Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast has assailed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for denying summer employment funding to groups that do not support abortion, and for his hypocrisy as a pro-abortion “Catholic.”
“Employment and Social Development Canada can now deny organizations summer job funding if they fail to endorse a non-existent right,” the archbishop wrote in a recent op-ed in the Ottawa Sun, referring to a move by the Trudeau government limiting funding to groups that embrace abortion rights.
The prime minister has implemented new criteria to qualify for youth employment funding, Prendergast noted, which undermines the “freedoms and rights” guaranteed to Canadians.
“The federal government offers public funds to groups that hire youths for the summer and for service projects,” he said. “These jobs provide valuable services to the community through many small organizations, charities and different church denominations, including several parishes in the Ottawa region.”
These groups are now excluded under the new criteria, the archbishop observed, since to be eligible for summer student funding, an employer must attest that both the job and the organization’s core mandate respect so-called “reproductive rights,” which clearly eliminates Christian associations.
“We cannot affirm that we support a (non-existent) right to abortion, which is what the euphemism ‘reproductive rights’ means,” he wrote.
In response to his critics, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that any organization “that has as its stated goal to remove rights from Canadians, to remove the right that women have fought for to determine what happens to their own bodies, is not in line with where the charter (of Rights) is or where the government of Canada is.”
In his op-ed, the archbishop recalled that the Canadian charter makes no mention of reproductive rights, calling them an “invention” of the prime minister.
“There are no charter reproductive rights or reproductive freedoms despite the prime minister’s claims,” Prendergast said. “Any Canadian can verify this by reading the Charter of Rights and Freedoms online. Nonetheless, Employment and Social Development Canada can now deny organizations summer job funding if they fail to endorse a non-existent right.”
Moving on from the recent ruling to the prime minister’s own “confusion” as a pro-abortion Catholic, Prendergast noted the gaping inconsistency in Trudeau’s position.
The archbishop decried “the prime minister’s confused personal comments regarding the logically impossible coexistence of his identity as a Roman Catholic and his support of abortion” as well as his invention of a supposed right to abortion in Canada’s charter of rights.
“Even if Trudeau were not a Catholic Christian,” Prendergast said, he simply “cannot invent, promote or defend a non-existent right.”
Under Trudeau, the federal government is “coercing a controversial attestation from pliant employers and is punishing employers who cannot, in good conscience, agree,” he lamented.
For its part, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) have written a joint letter calling the attestation “coercion on matters of conscience and religious belief” and denouncing the measure as an attack on religious freedom.
“This new policy conflicts directly with the right to freedom of religion and conscience which too are enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as in associated case law,” the bishops stated.
“It seriously undermines the right to religious freedom since the Government of Canada is directly limiting the right of religious traditions to hold, teach and practise their principles and values in public,” they said.
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