OTTAWA, July 1, 2008 – The Catholic Civil Rights League today criticized the granting of the Order of Canada to Henry Morgentaler. Today’s announcement of the award, rumoured since late last week despite the fact that Canada’s best known abortionist was not on the list for this year, took many by surprise both by bypassing normal procedures for the award, and the controversy that has always followed the recipient.
“We are shocked and disappointed that our nation’s highest civilian honour would be granted to its best-known champion of abortion, or as many call it, the culture of death,” said League Executive Director Joanne McGarry. “We are also deeply troubled by reports that normal procedures – including the unanimous agreement of the committee – were bypassed, as well as the wishes of countless Canadians. For example, an online poll by the Globe and Mail, with over 300,000 respondents, went 92% to 8% against giving the award to Morgentaler.
In the League’s view, this is a real insult to the many exemplary Canadians who have received the honour for their dedication to charity, culture and community improvement.
How has Morgentaler contributed to Canada, and why would these contributions be honoured on our national holiday?
Certainly he has influenced the numbers available for Canada Day parties, since without his efforts our population would be several million higher. He helped create the legal void that has left Canada with no abortion law at all, a situation that is unique among Western nations. Late term abortions, including partial birth procedures, may be rare in Canada, but they face no legal sanction. Now that the government has at least implicity embraced abortion, through the granting of this award, can it credibly address this legal void should a future parliament wish to do so?
We do need to remember that the damage Morgentaler helped unleash is bigger than one person. Had his views not been held by many other people, in the medical world and outside it, the culture of death would not have spiraled, and quite possibly we would not have reason to believe that abortions are being done for reasons of sex selection in some communities.
With the provision of payments remitted by various governments through their respective health plans, Canada has already helped make Morgentaler a millionaire. The Committee has now chosen to bring scorn to the process of the Order of Canada. We should be especially mindful when singing the national anthem this year, in reflecting on the millions of sons and daughters whose lives were tragically cut short owing to Morgentaler’s advocacy.
The League will continue to honour and recognize the efforts of the many Canadians who enhance and support life through their work with pro-life groups, crisis pregnancy agencies, educational initiatives, food banks, street missions and international missions.
Statement from Archbishop Thomas Collins, and Canadian Physicians for Life
Catholic Civil Rights League (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. 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.
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Catholic Civil Rights League