‘Nobody…should check the box’: Canadian Cardinal slams Trudeau’s pro-abortion pledge
TORONTO, January 26, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto is not mincing words when it comes to Justin Trudeau’s new requirement that employers sign an attestation supporting abortion in order to receive student summer job grants: "We can’t check the box."
As the deadline to apply for student summer job grants draws near, the Cardinal, along with the country's Catholic bishops, are holding firm with other Christian leaders in demanding that the government scrap the requirement.
Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government touched off the growing controversy over the Canada Summer Jobs program by requiring that employers sign an attestation that both the job and their “core mandate” respect human rights, including “reproductive rights,” which the government spells out to mean "the right to access safe and legal abortions."
If employers don’t check off the attestation box when applying online, their application is void.
“It’s obvious nobody in our diocese should check the box,” Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto told LifeSiteNews.
“We can’t attest that we’re in favor of reproductive rights which are defined as access to abortion. We don’t believe in that. It’s a free country. We don’t believe in that.”
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.
Collins joined 86 other faith leaders yesterday in signing a letter to Trudeau and Employment Minister Patty Hajdu asking the Liberals to scrap the attestation.
He represented the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, which has also blasted Trudeau over the attestation.
The letter was the latest protest from faith groups that the attestation is an “ideological test” that violates their Charter rights.
It’s a view shared by many in the media, who have taken the Liberals to task for intolerance and demagoguery.
Trudeau responded by saying Canadians can believe what they want when it comes to abortion, but they can’t act on those beliefs. He dismissed the controversy as a “kerfuffle,” leaving Hajdu to hold the party line.
Hajdu reiterated Tuesday the government is standing by the attestation.
In remarks widely reported in the media, Hajdu said that after hearing complaints last year she brought in the attestation to stop public funding of pro-life and pro-family groups. The Liberals maintain that such groups are working to undermine reproductive and LGBTQ “rights.”
Collins said that in a conversation they had together Hajdu revealed her lack of understanding as to why Catholics cannot, in good conscience, check the attestation box when submitting a summer job grant application.
“Her position, at the moment at least — I hope she’ll change it — is, don’t worry, we don’t mean you. We mean some other people, but check the box, you’re okay,” he told LifeSiteNews.
“I don’t think she appreciates that we can’t,” Collins said. “We can’t check the box.”
The attestation is “an unnecessary and objectionable religious test, a belief test, and I think it’s certainly in the interests of the government to just get rid of it,” Collins pointed out.
“If there’s some group that does something they don’t agree with or they’ve got some complaint about the group, well, they should speak to the group,” he added.
He holds out hope the Liberals will accede to the request to drop the attestation — or substantially alter it — before the February 2 deadline for applications to Canada Summer Jobs. The archdiocese typically applies for funding for 150 student placements.
“We’re trying to communicate with them,” Collins told LifeSiteNews. “Even people who are very secular, who are totally not in favor of, let’s say, Catholic faith, or who are not pro-life, begin to say, surely we don’t want to be setting up faith tests or ideology tests.”
Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton reiterated this same point in a January 23 letter posted on the archdiocesan website.
“This attestation is unacceptable” and the Liberals are “infringing” on Charter rights by “imposing and insisting upon the new requirement.” Smith wrote.
“No law confers the right to abortion,” he added.
“In fact, Canada is one of the few Western countries that has no law governing abortion at all. While this so-called ‘right’ or belief may be promoted by the current government, there should be no compulsion on all Canadians to embrace it in order to receive government funding of any kind.”
Smith advised his parishes, organizations, and charities not to sign the attestation and to write their Members of Parliament to explain why they did not do so.
Archbishop Anthony Mancini of Yarmouth-Halifax has done likewise.
The Liberal government’s “policy on this matter is contrary to our rights as equal citizens of this country and no political party can impose its ideology on any one of us,” he wrote January 24.
MPs “are elected to represent the views of their constituents, not impose the views of their party platform,” Mancini wrote. “If you disagree with the policy driving the Canada Summer Jobs program, let your MP know and let the Prime Minister know as well.”