NEW YORK, March 24, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Canada’s Liberal government will be pushing sex education, contraception and abortion on demand both domestically and globally, two Liberal ministers confirmed while at the UN’s two-week Conference on the Status of Women, CSW60, which ends today.
“I really want to say loud and clear, Canada is back,” Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister for international affairs, said at a March 15 UN event co-sponsored by the Government of Canada, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), and Plan International.
In speaking of Canada’s international involvement, “we really want to support projects that cover the whole range of health services to women and young girls,” she told the enthusiastic participants at a presentation on “Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health Rights and its role in achieving gender equality.”
“And this starts with sexual education, family planning, planning against sexual diseases, safe deliveries and safe abortion,” Bibeau said.
“Having access to a variety of sexual and reproductive health care services is critical for women and girls, in order to have control over their bodies, free from coercion, from violence, from discrimination,” Patty Hajdu, minister for status of women, told the crowd.
“This freedom includes a woman’s right to choose in consultation with her doctor whether or not to have an abortion,” added the first-time MP from Thunder Bay-Superior North.
“As our prime minister has said, it is not up to legislators in Canada, particularly when they are primarily male, to take that freedom of choice away from women.”
Hajdu announced earlier that Canada is running for a seat on the UN Commission for the Status of Women, UNCSW, for the 2017 to 2021 term.
“If elected, we will be able to play a stepped up leadership role supporting women and girls in reaching their full potential, and in the full realization of women’s rights as human rights around the world.”
‘Canada never left’ the UN
But as Campaign Life Coalition’s UN observer Matt Wojciechowski pointed out, the much-heard phrase “Canada is back” is Liberal self-promotion, and misleading.
“I’ve been attending these conferences for several years now and to be honest with you, Canada never left,” he said.
Indeed, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives allocated a total of $6.3 billion from 2010 to 2020 to the Muskoka Initiative for Maternal Health in developing countries, but were criticized for excluding abortion from that funding.
As well as its maternal health commitments, the Canadian government under the Conservatives “was very vocal at the United Nations in speaking out against child marriage, and has always condemned violence against women in all its forms.”
The difference, Wojciechowski noted, is that the current Trudeau government “is doing everything they can to establish themselves as champions for ‘sexual and reproductive health and rights’ — UN-speak for radical sex-education for children as young as kindergarten age, contraception and abortion on demand.”
The Liberals sent a large and high-level delegation to CSW60, Wojciechowski noted. “But does having more cabinet ministers attend an annual conference really merit the slogan ‘Canada is back’ at the UN?”
Women cheer Trudeau, while ministers play to partisan crowd
That high-level delegation included five federal ministers: Hajdu; Bibeau; Carolyn Bennett, indigenous affairs; Jody Wilson-Raybould, justice; and Stephane Dion, foreign affairs, as well as status of women ministers for Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, the Northwest Territories and Yukon.
And Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself dropped in for two days, announcing on March 16 that Canada is seeking a spot on the security council for 2020, and participating in a discussion on gender equality with the UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcukva, in front of hundreds of cheering women.
Declaring himself a “feminist,” Trudeau was lauded for appointing a cabinet with “gender parity,” but on this occasion, did not mention abortion or “sexual and reproductive health and rights,” speaking instead about pushing for LGBTQ rights, making Parliament “family friendly,” and pursuing pay equity.
Hajdu and Bibeau were more forthright at the Canadian government co-sponsored event, perhaps because they were in front of a partisan crowd.
“May I just start by saying it’s fantastic to have Canada back on this agenda,” noted Danish minister for children, education and gender equality Ellen Trane Nørby, when asked for informal remarks. “Because this is a fight we need to continue over the next week, fighting for sexual rights and health rights at the CSW.”
Sarah Kennell, public affairs officer for Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights and a youth panelist at the event, congratulated Bibeau and Hajdu on “empowering the delegation as you have done to champion language as it relates to sexual and reproductive health and rights” especially since “these issues are highly contentious at the global level.”
Action Canada formed in November 2014 when three abortion activist groups, Canadian Federation for Sexual Health (formerly Planned Parenthood Canada), Action Canada for Population and Development (ACPD), and Canadians for Choice joined forces.
“Funding for advocacy around the liberalization of abortion laws would be very helpful,” Kennell said, adding that “abortion is hugely under-addressed issue at the global policy level but also at the national level.”
She advocated that physicians be obliged “to provide information and services and when they cannot based on moral or religious grounds,” that they be compelled “to provide an effective referral.”
Minister to abortion lobbyist: “…tell us what needs to be done”
The Liberals were also “working to improve access to comprehensive evidence-based sexual health education” through the “Canadian guidelines for sexual health education,” Hajdu noted.
But Kennell was quick to point out the federal sex-education guidelines have not been updated since 2008, “so as a result, issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity, and really reflecting on sexuality in a positive and empowering way, have been left out.”
Hajdu didn’t know that, she said, “so it’s important to have the courage to tell us what needs to be done.”
Formerly the director of a homeless shelter in Thunder Bay, Hajdu said that “six months ago I was an activist, a grassroots activist, and I never thought I’d see the day I’d become a cabinet minister, actually, but here I am with the responsibility to make change within my government.”
“We need to start talking about the cultural pressures on women and men to conform to extremely strict and narrow stereotypes,” she noted. “If we don’t start talking about this toxic culture that in our country is very enmeshed with patriarchy and colonization, then we’re not going to actually move forward on these issues.”
Kennell agreed, noting that “teaching young kids from ages kindergarten on, how to move past those gender stereotypes” would be “impactful” and “can be a huge violence against women prevention strategy ultimately.”
Bibeau said that the SDGs, or sustainable development goals, are “very interesting because it makes us realize that we have works to do at home too, so because we kind of take it for granted that everything’s good, you know, we have access to abortion, we have access to contraceptives, but actually, we don’t, not all of us.”
“So we still have work to do at home and it will be a great challenge to integrate our colleagues in this work towards the SDGs within Canada,” she said. “And then we can lead by example and it will even enforce our work with developing countries.”
CLC’s Wojciechowski says that the current Liberal government is making a big mistake by falling in line with the UN’s population control and “sexual rights” agenda.
“Every dollar that goes to fund abortion and contraception deprives women, infants and children in developing countries of desperately needed genuine health care: clean water, medicine, safe deliveries, obstetric care and newborn and infant care.”
“Funding contraception and radical sex education and pushing for legalized abortion in other countries is first and foremost an unconscionable attack on human life, the values of many people in the developing world and their freedom and dignity.”