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,