May 20th, 2018

Liberals infringing on Charter rights

By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on February 2, 2018.

Today is the deadline to apply for the Canada Summer Jobs program. At first glance, this might not matter much to you, especially if you don’t own your own business, manage a not-for-profit, or participate in a faith-based group; however, this federal program has become the battleground on which the fundamental freedoms of Canadians are coming under attack.

To qualify for funding this year, organizations must sign a new attestation stating that their “core mandate” agrees with the Liberals’ beliefs on abortion. The application page couldn’t be clearer: “this includes sexual and reproductive rights – and the right to access safe and legal abortions.”

This is a big deal for many faith-based charities that have previously qualified for funding. While nearly all of these groups don’t do anything to protest abortions, they also don’t see their core mandate as advocating for abortion rights.

In short, the Liberals are asking these organizations to renounce their core beliefs in order to access federal funding. This is an alarming attack on religious freedoms.

This constraint will have a broad impact on employment opportunities for Canadian youth. Hundreds of summer camps run by religious organizations across the country will be denied funding, putting an end to summer jobs for thousands of young people.

Many food banks and services to those who are poor or housing-insecure could lose their funding for summer jobs because of their faith affiliations. I know of several faith-based charities here in Lethbridge that have done a remarkable job at caring for the needs of refugees; they, too, will be denied funding.

The Liberals have attempted to do damage control by stating they define the “core mandate” as the primary activities of an organization, not as a reflection of the faith beliefs at the foundation of an organization.

However, for many religiously devoted individuals, they cannot separate their actions from the beliefs that motivate them. Their belief in the value of human life is the very principle that drives them to help feed and clothe those who don’t have the means to provide for themselves.

Faith-based charities and organizations in Canada have a long history of fighting for the poor and the vulnerable, increasing civic participation and making our communities stronger.

Most charitable organizations that are more than a couple decades old have their origins in a faith community, such as the YMCA/YWCA, the Red Cross, or United Way. Several of the largest charitable organizations in Canada continue to be faith-based establishments, such as the Salvation Army and World Vision.

The Liberals have justified this attack on faith-based organizations as being rooted in ‘Charter rights,” which begs the question: when is the last time the Liberals read the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and how good is their memory?

Section Two of the Charter protects a long list of fundamental freedoms, including the right to freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of thought and freedom of belief.

To compel organizations to agree to a government-dictated value statement not only infringes on their Charter rights but also stands as an abomination to democracy!

More than 76 per cent of Canadians identify as having a personal faith. This includes Christians, Jews, Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists, plus many smaller religions. This means the vast majority of taxpayer dollars used to fund the Canada Summer Jobs Grant are contributed by people of faith.

Here in Lethbridge, I’ve talked with more than 15 organizations that won’t be able to apply for funding due to the values statement they are required to sign. As a result, young people will lose out on job opportunities and the community will miss out on terrific programs and services that are traditionally offered by these organizations.

In Toronto, a multi-faith coalition of more than 50 organizations representing all of these faiths has come out against this values test. Many of these organizations believe they cannot sign this attestation in good faith.

Sadly, at the end of the day, those who will be impacted the most are young people looking for summer employment and the most vulnerable among us who would have been helped by the tremendous work done by faith-based organizations across our country.

If you agree that the current government is infringing on Charter rights by requiring organizations to sign their values statement, please take action!

Here’s how: Send an email to the Minister of Employment, Workforce, and Labour, Patty Hajdu, at and/or sign petition e-1434 on the House of Commons website at:

If you have a story to share about how the government’s changes will impact you or your organization, please take a moment to share with my colleagues and me by going to the following website: http://www.garnettgenuismp.


Thank you for making your voice heard!

Rachael Harder is the Conservative MP for Lethbridge. Her column appears monthly.

