Both businesses and not-for-profit organizations are eligible for Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ), and the federal government specifically says they welcome applications from faith-based organizations in the application form. But recently, Canada made a rule change and some religious institutions can’t agree to that - CSJ applicants will be required to attest that both the job and the organization’s core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights. These include reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.
“An organization that has the explicit purpose of restricting women’s rights by removing rights to abortion and the rights for women to control their own bodies is not in line with where we are as a government and quite frankly where we are as a society,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said then at a town hall in Hamilton, Ontario.
Trudeau was asked a question at a recent town hall about Canada Summer Jobs, a government-sponsored program that gives subsidies to groups offering temporary work to students. Churches are, of course, still eligible for government funds but if they advocate against abortion rights and inclusion of LGBTQ communities, they would not be suitable to be funded by the state. Here is the part of Trudeau’s answer to that question:
However, there are certain groups that are specifically dedicated to fighting abortion rights for women and inclusion of LGBTQ communities. And that is wrong. ...
That is certainly not something that the federal government should be funding summer students to do, to roll back the clock on women’s rights. That’s not gonna happen. This government will continue to be unequivocal. We will stand up for women’s rights, we will defend women’s rights, and the rights of the LGBT community, regardless of what folks in certain religious groups try to push us against.
You have organizations out there, like the Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform that have been receiving thousands upon thousands of dollars of government money — of taxpayer money — to distribute hateful fliers of aborted fetuses to try and convince people to remove the right of a woman to control her reproductive choices. That is not something the federal government is going to fund. ...
We are not rolling back the clock on women’s rights. And I know that makes a few people upset, but there is no way government funding is going to organizations that have the specific and explicit purpose of limiting women’s rights, period.
Nice, touching and brave speech and defense of everything that is normal, without hiding behind diplomatic responses or succumbing to political pressure. Bravo, Trudeau!
Photo Credits: Finanza Operativa