner was justified in using reasonable force in the form of oral and written words to try to persuade pregnant mothers from killing their unborn children by abortion.
  • He denied Wagner the defence of Section 37 of the Criminal Code by ruling unborn children did not come within the scope of human beings eligible to be protected by a third party.
  • He ruled Wagner did not come within the scope of Section 37 because she was found to be non-violent (in that she did not use physical force).
  • He ruled the unborn children Wagner was trying to rescue were not under her protection.
  • He denied Wagner the common-law defences of necessity and the rescue of third parties in need of protection.
  • He denied Wagner public funding to make full answer and defence for a constitutional test case of great public importance and national significance.
  • He imposed an unconstitutional sentence upon Wagner by, in effect, imposing an injunction as a condition of probation, contrary to her constitutional rights of free speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.

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Among the orders Lugosi is seeking are:

  • That an appeal be allowed against conviction on all counts and that a verdict of acquittal be entered on all counts,
  • That Section 223 of the Criminal Code be found unconstitutional  and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, as well as the unwritten constitution of Canada,
  • That the sentence be declared unconstitutional and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and the unwritten constitution of Canada or that a new trial be conducted, with Wagner permitted to make full answer and defence, be given standing to make a constitutional attack on Section 223 of the Criminal Code, with the admission of expert witnesses,
  • That the Women’s Care Clinic abortion site be made to produce third-party records pertaining to patients seen on August 15, 2012 (when Wagner entered the site),
  • And that there be public funding for two defence counsels at any retrial and for any appeal related to the case.

No date has yet been established for a decision on the appeal or hearings.

A defence fund for Wagner’s case is still raising money. Details on how to contribute to it can be found here.


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