NEWFOUNDLAND, January 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Liberal MP has broken ranks with Canada's Trudeau government over its new rule that employers must sign an attestation supporting abortion and transgender rights in order to receive summer job grants.
Newfoundland Liberal MP Scott Simms told CBC Radio Monday the “attestation” requirement violates the religious rights of faith-based charities and non-profits groups.
Under a policy Employment Minister Patty Hajdu introduced in December, employers applying for Canada Summer Job grants must sign an attestation that “both the job and the organization’s core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada … these include reproductive rights.”
The online application is void if the attestation is not checked off.
Simms supports abortion — as all Liberal MPs are required to do under Trudeau — and is not disputing his government’s exclusion of pro-life groups from public funding.
But he says the attestation goes too far.
“The application is asking them to do something that they shouldn't be asked to do for the sake of a summer job for kids,” he told the CBC.
Simms also faulted the Liberals for disdaining the convictions of faith-based groups by downplaying the attestation and trying to persuade them to just sign it.
“To me that’s a lack of respect. If I was to say to someone, ‘Look, don't worry about it, just tick the box or whatever’ – some people have a core fundamental belief that they don't believe in this,” Simms told CBC.
Campaign Life Coalition vice president Jeff Gunnarson said he hoped Simms’ public opposition inspires others in the Liberal caucus.
“Although MP Simms is the first to speak out against this, I’m sure there are more Liberals who don’t align with Trudeau’s radical abortion obsession and his mission to reduce pro-life Canadians to second-class citizens,” Gunnarson told LifeSiteNews.
“Simms seems to have a better understanding of the Charter than his boss.”
Simms said he’s written to Hajdu asking that the Liberals make the requirement more specific so that it affects only groups lobbying for legislation restricting abortion.
Canada has no legislation on abortion. In 1988, the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional a 1969 law that allowed abortion in certain circumstances, and which in practice resulted virtually in abortion on demand.
For his part, Simms said he doesn’t know what will become of him now that he’s criticized the Trudeau government’s move.
“All I can do is I can look to the minister, I can look to the leadership and say, this application, as it stands right now, is not right,” said the four-term MP for the Newfoundland riding of Coast of Bays-Central-Notre Dame.
Under Trudeau, the Liberals have made “reproductive rights” their core of their foreign and domestic policy, as the Canada Summer Job website attests.
The Trudeau government has also banned activities and projects that don’t support “reproductive” or transgender rights from getting funds from Canada Service Corp, the youth volunteer program.
The Liberals assert that access to abortion is a “human right” and a value underlying the Charter.
And despite growing backlash, they have shown no signs of removing or altering the summer job attestation requirement.
Indeed, many in Canada’s mainstream media have excoriated the Trudeau government for violating the Charter rights of religious groups, which say they cannot in good conscience sign the attestation.
In a most recent example, pundit Lorne Gunter observed in the Toronto Sun that by demanding church groups sign a pro-abortion pledge, the Liberals show they fear religious groups more than ISIS fighters.
Meanwhile, Toronto Right to Life has taken the Liberals to court, asking that the attestation be quashed as a violation of its Charter rights.
The Catholic bishops, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, and the Canadian Council of Christian Charities have all opposed the Liberal move, and Conservative leader Andrew Scheer decried Trudeau for “imposing” his values on Canadians.
Campaign Life Coalition has launched a petition and has not ruled out its own court challenge. A petition started by LifeSiteNews has 14,693 signatures to date.
The deadline for applications to the summer job program is February 2.