TORONTO, ON January 11, 2018 – The Canada Summer Jobs Program fiasco is the latest example of the Trudeau government’s abortion absolutism, but it actually serves to reveal its constitutional incompetence as applied to all Canadians.

Previously, the Prime Minister made it clear that there was no place for prolife Canadians in the Liberal Party of Canada, stipulating that such individuals could not run for office within that party.

The revised application process for the 2018 Canada Summer Jobs Program takes this fundamentalism further. To be eligible to participate, prospective employers, largely charities and non-profit agencies, must attest that the “the core mandate of the organization” respects “reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.” The document is explicit: included under “reproductive rights” is “the right to access safe and legal abortions.”

The idea that the “right to safe and legal abortions” is a fundamental right is a belief of the current ruling party, admitted as much by the Prime Minister yesterday.

But the truth is that no such right is part of either the Charter of Rights and Freedoms or of case law. Moreover, unfettered access to abortion is a position which is not supported by a majority of Canadians: see the Environics/Life Canada poll, where 6 in 10 Canadians support protection for the unborn at some stage of pregnancy.

Based on the government’s newly proclaimed policy, it is not enough that employers respect and observe the laws of Canada, they must affirm loyalty to a set of values which they may find deeply wrong.

Any Catholic individual or organization, which professes fidelity to the teachings of the Church, cannot make this affirmation, and is thereby excluded from a program which should be open to all law-abiding organizations. A firm and principled rejection of abortion is inseparable from an adherence to the Catholic faith. Moreover, it recognizes the humanity of all of us, as we were once all unborn children, with separate DNA codes from our parents, as recent work in neonatology advises us.

The CCRL sought such funding in 2017, without any proposal to pursue prolife initiatives. Our application was denied.

Now we know why. The explicit provision adopted for 2018 is tantamount to stating, “faithful Catholics (or other prolife organizations) need not apply.”

All tax paying Canadians, whether of prolife views or not, should be appalled at such a position.

The Prime Minister’s position at “drawing a line” on prolife positions is utterly unacceptable, since it violates the very Charter of Rights and Freedoms which is cited by the government as the basis of its policy. It allows certain policy positions to trump constitutional protections. It suggests that in order to receive government benefits, compliance with the government’s position is required. It actually serves to suppress free speech and association rights, by requiring compelled speech, or silence, in compliance with the ideology of the governing party.

The Prime Minister has now made explicit that he espouses the views of the Borg from Star Trek fame: “Resistance is futile; prepare to be assimilated.”

The government’s fundamentalist views on abortion advocacy are being used to suppress opposition. (But just keep the tax payments flowing please…)

The policy does not merely say that program funds cannot be used for prolife activism – which is what certain elements in the government are trying to suggest – it is the case that even employment totally unrelated to abortion activism requires an institution to affirm its commitment to a position which it finds utterly unacceptable.

The CCRL maintains that Canada must respect authentic pluralism. Consider the implications of this anti-pluralist approach:

  • Will those thinking of immigrating to Canada be told that they will be expected not only to obey the law, but to follow the policies of the ruling party?
  • Will the delivery of other federal support programs be subject to a religious means test?

We call upon the government to revoke this unconstitutional and deeply offensive provision immediately.

Canadians of all faiths must recognize what is at stake. The “totalitarian impulse” continues from several governments and government actors, whether it be on bubble zones in Ontario, the right of a British Columbia Christian school of law to be accredited by provincial law societies, the demand for “effective referrals” from objecting physicians to certain procedures as matters of conscience, or now the denial of funding for summer jobs with religious charities.

In words that perhaps the Prime Minister may understand, given that he has tossed aside key tenets of his Catholic faith, we will continue to oppose the Borg.

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.

For further information:

Christian Domenic Elia, PhD
CCRL Executive Director