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20 Responses to “Liberals infringing on Charter rights”

  1. grinandbearit says:

    Our representative is distorting the present situation in a significant way to manipulate people to support her agenda advancing political christianity. The new policy about obtaining government support for summer jobs requires 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.”
    You are still free to express dislike for reproductive rights, to be against gays and lesbians marrying, to advocate for discrimination against muslims or atheists, etc.
    The policy does not require that anyone believe in freedom from discrimination and respect for rights or change the nature of our worship or religious expression, it simply says that federal tax money will not be used to support attacks on Canadian human rights, including religious, reproductive, and gender rights. These are not “Liberal beliefs”, these are our core human rights in this country.
    Why should our common tax fund pay to undermine our common core values? Use your own money to promote political christianity’s perennial campaigns to undermine our rights and freedoms.

    • Tony Pargeter says:

      Excellent! Precisely it. And you have coined an apt phrase– “political Christianity.”
      Makes me think of Christian soldiers, marching as to war….it’s on.
      You should send this in so more people could read it.

    • Steve Bottrell says:

      Harder being disingenuous at best. Why should our common tax fund pay for any thing any religion does? Promoting delusions is not good, even worse with tax money. Trying to make it a job issue is a distraction from the issue. I had some good laughs reading her article tho. For example.
      “Faith-based charities and organizations in Canada have a long history of fighting for the poor and the vulnerable, increasing civic participation and making our communities stronger.”
      Hysterically funny.

      • diplomacy works says:

        If only they would stick to fighting for the poor.
        The modern Conservative is more inclined to fight for wealth to stay with the wealthy. Hence the emphasis on tax cuts.
        The poor get proselytized. And maybe a bowl of soup.

    • IMO says:

      Indeed, grinandbearit! Why should the common taxpayer continue to subsidise faith based tax exempt organisations? It would be of interest to learn, just in this community, how many tax dollars are NOT collected because of the current tax exemption status for faith based institutions. Seems to me, with the number of existing faith based properties locally, substantial funding could be available. Multiply that across the province, across the nation – this loss of revenue could fund a considerable number of summer employment programs.

      Because faith based institutions are tax exempt, to assert that “this federal program has become the battleground on which the fundamental freedoms of Canadians are coming under attack” is hyperbolic rhetoric and just plain silly.

    • snoutspot4 says:

      @grinandbearit and other commenters: Nailed it. I am sick and tired of religious institutions that pay few if any monies in tax dollars into the coffers and yet want federal tax money to fund their continued fight to control all of us. MP Harder was bankrolled by her base, has an agenda, and that agenda is to force citizens to behave according to some biblical prescription. That agenda includes stripping women of their personhood in service of her own religious beliefs. She and her CPC brethren want their church to be our state. She and her brethren are openly advocating for theocratical dictatorship. It’s the same pervasive and perverse fight by Christians to take government funds for public schooling and then use those funds for indoctrination (i.e., the myth that creationism = science). MP Harder’s use of the Summer Jobs grants last year were for two organizations that are known to distribute false or misleading information to women regarding pregnancy termination, including threats of dire consequences. How on earth do these groups and MP Harder justify taking public funds to terrorize young women into believing that they are worth nothing more than their ability to be an incubator?

  2. johnny57 says:

    Yes Rachael!…Our highest court in the land has to strike this down! If not! then one will surely be able to hear the footsteps of the “Thought Police” close behind us.

  3. diplomacy works says:

    No one is infringing on your freedom of belief and/or religion.

    Simply, you must state that you will not use federal funds to infringe on the rights and beliefs of others, including women’s reproductive rights & other Charter Rights.

    You openly state you cannot separate belief from action – a rather pathological stance but in this case, simply means no federal funds for you.

    Ms. Harder’s commentary is twisted and geared toward upsetting and motivating the base. If it were actually a call to oppose the Liberal attestation, she would have started it long before the deadline.

    BTW – “The Federal Court of Canada has dismissed a request by an anti-abortion group suing the government over changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program for an injunction barring the change from applying to applications submitted this year.”

