OTTAWA, January 22, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government are being blasted by media across the globe for requiring employers to sign an “attestation” supporting abortion and transgender “rights” in order to receive summer job grants.
And in Canada, the National Post, Globe and Mail, and Ottawa Citizen denounced the Liberal move in editorials, as did a number of columnists. The CBC and Maclean’s Magazine have also carried columns decrying the prime minister, who so far has dismissed the backlash as a “kerfuffle.”
So marked has been the outcry the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada sent an email to Trudeau and Employment Minister Patty Hajdu asking them to reword the “attestation,” the National Post reported Friday.
“We support the attestation requirement, but unfortunately it has resulted in a lot of confusion and backlash, so we thought as a way of trying to clarify the situation, it might be better if they could clarify the wording,” ARCC executive director Joyce Arthur told the Post.
Trudeau has made “reproductive rights” a core mandate of his foreign and domestic policy. In keeping with this, Hajdu made it clear last year the Liberals were going to stop summer job grants going to pro-life groups, after media reports that Liberal MP Irqa Khalid approved $56,000 to the Center for Bioethical Reform for 2016. The reports were based on an ARCC April press release objecting to summer job grants to pro-life groups.
This year, employers applying for Canada Summer Job grants must sign an “attestation” that their core mandate supports reproductive and transgender “rights.”
But making government grants conditional on agreeing to what media have dubbed an “abortion clause” sparked outrage from faith-based charities and non-profits who said they couldn’t in conscience sign the attestation.
Indeed, Toronto Right to Life has launched a court challenge against the attestation requirement, asking that it be quashed as a violation of Charter rights.
And now protest against the Liberal move is coming from an unexpected quarter: the liberal media.
That’s all to the good, says Campaign Life Coalition vice president Jeff Gunnarson.
“Now that the mainstream media is finally coming out of the closet and proclaiming abortion is not a Charter right — due in a large part to the fact Campaign Life Coalition has emphasized to the media that the Charter never gave a ‘right’ to abortion — could we please see that consistently reported in future stories about abortion vis-a-vis the Charter when all this ‘kerfuffle’ settles down?” Gunnarson said.
“And now that we all acknowledge that there is no ‘right’ to abortion in Canada, Parliament needs to put in place a law that protects all unborn babies from conception onward,” he told LifeSiteNews.
Notable among media excoriations:
- • An Ottawa Citizen editorial ripped the Liberal government for being “Kafkaesque” in insisting church groups can sign the “attestation” as it is, and comparing Trudeau to US President Trump: “Is it unfair to draw a Trudeau-Trump analogy on this issue? … No. Trump, in his bumptious fashion, at least acknowledges overtly that there are differing views; he wants his side to win. The Liberals acknowledge no divide; they assume – or act as if it’s axiomatic – that their values are everyone’s values. That’s insidious and dangerous.”
- A National Post editorial accused Trudeau and the Liberals of using “alternative facts” to “discriminate against people of faith” and to claim “reproductive rights” are included in the Charter. “Fact check: What permits unrestricted abortion in Canada is not a law, but the absence of one. There is an important difference.”
- A Globe and Mail editorial berated the prime minister for violating the Charter right to free speech of abortion opponents: “Mr. Trudeau appears to have unilaterally decided that arguing against a right is as bad as infringing it. That’s chilling. …Conflating opposition to abortion with bigotry is simplistic, and no better than demagoguery.”
- Maclean’s Magazine’s Stephen Maher, in a column entitled “Justin Trudeau should read the Charter of Rights” rebuked the prime minister for “taking a stupid legal risk,” and advised Canadians to “give the Liberals a nasty tongue-lashing for setting up an unnecessary, divisive conflict.”
- The Globe and Mail’s John Ibbitson, excoriated the abortion clause as “not only offensive; on its face, it’s a clear violation of the very Charter rights that it claims to defend…Liberals should remind themselves that their values are not the only values that count.”
- The Globe and Mail’s Margaret Wente questioned whether Trudeau could “tolerate real diversity,” noting that Christians, she a “lapsed” one, are being pushed to the margins by aggressive secularism: “That is why you will find Mr. Trudeau in mosques, temples, shrines and smudging ceremonies. But one place you won’t find him is in Pastor Jones’s or Ms. Redshaw’s church. Diversity is all very well – but only when it’s good for the brand.”
- National Post’s John Ivison berated Trudeau Liberals for “chauvinism” on abortion and the “refusal to believe in the legitimacy of any dissent from their orthodoxy. “There is a word for such behaviour – arrogance. It has killed Liberal governments in the past. It may do so again.”
- Robyn Urbach in the CBC decried the Liberals for not allowing “diversity” but expecting compliance with the prevailing orthodoxy. “Many people — including the prime minister, apparently — see no problem with a government denying funding to an organization on the basis of its views on abortion. But if we take the word “abortion” out of it, we have a government denying funding to an organization based on its views.”
- National Post’s Rex Murphy derided Trudeau for assuming imperial power. “The prime minister has recently, speaking as one should say ex cathedra, declared a doctrinal test for any who wish to make application for student summer job grants. ” Murphy warned this might set a precedent: “But hey, it’s only a jobs program. Well, once started, why stop?”
- The Calgary Herald’s Licia Corbella accused Trudeau of violating the Charter. “Pierre Elliott Trudeau — one of the main architects of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms — would be rolling over in his grave if he knew how cavalier his eldest son is with its contents.”