OTTAWA, Ont., Nov. 6, 2007 – A member and officer of Canada’s civil service union, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), has brought a complaint before the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) against the union and the Treasury Board charging them with religious discrimination. David MacDonald alleges in his complaint to the Commission that he was “discriminated against and harassed based on my religious beliefs” by the Treasury board who refused his request to re-direct his union dues to avoid PSAC’s support for “same-sex marriage.”
MacDonald is an employee of Industry Canada and was elected as President of PSAC Local 70160 in Ottawa. In his written submission to the Commission, MacDonald wrote that the union has created a “hostile” work environment in its refusal to accept his religious objection to the union’s support for the homosexual “lifestyle”.
The case is related to that of Susan Comstock who is embroiled in a similar dispute with the Treasury Board over her union’s support of same-sex “marriage”. Mrs. Comstock, following her conversion to Catholicism, applied in October, 2004 to her employer, the Treasury Board of Canada, to have her dues diverted to a charity.
The Treasury Board of Canada refused the request, and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal refused to hear her complaint. In April this year, the Federal Court of Justice refused to consider a review of the Tribunal’s decision. An appeal has been filed with the Supreme Court of Canada.
In his application to the CHRC, MacDonald writes that as a Catholic, he could not participate in PSAC’s “advocacy of same-sex marriage” which “political agenda” he says, “in addition to being an affront to Catholics, goes way beyond the union’s objective of advancing worker’s rights.”
PSAC has also adopted a position of “zero tolerance” for what it terms “heterosexism,” which the union describes as “the presumption that everyone is heterosexual and that heterosexuality is superior to other forms of loving”.
This position on “heterosexism”, MacDonald said, places him in the position of being at risk of violating the union’s policy in any attempt he might make to defend his religious rights. “This has created an untenable situation,” he said, “and a stressful and at times, hostile, work environment.”
The issue, he stressed, is not a matter of unjust discrimination against homosexual persons, but one of his union forcing him through his dues to support an “inflammatory political cause.”
MacDonald alleges that after his PSAC local had passed a resolution to denounce the union’s national leadership for failing to support Comstock’s case, MacDonald received a series of emails he described as “hateful and anti-Catholic”. The emails were forwarded by PSAC assistant regional vice-president, Andy Albert who informed MacDonald that they were intended to explain the reason for PSAC’s refusal to support Mrs. Comstock.
The federal law that brought same-sex “marriage” into existence in 2005, explicitly prohibits discrimination based on religious beliefs. It says in section 3.1, “[N]o person shall be deprived of any benefit, or be subject to any obligation or sanction under any law of the Parliament of Canada solely by reason of their exercise, in respect of marriage between persons of the same sex, the freedom of conscience and religion guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or the expression of their beliefs in respect of marriage as the union of a man and woman to the exclusion of all others based on that guaranteed freedom”.
– With reports by Hilary White of LifeSite News