Statement from His Grace, Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto

July 1, 2008

Canada’s highest honour has been debased. Henry Morgentaler has been awarded the Order of Canada. We are all diminished.

A community’s worth is measured by the way it treats the most vulnerable, and no one is more vulnerable than in the first nine months of life’s journey. No person may presume to judge the soul of Henry Morgentaler, but it cannot be denied that the effect of his life’s work has been a deadly assault upon the most helpless amongst us.

Canada glories in the names of Banting and Best, and the other medical heroes who selflessly brought healing where there was disease and suffering. Now it honours with the Order of Canada a medical man who has brought not healing, but the destruction of the defenseless and immeasurable grief. This award must not stand.

I earnestly appeal to all who are tempted to resort to an abortionist, or are pressured to do so by those around them. I urge you to contact organizations such as Birthright, and others who will support you and love you and your precious child. Contact your parish. We are here for you. I pledge to you the support of the Catholic Church. Look to our archdiocesan website at for information concerning places where you may find loving help.

For those who have had an abortion, and bear within your heart the fearful grief, I urge you to contact us, to find love and support in your anguish, and in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, to find the gift of inner peace.

I ask the faithful of the Archdiocese of Toronto, and all people of good will, to protest this act of dishonour. Write, phone, or e-mail the Governor General, the Prime Minister, and your Member of Parliament. Ask that this action be revoked.

This coming Sunday will be a day of special prayer in the Archdiocese of Toronto, for an end to the evil of abortion. I have asked that the following prayer be inserted in the Prayer of the Faithful in all the churches of the archdiocese:

 “That the scourge of abortion be lifted from our land, that those who promote it may be
 brought to a change of heart, that all who are tempted to abortion may be lovingly helped
 to protect the  precious gift of life, and that all who have experienced an abortion may be
 comforted with the healing gift of love.”

Statement from The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
Statement from the Catholic Office for Life and Family

Statement from Dr. Will Johnston, President of Canadian Physicians for Life,
July 1, 2008

Abortion remains the open and running sore of Canadian civic life. There is not, at present, sufficient revulsion of it among women to eradicate it, but it is not credible that the political majority which tolerates and ignores it also wants it to be honoured.  And let us be clear – to honour Henry Morgentaler with the Order of Canada would be to honour abortion, for he did nothing else of note.

In fact, he was found guilty of “not holding a valid interview before an abortion, for failing almost completely to gather a case history of his client, for failing to perform the necessary pregnancy test or blood test, for not obtaining pathological examination of the ’tissues’ removed and for failing to follow up the state of health of his patients afterward.” Not a Nobel prize candidate.

The news that the Order of Canada might be abused in this contentious and partisan way came to me as I was cycling on an idyllic Gulf Island with my daughter. Those thousands of little daughters made into nothing by Henry Morgentaler deserved to live as much as the daughter I love so much. And as our daughter does not deserve to live just because her parents love her, so those many daughters killed by Henry Morgentaler did not deserve to die just because they were, for the moment, not loved enough. 

It exhausts my overtaxed powers of indignation to see the Order of Canada miscarried in such a way. The award was meant to be a celebration of good works in which all Canada could wholeheartedly share. A career  reviled by millions as spent in the service of death is the wrong subject matter for such an accolade. It will be more than unfortunate if those few entrusted with the privilege of granting our national honours persist, through loud alarms, in such a bitterly divisive mistake.   

Rumor has it that the committee which chose to venerate Morgentaler  failed to achieve the normally required unanimity and, if so, resorted to overriding the dissent by opting for the brute force of a majority vote. The Canadian system of honours should be a nation-unifying institution, not a focus of strife and a vulnerable target for political manipulation. If there is a sudden enthusiasm for true democracy on the topic of abortion, how about a referendum for all women to decide whether and when to protect the unborn child?

Membership in the Order of Canada can be (and has been) rescinded. In Morgentaler’s case, there would be no other way to reclaim the honour of an Order tainted by his appointment.

Contact info for the offices overseeing the Order of Canada:
Committee Members (Advisory Council) who preside over the Order of Canada nominations: 

1) Chair of the Council:
Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin, P.C., Chief Justice of Canada, Telephone:  613-992-6940
2) Clerk of the Privy Council:
Dr. Kevin Lynch, Clerk of the Privy Council, Telephone:  613-957-5400
3) Deputy Minister of the Department of Canadian Heritage:
Ms. Judith LaRocque, Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage,  Telephone:  819-994-1132
3) Chair of the Canada Council:
Ms. Karen Kain, C.C., Chair, Canada Council for the Arts, Telephone:  1-800-263-5588
4) President of the Royal Society of Canada:
Dr. Yvan Guindon, C.M., President, Royal Society of Canada, Telephone:  613-991-6990
Prof. Yvan Guindon, c.m., Directeur, Laboratoire de chimie bio-organique, Téléphone:  514-987-5785
5) Chair of the Board of Directors of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada:
Mr. Thomas Traves, Ph.D., Chair, Board of Directors, Ass’n of Universities and Colleges of Canada, Telephone:  613-563-1236
Mr. Thomas Traves, Ph.D., President and Vice Chancellor, Dalhousie University,  Telephone:  902-494-2511
Ms. Sheila-Marie Cook, Secretary to the Governor General, Rideau Hall, Telephone:  613-993-8200; Toll-free: 1-800-465-6890; Fax: 613-998-8760; email:
Ms. Emmanuelle Sajous, Deputy Secretary, Order of Canada Chancellery, Telephone: 613-998-8731