The Church believes principles inform actions, even if PM doesn't


National Post, 24 January 2018

How can the government tell churches that their beliefs are not part of their 'core mandate'? What — literally in God’s name — is the point otherwise?

On Tuesday, the federal government attempted to salvage something from the wreckage of its crude attempt to turn the Canada Summer Jobs Program into an exercise in abortion absolutism. Having been denounced by friend and foe alike for its insistence that all applicants for the program assent to its extreme abortion position, the federal Liberals published “supplementary information” to explain how applicants can still get the money.

Which demonstrated again how clueless this government is about the fundamental freedoms at stake. The employment minister, Patricia Hajdu, thinks that private citizens, small-business owners and churches want to find a fig leaf that will enable them to swear the government’s loyalty oath on abortion. She cannot seem to understand that they find it unjust and unconstitutional for the government to force them to say something that they don’t believe, or discriminate against them when they profess what they do believe.

Despite the additional information, applicants must still attest that “both the job and the organization’s core mandate respect … the right to access safe and legal abortions … and the rights of gender-diverse and transgender Canadians.”

The key clarification is that the “core mandate” is the “primary activities undertaken by the organization that reflect the organization’s ongoing services provided to the community. It is not the beliefs of the organization, and it is not the values of the organization.”

In a failed attempt to make things better, Hajdu has made thing worse. Worse still, she has not the faintest idea of why she is going backwards, as the terrain of human rights appears alien to her.

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