By Jonathon Van Maren
In public, the Liberals are trying to blunt the fallout from their “abortion attestation” in the application requirements for the Canada Summer Jobs Program. Employment Minister Patty Hadju essentially admitted that the attestation, which she and Trudeau have defended in the face of nearly universal backlash, was problematic when she promised that the Liberals would review the next year—but as for this year, it would stay in place. In the meantime, organizations like the Southern Alberta Bible Camp are struggling to figure out how they’ll hire staff. They aren’t the only ones—the number of rejected applicants has leapt from 126 last year to 1,561 so far this year.
In private, however, the Liberals are doubling down even as many MPs privately express both dissent and dismay. Of those MPs, only one had the courage to stand up and vote for the Conservative motion to allow non-political and non-activist groups to access the Canada Summer Jobs Program without having to sign off on supporting a laundry list of progressive causes—and the Liberals recently made him pay for it:
A longtime Liberal MP who voted against the federal government’s controversial Canada Summer Jobs attestation has been removed from his job as a committee chair. Scott Simms was quietly ousted as chairman of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans Monday — losing a $11,900 salary bump that comes with the job.
“Yes, they removed me from the committee because of my vote,” Simms confirmed to HuffPost Canada.
In March, Simms was the lone Liberal to vote in favour of a Conservative motion calling on the federal government to extend eligibility for the summer jobs program to groups that engage in non-political and non-activist work even if they do not check off an attestation that they support individual human rights, including abortion rights…
Simms raised alarm over the change back in January, after Christian groups in his riding said they were being asked to violate their beliefs in order to apply to the program.
“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,” the Newfoundland MP told his local CBC radio station. “It … is not right.”
Unfortunately for Simms, having principles and respecting the principles and consciences of others comes with a cost in the Liberal caucus, and so he got a demotion and a pay cut. Simms says he knew he’d be punished, so he obviously thought that considering the backlash to the abortion attestation, taking a stand for his constituents who felt targeted by the Trudeau Government was worth it. As 2019 approaches, there may be other MPs who wish they’d done the same.
For anyone interested, my books: The Culture War, Seeing is Believing: Why Our Culture Must Face the Victims of Abortion, and How To Discuss Assisted Suicide, are available for sale here.