Canada has a neat summer jobs program that helps fund temporary placements at non-profit organizations. That is, unless your group is pro-life, of course, because then you’re a bunch of Neanderthals, apparently.
Recent changes to the Canadian program require any group that applies for the federal grant to affirm commitment to particular “rights” recognized by the government, including, most controversially, unlimited access to abortion. At a town hall event over the weekend, one student asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the relationship between free speech and these new draconian regulations:
If you’re pro-life then you are ridiculed and insulted, but if you’re pro-choice then you’re praised, and I just want to know if this [free speech] is important to you.
Trudeau’s retort was…not reassuring. Although faith-based groups are not precluded from applying per se, the PM affirmed:
It does however mean — and this is where we get to the crux of the matter — that an organization that has the explicit purpose of restricting women’s rights by removing rights to abortion, the right 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.
Take that, you who would question government or a society’s morality!
Confederate slave owners and anti-Semites in pre-War Germany couldn’t have hoped for better rhetoric from a leader in their day. As long as you’re in line with “where we are as a society”, I guess you’re on the “right side of history”. In actual fact, this is ahistorical arrogance, pure and simple.
It’s one thing for a government to have laws reflecting these values; it’s another altogether to require citizens to agree with them in order to avoid being discriminated against. But the reality of the liberty-averse stance of the Canadian government is actually worse than that. Note that Trudeau wasn’t just talking about the application of the regulatory change; this was in response to a student’s question about free speech. Is choosing to defund certain non-profits and not others for their beliefs an encroachment upon freedom of expression? And is that something that concerns Prime Minister Trudeau? I guess that would be a Nah, and again, Nah…
And just to be clear, this isn’t like the debate over same-sex-marriage wedding cakes. The issue isn’t even whether a group is a protected class being denied service or not. The Canadian government isn’t punishing these groups for services provided or declined. Their applications are denied simply for publicly holding the “wrong” views.
Oh, Canada. Have fun being fascist.