By Jonathon Van Maren
As I mentioned yesterday, Justin Trudeau and his Liberals just don’t seem to get it: Although their insertion of an ideological purity test into the Canada Summer Jobs application may only be intended to target pro-life groups such as the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (which was the focal point of the abortion activist campaign last year), their demand that applicant groups “check a box” indicating support for abortion and a whole host of other progressive projects creates a fundamental crisis of conscience for any group that doesn’t believe killing pre-born children in the womb is morally licit.
Trudeau is currently trying to stave off the midterm-malaise the Liberal Party is slumping into following the mauling of his finance minister and the revelation that he has just received the distinction of being the first prime minister to have violated federal ethics law by going on one of his famous town hall circuits, where he attempts to simultaneously ooze charm and answer questions. One student asked Trudeau a question he was clearly expecting: “If you’re pro-life then you are ridiculed and insulted, but if you’re pro-choice then you’re praised. And I just want to know if this is important to you.”
Trudeau promptly launched into an explanation of how “defending rights and freedoms is at the core” of who he is, and then pivoted to bring up the Canada Summer Jobs “kerfuffle,” as he put it:
A great example that I was wondering if you’d bring up is the current kerfuffle around the Canada Summer Jobs Program, and expecting that any organization that gets funding for young people through the Canada Summer Jobs Program, which hundreds of thousands of people go through, will respect the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Now, that doesn’t mean that religious groups and faith groups can’t apply for that—on the contrary, so many of the great community organizations that we have working incredibly hard are faith-based across this country, and it’s an important and wonderful part of our society. It does, however, mean—and this is where we get to the crux of the matter—that an organization that has the explicit purpose of restricting women’s rights, the rights for abortion, the right of women to control their own bodies, is not in line with where we are as a government and quite frankly where we are as a society.
What Trudeau doesn’t understand is that the attestation requirement he’s inserted into the application process does mean that most religious groups and faith groups can’t apply for the Canada Summer Program, because they simply cannot indicate on a form that they are in support of Canada’s abortion regime, among other things. It would be a violation of conscience for any religious group that opposes the destruction of pre-born children in the womb to indicate that they support the Canadian status quo (abortion is legal throughout all nine months) in exchange for government money. Trudeau is asking religious groups to trade their convictions for cash.
Trudeau took pains to explain that this new policy was created specifically to target organizations like CCBR, which I’m sure is true. “There are organizations out there that couch themselves in ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘freedom of conscience’,” he said, before quickly hurrying on after apparently realizing that ridiculing such concepts probably didn’t help make his case, “and of course, you’re more than allowed to have whatever beliefs you like, but when those beliefs lead to actions determined to restrict a women’s right on what do to wither her body, that’s where we draw the line.”
In other words, Canadians who hold convictions that differ from the government position should not, in Trudeau’s view, take those convictions and avail themselves of legal avenues to reach out to their fellow Canadians and lobby their elected representatives to effect change. Trudeau ignores the fact that the majority of Canadians would support a law restricting late-term abortion, and over 90% oppose sex-selective abortion. He ignores the fact that we are the only Western democracy with no laws on abortion. He ignores the fact that the Supreme Court of Canada did not, in fact, create a “right” to abortion in 1988—but they did declare that it was up to Parliament to create new legislation restricting abortion. And he ignores the fact that when his government demands that pro-life Canadians check a box saying that they support abortion in order to get government funding, he is forcing them to either give up their convictions or lie on a government application.
Perhaps it isn’t surprising that this government does not understand what a crisis of conscience is.
For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.