Justin Trudeau could legitimately compel Canadians to indicate support for abortion only if abortion was a “law” or a “right”…it is neither.
Provision 287 of the Criminal Code previously restricting abortion in Canada was struck down by the Supreme Court in the 1988 Morgantaler decision, and parliament has yet to enact a new abortion law. Because there is no abortion law, there are currently no legal restrictions preventing or limiting when a woman can have an abortion. But that’s not the same as saying there is an abortion “law” which must be respected: there is no law – this is an indisputable fact.
And the Supreme Court has stated unequivocally that there is no constitutional “right” to abortion, adding that parliament has the legislative power to enact laws that place reasonable restrictions on abortion, something it could not do if abortion was a Charter right. This also means that citizens have the right to educate and organize other citizens to lobby government on the need for an abortion law, and freely express what they believe that law should be. This is how democracy works.
For the Liberal government to punish citizens for doing exactly that – exercising their democratic and charter rights – by compelling them to indicate support for abortion to qualify for funding (when abortion is neither a law nor a right) constitutes an “ideological purity test” which may suit a totalitarian, fascist regime, but has no place in a democracy.
Unlike abortion which is not a constitutional right, there are several fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Charter, including the freedom of “conscience” and the freedom of “religion.” These freedoms should protect citizens from being bullied into compliance and punished for disagreeing with Trudeau’s ideological stance on abortion. His attempt to circumvent our Charter rights represents a shameful abuse of his power as Prime Minister.
Kevin J Arsenault,
Just a bit of a correction. Charter rights may be limited by section 1 of the Charter. So I am not sure that you are correct in saying that abortion is not a right because it may not be limited. That said, it may not be a right for other reasons.
Section 1 of the Charter reads as follows: The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.
Point taken Martin. When I and others say that “abortion is not a constitutional or charter right” I think what is implied is that there is no right to “abortion on demand”. Having said that, circumstances might exist that would provide grounds to say that a particular law prohibiting abortion was “unconstitutional” – as happened in 1988 – because the requirements stipulated in that law infringed on other Charter Rights. The Abortion Law in the Criminal Code that was struck down, for example, required women to present before an abortion committee for a determination whether a request for an abortion in a particular case was in compliance with the criteria set for approving abortions. Yet the means to present were not ensured to all women – especially poor women in remote areas – so it was deemed to be unconstitutional. But regarding whether the Charter affords a “right” regardless of circumstances, it clearly doesn’t. Retired Chief Justice of the PEI Supreme Court has articulated this well in a Guest Opinion he published in the Guardian Newspaper: https://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/letter-to-the-editor/opinion-a-bridge-too-far-188081/
Thanks for that Kevin, I am pleased that you got back in touch with Laura, once again, keep up you valuable work,
You are absolutely right, Kevin.
Hi Kevin, once again I agree wholeheartedly with you and I applaud your professional presentation of the facts. That said, I must advise you of my disappointment with your attack on Laura Brown for the way she presented this story and the way she presented your point of view. Must I remind you that the media, as misguided as it can be, MUST present a full review of the issue and in this case I felt that my daughter did a very good job. The professional that SHE is, she wouldn’t relate to me all that you said but she was very disappointed in your review, I feel that you may have lost an opportunity to have your valuable work more widely publicized by this action. I am always amazed how we tend to forget our Christian principles in our attempt to verbalized the message of right and wrong, it’s a tall order and I’m sorry to say you may have alienated an individual who is trying very hard to be true to her beliefs as well as her profession. Might I suggest a humble apology……..
I did send Laura a second email commending her on doing a good story, despite my previous expression of disappointment that some of the more important information I shared during my interview didn’t make it into the story. I’ll share it with you:
Thanks for your reply. I understand and appreciate what you say. Perhaps I was hoping for too much and it wasn’t reasonable for me to have had such high expectations. I rewatched the story and on second viewing focused more on the entire story and not just my role in it I must say you actually did a super good job. It would have been just as good if I hadn’t appeared in it at all, though, so I guess that’s what I was focusing on when I emailed you…more or less that I wasn’t the right person to interview for that particular story. At any rate, kudos for taking on a sensitive topic and presenting information in a very fair and clear story for your viewers. And don’t take what I said too much to heart ☺ and keep up the good work.
P.S. sore throats and head colds can sometimes make me a bit grumpy