The Canadian Government has denied youth summer jobs to 26 organisations because officials felt they were attempting to weaken or limit access to abortion. The 26 organisations, a number of which were crisis pregnancy centres, found themselves denied funding because they are pro-life.
In 2018, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party introduced controversial changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program (a Canadian employment and skills initiative), which required that applicants attest that neither the job nor the core mandate of the organization to which they applied opposed abortion. In Canada abortion is available through all nine months of pregnancy for any reason.
Employment and Social Development Canada said 403 applicants for the Canada Summer Jobs program this year were deemed ineligible for the funding under new rules that say the money cannot be used to undermine abortion.
At the time, many organizations complained, arguing that it forced them to choose between their beliefs and money that helped them to run summer camps and other programs that had nothing to do with abortion.
The Liberal government responded to the outcry by changing the wording, requiring applicants to declare instead that the organization does not actively work to limit access to abortion.
Newly released documents reveal the federal government in Canada worked vociferously in at least some instances to ensure that pro-lifers did not receive any funding.
After their initial application, some organisations were pressed to be more specific in this regard and received a follow-up letter saying:
“Please provide additional information or clarification on the services your organization provides to women seeking access to sexual and reproductive health services.”
“The Government of Canada defines sexual and reproductive health services as including comprehensive sexuality education, family planning, prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence, safe and legal abortion, and post-abortion care,” said the letter.
The Canadian Press obtained the letter through the Access to Information Act.
This ideological discrimination against pro-lifers has been lauded by the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, which is said to have played a role in pushing the Liberal government to take this into account when deciding which groups receive funding.
Spokesperson for Right To Life UK Catherine Robinson said:
“Trudeau’s Government are engaging in ideological discrimination against pro-lifers. Their actions marginalise pro-lifers for the sole reason that they are pro-life.”
“Having lost the argument a long time ago, they are doing everything they can to disadvantage pro-lifers, to limit their spread and engagement with each other and mothers in need.”
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