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...

Prolife, ALL IN: The CCRL supports the March for Life

Ottawa, ON May 10, 2018 – The Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) is pleased to extend its continued support for the national March for Life taking place in Ottawa today with representation from across the country. The theme for this year’s march is Prolife, ALL IN. CCRL Director from the National Capital Region Richard Bastien participated in EWTN’s live coverage from Parliament Hill. The League’s Ontario Director Tanya Granic Allen was also in Ottawa for the March for Life. We thank Patrick Craine and our friends at LifeSiteNews for the photograph. The right to life and the sanctity of human life is fundamental to all of the civil rights issues that the CCRL addresses through its work. Thousands of  people assembled on Parliament Hill and marched peacefully through downtown Ottawa despite efforts from a radical pro-abortion group to block the march. Provincial marches for life also take place simultaneously across Canada, drawing thousands more. Events in Ottawa include Masses, a candlelight vigil, youth workshops, the Rose Dinner and a youth banquet in addition to the march itself. The CCRL thanks our friends at Campaign Life Coalition for the wonderful work that they do each year with the March for Life. 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 CCRL Opposes Alberta Bill 9, Protecting Choice for Women Accessing Health Care Act

TORONTO, ON April 11, 2018 – The Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) expresses its disappointment with the Alberta NDP government’s introduction of Bill 9, Protecting Choice for Women Accessing Health Care Act, which is a clear overreach and Charter infringement vis a vis freedoms of speech, expression, assembly, and religion. The CCRL’s opposition to Bill 9 is based on the following: The government has failed to identify or address any need for the intrusion and limitation into the constitutional right to freedom of expression and assembly. In fact, a recent pro-abortion funded peer-reviewed study released in 2016 found no such instances of vandalism or intimidation at Alberta abortion clinics: http://www.cfp.ca/content/62/4/e209 The bill’s penal sanctions are an intrusion into the federal power over criminal law, and they present a lowering of the thresholds typically required to constitute the offence of “harassment” under the Criminal Code The provincial NDP government is engaging in political suppression of dissenting viewpoints, with the invention of the need for broad areas of “no go” zones, the total effect of which is an overreach to impose its dubious objectives This Bill proposes to make protest illegal within a radius of 50 metres of abortion clinics. Doctors and abortion service providers could also request a buffer zone up to 160 metres for their homes or 20 metres for their offices. Protesters could face up to $5,000 in fines and six months in jail for a first offence. There are harsher penalties for subsequent offences, including fines up to $10,000 and one year in prison. For a copy of the CCRL’s written submission in respect of Ontario’s Safe...

An Easter Message from CCRL President Phil Horgan

TORONTO, ON April 2, 2018 – Please accept the CCRL’s very best for a joyous Easter. Christ is risen! Truly, He is risen! Inspiration for the journey of the next 50 days, and thereafter, can come from the encounter with Jesus on the road to Emmaus. While only a short reference in Mark 16:12-13, the story of that encounter in Luke 24:13-35 later in the day of Easter Sunday holds much to contemplate. We, as disciples, need to be open to the word of God in our midst: “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” Ultimately, we encounter Jesus in the sacraments – as in the Eucharist, with the disciples at Emmaus, or the parallel story of the encounter with the eunuch by Philip, resulting in his baptism. His presence changes us, and encourages the disciples to be more hospitable, “Stay with us”. After the encounter, the disciples return to Jerusalem, in a missionary zeal, where Christ appears to the apostles gathered there. In some cases, our zeal needs to be incorporated within our own homes, within our own extended families, or within our own parish communities. We may then be better suited to take on the encounter with the broader society with the zeal found in the encounter with the risen Christ. Let us find that time with our risen Lord, and be ambassadors of the joy of His victory over death. Phil Horgan, CCRL President   About the CCRL Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) (www.ccrl.ca) assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings...