The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

Derek Ross and Sarah Mix-Ross

Labelling pro-life views as ‘anti-Charter’ is wrong – and sets a dangerous precedent.

By Derek Ross and Sarah Mix-Ross February 23, 2018 23 February 2018

Labelling pro-life views as ‘anti-Charter’ is wrong – and sets a dangerous precedent.

 

The national controversy surrounding the Canada Summer Jobs program has avalanched far beyond a mere “kerfuffle”. The government’s attempts at clarification have only generated further debate, but one thing has been made clear: the program is designed to exclude groups expressing views, especially on abortion, with which the government disagrees.

This may be unsurprising, even uncontroversial for some – what government doesn’t favour projects furthering its vision of the public good? Except here, the government won’t admit that it is motivated by mere disagreement (presumably this would concede too much credibility to targeted groups, and expose a partisan motivation for the new requirements). Instead, the government suggests that exclusion of pro-life groups from its public programs (including the newly announced Canada Service Corps) is mandated by the Charter because these groups have the “specific and explicit” purpose of removing human rights.

This is a misappropriation of rights language; it is both disingenuous and dangerous.

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