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Canadian bishops condemn Trudeau’s pro-abortion pledge for summer job grants

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OTTAWA, January 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Canada’s Catholic bishops blasted Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government for “undermining religious freedom” by requiring that employers sign an attestation supporting abortion and transgender “rights” in order to receive student summer job grants.

“This new policy conflicts directly with the right to freedom of religion and conscience which too are enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as in associated case law,” the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops said in a statement released Thursday.

“It seriously undermines the right to religious freedom since the Government of Canada is directly limiting the right of religious traditions to hold, teach and practise their principles and values in public,” the bishops wrote.

“Faith communities consider abortion, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression as major questions with ethical, moral, social and personal bearing which determine our understanding of human dignity and thus appreciation for the meaning and significance of each and every human life,” they stated. 

Trudeau, who says he is Catholic, is the most pro-abortion Prime Minister Canada has ever had. A number of his positions regarding marriage and the sanctity of life are at odds with Catholic sexual and moral teaching.

The bishops also slammed the Liberal policy as “an attempt to restrict the voices of faith communities in Canadian democracy and to limit their participation in the public square.”

Non-profit groups, small businesses, and public sector employers can apply for funding through Canada Summer Jobs to create jobs for students from 15 to 30 years of age. Formerly it was up to individual Members of Parliament to approve the applications.

URGENT: Tell Justin Trudeau you oppose this attack on freedom of conscience. Sign the petition! Click here.

But Liberal employment minister Patty Hajdu added the requirement for 2018 applicants after making it clear last year that the Liberals did not want pro-life groups receiving Canada Summer Job grants.

Employers now must agree to an attestation that:

both the job and the organization’s core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights. These include reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

Online applications are void if the attestation is not checked off.

The bishops write that according to the government, “this insistence on reproductive rights (which specifically includes ‘the right to access safe and legal abortions’), sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression is intended to ‘prevent youth (as young as 15 years of age) from being exposed to employment within organizations that may promote positions that are contrary to the values enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and associated case law’.” 

Trudeau defended the policy at a Hamilton town hall Wednesday, declaring that “we need to know that there is a difference between freedom of expression and acting on those expressions and beliefs.”

He also reiterated the Liberal position that religious groups are eligible to apply for the program.

But many faith-based charities, non-profits and institutions that say they cannot in conscience sign the attestation.

The bishops echo this.

“In addition to the obvious and regrettable infringement of freedom of conscience and religion in such matters as are raised by the new policy, there will be unfortunate consequences on the ground: summer camps will be forced to close; the services of numerous non-profit organizations will be reduced; valuable opportunities for apprenticeship will be lost,” they write.

“These effects, to name but a few, will be felt in Catholic dioceses and organizations as well as in many other faith communities across Canada.”

The new rule also “runs counter to the recommendations issued at the end of March 2017 by the Consultation Panel on the Political Activities of Charities which had been appointed by the Minister of National Revenue,” they state.

“These recommendations include that charities be allowed to provide information for the purpose of informing and swaying public opinion, and to advocate to keep or change law or policy, either in Canada (any level of government) or outside of Canada.”

***

The bishops’ full statement:

Statement by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on recent changes to government requirements for “Canada Summer Jobs” program 

Employment and Social Development Canada posted information on its website, dated 19 December 2017, announcing a major change to its requirements regarding applications for federal funding under its Canada Summer Jobs program for youth employment. Attestation must now be included that “both the job and the organization’s core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights. These include reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.” 

According to the Department, this insistence on reproductive rights (which specifically includes “the right to access safe and legal abortions”), sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression is intended to “prevent youth (as young as 15 years of age) from being exposed to employment within organizations that may promote positions that are contrary to the values enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and associated case law.” 

Faith communities consider abortion, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression as major questions with ethical, moral, social and personal bearing which determine our understanding of human dignity and thus appreciation for the meaning and significance of each and every human life. This new policy conflicts directly with the right to freedom of religion and conscience which too are enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as in associated case law. It seriously undermines the right to religious freedom since the Government of Canada is directly limiting the right of religious traditions to hold, teach and practise their principles and values in public. 

In addition to the obvious and regrettable infringement of freedom of conscience and religion in such matters as are raised by the new policy, there will be unfortunate consequences on the ground: summer camps will be forced to close; the services of numerous non-profit organizations will be reduced; valuable opportunities for apprenticeship will be lost. These effects, to name but a few, will be felt in Catholic dioceses and organizations as well as in many other faith communities across Canada. 

Furthermore, the recently announced policy represents an attempt to restrict the voices of faith communities in Canadian democracy and to limit their participation in the public square. Moreover, it runs counter to the recommendations issued at the end of March 2017 by the Consultation Panel on the Political Activities of Charities which had been appointed by the Minister of National Revenue. These recommendations include that charities be allowed to provide information for the purpose of informing and swaying public opinion, and to advocate to keep or change law or policy, either in Canada (any level of government) or outside of Canada. 

11 January 2018 

Related:

Canadian Christians rise up against Trudeau’s pro-abortion pledge for summer job grants

Pro-life group sues Trudeau gov’t for tying pro-abortion pledge to summer job fund

Justin Trudeau woke a sleeping giant when he banned summer job grants to pro-life employers

Canada won’t fund student summer jobs unless employers support abortion

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