Last December, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his liberal party decided that any organization that is opposed to abortion would no longer receive funding from the governments Summer Jobs Canada program.
This is the program that pays for the wages for nonprofits (which include faith based groups and churches) ,small businesses and public entities who provide good summer jobs for students in Canada. This is a program that has never really been a hot topic or controversial and has generally been supported by politicians regardless of party lines, that is until Justin Trudeau and his desire to be seen as the liberal messiah came into office.
Starting this year any business, public entity or non profit who is applying for a subsidy from the Summer Jobs Canada program must select a box agreeing that the jobs in which they are hiring for, as well as the organization’s core beliefs support women’s reproductive rights, which is just another way to say they support abortion as an option to terminate the life of an unborn child. It has been made very clear by the Canadian government that any company that does not click that box, will not even be considered for funding.
People of Many Faiths Coming Together
This has sparked outrage among Christian churches who depend on the program to run and staff summer camps, as well as pro life groups. Las month a large group of people representing many faiths, Hindu, Judaism, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians, met in Ontario to express not only their alarm over the new rules, but also their worries. While some of the groups who meant are strongly opposed to abortion, some of the groups do not have a clear position on the topic and worry about the government forcing them to take a stand on the issue. They talked about viewpoint discrimination, which is a law in the United States that stops the government from treating most political expressions as less serious or worth than other political expressions, this led to a discussion on religious freedom in Canada, something that all the groups agreed they are worried about regardless of their stance on abortion.
This had lead to a petition that was submitted to the Canadian Parliament by Conservative Party MP Harold Albrecht, requesting the government to get rid of the question on the form because it forces businesses and organisations to pick between what they believe and being able to get funding, which is just discrimination against the organizations and businesses based on their beliefs.
People in both parties are wondering why Justin Trudeau is “poking the bear” on a topic which has not been that heavily debated in Canada, although this is not surprising behavior from him. The prime minister, who is baptized Catholic (a religion that is strongly against abortion) prevented any pro life politicians from running for the Liberal Party in 2014, as this was in his power as party leader. One of his first steps since taking office was to approve the use of millions of dollars to fund overseas abortions, and just 2 years ago he coerced Prince Edward Island, which is a very socially conservative province, to open their first abortion clinic.
These are not the actions of prime minister who should be fighting for, and considering, the rights of all Canadian citizens, not just those who want to worship him.
Meagan Kozlovs is a reporter for Debate Report. She’s worked and interned at Global News Toronto and CHECX. Megan is based in Toronto and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe milk shake addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.