The CCRL Files Submission to Health Canada’s Public Consultation on Palliative Care

Toronto, ON July 17, 2018 – The Catholic Civil Rights League filed a submission today with Health Canada in response to their public consultation “a framework for palliative care in Canada”. According to the federal government this framework “will help support improved access to palliative care and will provide a useful reference point across jurisdictions to help identify opportunities, address gaps, and share promising practices”. Our complete submission is as follows: A Framework for Palliative Care – Submission of the Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) The Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) advocates in support of law and policy compatible with a Christian and reasoned understanding of human nature and the common good, and in particular, law and policy that promotes fundamental Christian morals and values, including the sanctity of life and respect for human dignity. Palliative Care Remains Limited as Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia Expands Thank you for the opportunity to make the following submission. The CCRL has previously argued that the regime of assisted suicide enshrined in law by the Liberal government had failed to address or take into account the inadequacy of palliative care as a treatment option in Canada. Prior to assisted suicide and euthanasia several studies indicated the crisis in Canada regarding the lack of comprehensive palliative care. For example, according to a study in 2007, only 16% to 30% of Canadians who died in that decade had access to hospice based palliative and end-of-life care services – depending on where they lived in Canada, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, Health Care Use at the End of Life in Western Canada (Ottawa:...

Supreme Court Finds Religious Discrimination Against Trinity Western, Yet Still Refuses to Permit Accreditation of its Proposed Law School

Toronto, ON June 15, 2018 – The Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) notes the irony in today’s majority decision. A proposed Christian law school, with a stated emphasis to educate lawyers in the charitable and non-profit sectors, has been denied accreditation of its graduates by two provincial law societies. The court’s ruling limits diversity of legal education options of a previously approved law school, by expanding the notion of a public interest test over enumerated grounds for religious freedom in the Charter. And while 8 of 9 judges recognized an infringement of TWU’s rights to religious freedom, the 7-2 majority found that the law societies were “justified” in making a “balanced” decision not to accredit the previously approved law school. In effect, the Supreme Court has allowed the non-accreditation of a single proposed Christian law school, which proposed to add 60 new spaces for potential law students to gain entry to the profession, on the basis that it imposed an “inequitable barrier on entry to the profession”, without explaining how any existing available law school spaces were affected. The minority decision is highly critical of the majority. The decision of the law societies should have been focused on whether proposed graduates met competence and ethical standards, for which there was no issue. The reliance on a referendum to make decisions affecting constitutionally protected rights needed the further explanation or treatment by the law society benchers, which was not provided. Amorphous and undefined Charter “values” cannot be seen as overruling what two judges described as a profound interference with TWU’s religious freedoms, and was contrary to the state’s duty of...

The CCRL Applauds Supreme Court Decision in Highwood Congregation v. Wall

Toronto, ON May 31, 2018 – The Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) applauds today’s unanimous ruling in the appeal of Highwood Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses v. Randy Wall, as a strong statement in recognition of the independence of private religious institutions. The CCRL intervened jointly with the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC), asserting that ecclesiastical decisions, including decisions over qualifications or determination of membership, or decisions on internal discipline, should not be subject to judicial oversight absent some other legal basis. Our brief submitted that secular courts are not qualified to make rulings on theological or ecclesiastical concerns. Moreover, it was submitted that the Charter was not applicable to private entities, or if the court found the Charter to apply, that the broad protection of freedom of religion in section 2(a) of the Charter should be found in favour of the congregation in this case. Today, the Supreme Court, in a unanimous 9-0 ruling, overturned the lower court’s allowance of a judicial review claim of a Jehovah’s Witness congregation’s decision to “disfellow” Mr. Hughes over its assessment of his “sinful” behaviour. Writing the judgment of the Court, Mr. Justice Malcolm Rowe stated at Para 12: “First, judicial review is reserved for state action. In this case, the Congregation’s Judicial Committee was not exercising statutory authority. Second, there is no free-standing right to procedural fairness. Courts may only interfere to address the procedural fairness concerns related to the decisions of religious groups or other voluntary associations if legal rights are at stake. Third, even where review is available, the courts will consider only those issues that are justiciable. Issues of...

CCRL Spring Dinner 2018 to be hosted in Toronto on June 18 with Guest Speaker Tanya Granic Allen

Toronto, ON May 30, 2018 – The Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) is pleased to announce that its annual Spring Dinner will take place in Toronto on June 18 at 6:30 pm at the Sala Caboto Ballroom at 40 Playfair Ave, west of Dufferin, south of Lawrence. Tickets are $125 each for individuals. We are offering a special rate of $1000 for a table of 10. We encourage organizations, or even groups of friends to save money and help the CCRL by organizing a table. With either option an RSVP is required by calling (416) 466-8244 or 1-844-722-CCRL or by emailing ccrl@ccrl.ca. The evening will include a talk by Tanya Granic Allen. The 2018 Archbishop Adam Exner Award for Catholic Excellence in Public Life will be presented to Dr. Catherine Ferrier. For Spring Dinner tickets, please email ccrl@ccrl.ca or call 416-466-8244 or 1-844-722-CCRL     About the CCRL Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) (www.ccrl.ca) 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 416-466-8244 @CCRLtweets  ...

Dr. Catherine Ferrier, Winner of CCRL’s Exner Award

Toronto, ON May 18, 2018 – The Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) is pleased to announce that it has chosen Catholic physician Dr. Catherine Ferrier from Montreal as winner of this year’s Archbishop Adam Exner Award for Catholic Excellence in Public Life. The award will be presented at the CCRL’s annual Spring Dinner on June 18 in Toronto at 6:30 pm at the Sala Caboto Ballroom at 40 Playfair Ave, west of Dufferin, south of Lawrence, featuring a keynote address by Tanya Granic Allen, CCRL Ontario Director and President of Parents as First Educators (PAFE). CCRL President Phil Horgan confirmed the League’s selection: Dr. Catherine Ferrier has used her talents and skills far beyond providing medical care to her patients, advancing studies in geriatrics, or teaching future doctors from her base in Montreal, or at McGill University. We recognize the tireless work of Dr. Ferrier in our modest way with the League’s Exner Award and we thank her for her professional excellence. Dr. Ferrier has been an active opponent to euthanasia since the mid 1990s.  From 2010, Dr. Ferrier has been active in the formation of Living with Dignity, an organization established to protect the life and the inherent and inalienable dignity of people who have become vulnerable through illness, old age, or disability. In 2012, Dr. Ferrier was part of the original group of Quebec doctors to form the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia, to take on the challenge imposed by governments and lobbyists who sought to introduce and impose euthanasia into Quebec and Canadian society. She continues to serve as its President since 2014. She continues to participate...