Events and Engagements

March for Life, Ottawa

On May 11, the Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) was pleased to extend its continued support for the national March for Life in Ottawa with representation from across the country. The theme for this year’s march was Life – We Stand on Guard for Thee.

As in previous years, the CCRL’s executive director, Christian Elia, was present in Ottawa supporting the cause with media work, advertising support, and a financial donation on behalf of the CCRL. Christian participated in EWTN’s live coverage from Parliament Hill. Two of the CCRL’s directors were also in Ottawa for the March for Life. We thank director Rev. Mr. Alexander (Sandy) MacDonald for representing Atlantic Canada and from Ontario, Tanya Granic Allen, who was conducting live interviews for EWTN.

Dr. Robert Walley Wins CCRL’s Archbishop Adam Exner Award

On May 5, the Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) was pleased to announce that it had chosen founder of MaterCare International, Dr. Robert Walley as winner of the 2017 Archbishop Adam Exner Award for Catholic Excellence in Public Life.

CCRL Spring Dinner

On June 19, the CCRL hosted its annual dinner in Toronto. This year the keynote speaker was Dr. Andrew Bennett, Canada’s first Ambassador for Religious Freedom and Head of the Office of Religious Freedom from 2013 to 2016. The Exner award was presented to Dr. Walley.

Selected Interventions and Press Releases


On January 30, the CCRL issued a release expressing our condolences with prayers for the victims of the mass killings of six individuals and the attacks on numerous others on January 29, at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec, in Quebec City.


On February 16, we released the statement “No to Increasing Limitations on Free Speech, No to M-103!” regarding the federal motion suggestive of the inclusion of “Islamophobia” into a hate crime, when legitimate concerns over mainstream or extreme aspects of Islam should be open to debate, and not subjected to some creeping observance of sharia law, which forbids criticism of Islam.


On March 23, the CCRL sent and published and open letter to Prime Minister Trudeau in protest against the $650 million pledge for abortion in developing nations, encouraging all of our supporters and friends to also write.

On March 30, CCRL president Phil Horgan, executive director Christian Elia, along with Toronto-based barrister and solicitor and CCRL member Catherine Pawluch appeared before a legislative committee to speak against the infringement of freedom of religion and conscience of healthcare workers caused by the implementation of assisted suicide and euthanasia and the requirement for doctors to make an “effective referral” to another physician when refusing to be complicit in killing a patient.


On May 23, we issued the press release, “Ontario and Manitoba: A Tale of Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide in Two Provinces”, referring to Manitoba’s Bill 34 which protects conscience rights and safeguards healthcare professionals from disciplinary actions, as opposed to Ontario’s “effective referral” mandate.


On June 20, the CCRL issued a release decrying “C-16, Gender Identity and Gender Expression” as royal assent was given, and it became law, amending the Canadian Human Rights Act adding of gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination.


On July 18, we issued a statement against the Trudeau government’s Bill C – 51 which would have removed section 176, disturbing religious ceremonies, from the Criminal Code. A revised Bill did indeed maintain section 176.

On July 28, the Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) received news that our application for leave to intervene at the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) in the Trinity Western University (TWU) case was dismissed by the decision of Justice Wagner, dated July 27. It marked the first time that the League was denied intervenor status at the SCC.

On July 31 the CCRL received notice that the SCC, in an unprecedented move, had varied their order, thus allowing leave for the League.


On August 4, the Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) applied for leave to intervene at the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) in Judicial Committee of the Highwood Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses v. Wall. On this file, the CCRL has applied jointly with the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC). The case addresses whether a secular court can redecide and overturn a religious group’s internal means of administering its own decisions regarding discipline following non-adherence to internal rules.


On October 19, CCRL president Phil Horgan, and executive director Christian Elia, appeared before the Ontario Provincial Standing Committee on General Governance of the Ontario legislature to speak against the “Bubble Zone” Bill 163, Protecting a Woman’s Right to Access Abortion Services Act, 2017. The CCRL’s argument focussed on the Bill’s overreach and Charter infringement vis a vis freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of religion.


On November 16, the League issued a press release opposing Bill 24, An Act to Support Gay-Straight Alliances, which passed into law on November 15 in Alberta.


On December 1, the CCRL presented oral arguments before the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) as interveners in the Trinity Western University (TWU) Law School case.

Administrative and Development

Holy Week Message to CCRL Supporters and Emergency Appeal

August Newsletter and Appeal

December Christmas Cards


Christian and Phil both maintain active engagements on matters in the media on all issues related to faith in the public square and anti-Catholic defamation.

Both Phil and Christian are quoted regularly in the Catholic Register, Canadian Catholic News, LifeSite News, and the World News Group, in addition to CTV News Channel, and CBC Radio. Christian appeared on CBC’s The National.

Our Facebook and Twitter activity continues to grow.   Our largest area of growth can be attributed to Facebook advertising via boosting CCRL posts as a cost-effective means to target certain audiences.

About the CCRL

Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) ( assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. The CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization with a large nationwide membership base. The CCRL is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.

To donate to the CCRL, please click here.

For further information:

Christian Domenic Elia, PhD
CCRL Executive Director