TORONTO, ON Oct. 10, 2008 – The Catholic Civil Rights League commented on the presentation of the Order of Canada to Henry Morgentaler, who is scheduled to receive his medal today at a ceremony in Quebec City.


Executive Director Joanne McGarry stated: “As we noted at the time Morgentaler’s nomination was announced, this award brings divisiveness and controversy to the Order. It also associates the Order with the millions of lives cut short by abortion. The Governor General’s press release of October 9 does not mention “abortion”, but rather engages in the soft euphemism of increasing “health care options for Canadian women”.  It is curious that the governor general’s press office cites purported advances to women’s health, but callously ignores how innocent lives have been obliterated by this man and his advocacy.


“No other appointment to the Order has generated the backlash seen with this appointment. The Order of Canada has now been irrevocably stained by these actions, to the horror of millions of Canadians.”

* Court asked to review honours’ processes.

This appointment has already been the subject of unprecedented protest in the form of vigils, petitions, letters, e-mails and phone calls.  The Secretariat of the Order refuses to disclose how the Advisory Council came to this decision.  The Governor General has been required to change its website on a number of occasions to modify how recipients of the award are determined.  Leading observers of the history of the Order have had to reassess what had been understood to be a process above scrutiny.


On this Thanksgiving weekend, the League hopes all Canadians will give thanks for the many blessings we enjoy in Canada, enjoy time with family and friends, and reflect on the steps that can be taken to restore the Order of Canada to its rightful place.  


About CCRL
Catholic Civil Rights League ( 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. CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization and has chapters across Canada. The Catholic Civil Rights League is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.


For further information: Joanne McGarry, Executive Director, 416-466-8244;


– See also statement by His Grace Archbishop Collins.