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Calvin Freiburger

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Almost half of Liberal voters disagree with Trudeau’s pro-abortion summer job grant policy

Calvin Freiburger

May 17, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A new poll has found the general public evenly divided on the Trudeau government’s pro-abortion attestation for summer jobs grants. But, a breakdown of the numbers reveals that many in groups typically allied with the prime minister believe the mandate goes too far.

The Angus Reid Institute report found that 50 percent of Canadians think it’s fair to require groups to sign a statement endorsing a “right” to abortion (among other things) in order to receive government grants to hire students for summer jobs. And, the same number think it’s unfair, Maclean’s reports.

As could be expected, 68 percent of Conservatives and 86 percent of those who want abortion “severely restricted” oppose the policy. But, what was not expected was that notable portions of more left-wing groups oppose the policy as well. Forty-one percent of voters in Trudeau’s own Liberal Party agree that the attestation is unfair, and even 36 percent of “strong pro-choice” advocates think it goes too far. 

Fifty-four percent of people who support “some” abortion restrictions and 44 percent of New Democratic Party (NDP) members also call the attestation unfair. The NDP is pro-abortion, and in January NDP Member of Parliament Nathan Cullen apologized for initially criticizing the attestation.

MPs of both parties, including the NDP’s David Christopherson and Liberal Scott Simms, have vocally dissented from the attestation.

“Even cutting across the political spectrum, for many Canadians, this is not necessarily an issue about abortion now, but it is one about freedom of conscience and freedom of belief,” Angus Reid executive director Shachi Kurl explained.

The attestation has resulted in more than 1,500 applications being rejected so far in 2018, dramatically more than last year’s 126 rejections. These include a summer Bible camp in Alberta; a rural museum on the history of Port Hood, Nova Scotia; a small, family-owned agriculture irrigation business in Alberta; a Christian farm that provides free vacations to poor families; and the Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto.

The positions such groups have filled via summer jobs grants have historically been unrelated to abortion, so researchers also inquired as to whether pro-life entities should still be barred from funds even if their summer jobs had nothing to do with pro-life advocacy.

The poll posed two hypothetical scenarios with a religious group morally opposed to abortion. In one, the group would use its summer jobs grant to hire students to distribute literature advocating new abortion restrictions, while in the other, the group used the money to staff a soup kitchen.

Majorities supported withholding the money if it would finance activism, but 73 percent agreed that the pro-life organization should receive money for nonpartisan charity work, including 74 percent of Liberals, 67 percent of NDP voters, and even 63 percent of respondents who favor completely unrestricted abortion.

That distinction between discrimination against those who happen to oppose abortion and actually subsidizing advocacy on the issue was ultimately the “hinge point” for public opinion, Kurl said.

“This is something that I don’t think sits right with a number of people, who may be advocates of saying, ‘Yes, we should have access to abortion,’ but who maybe don’t like the idea of forcing or requiring organizations to make this attestation if what they’re seeking federal funding for has nothing to do with that issue,” she explained.

Trudeau has defended the attestation by insisting he’s merely enforcing adherence to the country’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. But Archbishop of Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins pointed out at last week’s March for Life that the charter does not reference a right to abortion, despite Trudeau’s insistence, whereas it does protect freedom of conscience and religious liberty.

In January, 87 Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders signed an open letter condemning the attestation as a “religious or ideological test or conditions to receiving government benefits or protection” that was incompatible with the “promise of a free and democratic society.”

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