OTTAWA, May 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Justin Trudeau’s controversial summer job pro-abortion attestation reveals the Liberal government’s “totalitarian” bent, says Canada’s former religious freedom ambassador.
Andrew Bennett made the comments Wednesday as a preamble to launching a new religious freedom institute. That institute will be run out of Cardus, a non-partisan, faith-based think-tank that focuses on the role of religion in public life, the Canadian Press reported.
“Whether you’re a person of religious views or a person who just doesn’t want to have an opinion, the government through this action [of the attestation] is compelling belief,” said Bennett. “That has a certain totalitarian feel to it.”
The Trudeau government caused a firestorm of protest by requiring employers sign an attestation supporting abortion and gender identity “rights” to receive Canada Summer Job grants.
Faith leaders objected, saying the attestation was an ideologically driven “values test” they could not sign in good conscience. Liberal Employment Minister Patty Hajdu and Trudeau claimed the attestation did not touch on beliefs.
Bennett was appointed by the Harper Conservatives in 2013 to be Canada’s first ambassador to monitor religious freedom abroad. The Trudeau Liberals abolished the position in March 2016, over objections by the Tories, alleging they didn’t want to focus on one particular aspect of human rights. Bennett then took a position as director of the Hamilton-based Cardus Law.
He told Canadian Press his experiences working to protect religious freedom of persecuted minorities in other countries influenced his outlook.
Forcing belief is a “tendency that one can see in totalitarian societies,” he said.
When a government makes certain beliefs inherent to its national identity, “you’re saying person’s citizenship is not as valid, or you’re marginalizing them by saying, ‘you’re outside the tent.’”
Canada has more freedom, but “totalitarianism can creep into liberal democracies and we have to be vigilant against that,” Bennett said.
If the Trudeau Liberals want to safeguard a multicultural society where diversity is genuinely respected, they must protect the fundamental freedoms of all Canadians, “even when those fundamental freedoms are exercised in a way that goes against what the government believes,” he added.
A deacon in the Ukrainian Catholic Church, Bennett told Canadian Press that he was not affiliated with the Harper Conservatives, but maintained the neutral stance required of a public servant, which he had been since 2001.
Bennett said he has no ill will towards the Liberals for abolishing the position of religious freedom envoy, and he could have continued in public service, but wanted to do more in religious freedom.
The new institute will review religious freedom in all faiths and plans to hold a symposium that “looks at the nexus between religious and civil law that will encompass Halakah, the body of Jewish laws, Christian Canon law and Muslim Shariah law,” according to Canadian Press.