  4. HaroldP says:

    Firstly, thank you MP Harder for your informative reports which I look forward to in our Lethbridge Herald. Secondly, the Liberals are simply imposing unethical restrictions on potential applicants in order to receive the grant funding. In contrast to some of the comments noted above, you DO NOT have to be a Christian to realize that abortion is simply murder of a human being. It is proven that unborn humans are being saved in the womb and when “delivered” prematurely more and more are being saved and develop normally. It is also a fact that the unborn humans experience pain and can you imagine the pain they must experience when they are subjected to abortions? * In Canada an average of 275 humans are aborted daily.

    By the way, “Diplomacy Works” If you read the news article which you refer to regarding the court challenge, it states: “A full decision on the underlying challenge to the change has not yet been addressed.” Furthermore, this decision is a Federal Court Decision and NOT any potential/pending appeal to the Supreme Court.

    We are honoured to have a MP in the person of Ms. Rachael Harder who stands for freedoms and rights of her constituents and the populous of Canada in general.

    • grinandbearit says:

      HaroldP, I am trying to discern what your comment has to do with the notion advanced by Harder that not using my tax money to promote undermining human rights in Canada prevents freedom of belief or expression of values. You are free to believe that the rights i enjoy are evil ones, but you are not free to use my money to take them away from me.
      People in Lethbridge need to think about whether they want to support proponents of political christianity who do not just want freedom of belief and religious expression but want to impose christian law as Canadian law over all of us.

      • HaroldP says:

        “political Christianity”? Come on “grinandbearit” we are not talking about political Christianity or Christianity personified in any form. My comments and the basis of this discussion relates solely to what MP Harder speaks to in her editorial, “The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms”. Once again, you do not have to be a Christian to have an opinion on abortion or sexual preference or persuasion. You speak regarding “Human rights” please tell me, who will defend the human rights of the unborn babies who, through the process of abortion are murdered in Canada at an average of 275 babies per day? Finally, are you suggesting that MP Harder is a proponent of political Christianity? If so, you are sorrowfully wrong. By the way, what is “Christian law”? I would very much like you to describe that adjective.

        • grinandbearit says:

          Read some history about christians who acted to impose their religious views through force of law and the power of the state. In the extreme this can be seen in Calvin’s Geneva, Cromwell’s England, the Jesuit State in South America. Look up theonomy too.

        • Tony Pargeter says:

          “Political Christianity” absolutely is a thing and you know perfectly well that Rachael Harder is a proponent AND your representative on that front.
          And Christian law is quite simply what is aspired to by Christians, to supplant the far more dynamic, human and evolving rule of law. The obvious problems of the alternate, purely imagined reality put forward by religious belief led to centuries of war, which resulted in the ultimate wisdom of separating church and state, a lesson which you religious types seem resistant to learning. A bit thick. The rigidity of religious doctrine does not, can not, speak to the natural evolution or dynamism of society, and although many still subscribe to it as being definitively human, history has ruled on that and shown it to be us at our very worst. Sorry, that’s just a fact. The truth.
          And maybe “you don’t have to be a Christian to have an “opinion” on abortion or sexual preference or persuasion” (what’s that mean?) but those of us not in your bubble can still see you, you know, even though you are cleverly hiding in plain sight? And you can, and clearly will, believe whatever you want (flying spaghetti monster anyone?) and can have whatever opinion you want, you still can not block women’s rights to their own bodies. So many of you heroic Christian men are resolute in defending the “unborn”, and are so stunningly insensitive to women generally that you don’t even notice them there, the “already born,” in that mix! The life of the female body is complicated. Only women bleed for example.
          Your imagination about what it’s like to be anything other than the righteous white male in charge, a proxy for the big guy, has obviously been severely stunted. So when it comes to considering those below you in that holy patriarchy, i.e.women and children, you appear to see their little lives as both silly and distant.

  5. Resolute says:

    To put into context the extent of capitulation to the Liberal Party doctrine required in order to obtain this citizen-funded grant to benefit our student workers. Canada is one of only seven countries that legally abort fetuses beyond 20 weeks gestation. By this time a fetus has the ability to feel the pain of limbs which must be broken to remove it. This horror is allowed in Vietnam, Netherlands, China, Singapore, North Korea and recently in the USA. I am deeply, deeply ashamed that our provincial and federal government allows it. Only vicious sociopaths, whether atheist or religious, could condone this act, much less require compliance of others. Sick.

  6. HaroldP says:

    Specifically Tony and Grin – OK, so let’s get back to the basics. Where did you come from? Did you magically appear on planet earth, or were you a result of genetic engineering along with “Dolly” the sheep? I doubt both instances…. you were conceived and spent the first nine months (or there abouts) in your mother’s womb! Now consider this, each of you, in fact all of human kind are unique beings, each with our own DNA structure. Just think if you were conceived and still in you mother’s womb when at (as Canadian law now permits) at the ninth month of your conception, suddenly you feel the probing of your “living quarters” one where you received all the nutrients and protection to help you develop, this probing goes deeper and you begin to feel excruciating pain as suddenly metal forceps grab your head, and wretch you out of your “cocoon” the pain amplifies as your head becomes squished as the mutualisation of your perfect body begins, and ends, with your final scream, which is not heard, as your life comes to an end and the abortion is completed. This is reality, and what if, just what if, your mother made the choice to end your life in that fashion? I am certain that today, you are thankful that your life did not end that way. This is the reality of abortions, abortions that take place an average of 275 times a day in Canada alone. In Canada, these therapeutic abortions are paid for by your/my tax dollars. Is this an issue? Tell me please, does this only involve Christians, or is this wide spectrum, the answer is obviously it has nothing to do with Christians or any religion, it is about HUMAN RIGHTS, the rights of the unborn… perhaps it could have been your rights as a human being or mine.

    • grinandbearit says:

      All of us gradually came into existence through a sequence of biological processes until finally we became a person. If you are talking about rights and freedoms in Canada, they only apply to persons as legally defined in Canada, not by your religion. Look it up. Your point is false.

      I also note that only persons can own things, so you referring to my mother’s uterus as my living quarters is obviously false. It really was hers all along.

      Your points about uniqueness and ability to experience pain are not relevant. Every Richardson’s ground squirrel is unique and every one of them feels pain, but they do not qualify for Canadian rights and freedoms, only persons do.

      • HaroldP says:

        Grinandberit, you state that “….do not qualify for Canadian rights and freedoms, only persons do” You are stating that an unborn is not a person or rather a human being as opposed to a Richardson ground squirrel? Please take a real life experience and visit the Children’s Hospital in Calgary where you will see premature babies who had to be birthed early, either naturally or by C-Section… you will find premature babies, human beings, not Richardson ground squirrels, fighting for their lives, and yes winning, growing and developing into functioning, healthy and whole persons. By the way, I am not sure if you ever had the incredible experience of having your own children, seeing, feeling and hearing them develop in their mother’s womb….. I have, God blessed us with 6 children, I remember the joy of watching on the ultra sound as our unborn babies frolicked around the womb flexing their arms and legs, sucking their thumbs…. yes, they are “human beings” and they deserve human rights not dependent on where they are, inside or outside of the womb.

        Yes, your mother’s uterus/womb is your mother’s and that is the miracle of life and the process of procreation – really two words, “Pro” meaning “for” and “Creation” meaning just that, Creation. So procreation is for creating, in this instance for the procreation of human beings…. like you and me! I trust that you are thankful (to God or otherwise) that your mother chose to spare your life and the excruciating pain of an abortion so that you can today reflect on the beauty of life itself and to understand the miracle that it indeed is!

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