Canada Summer Jobs attestation endorsement from rights groups
Eighty human rights groups have signed an open letter, which applauds the move of the government, requiring all the groups, which seek funds through the Canada Summer Jobs program, to affix their signature, on an attestation, mentioning that they extend support to constitutional rights in Canada, and also the right to reproductive choice.
Effective result of coordination
- The letter was the result of coordination of Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, as well as National Association of Women and the Law –NAWL. It praises the government for a move, which some advocates feel, that it targets anti-abortion and anti-gay groups, restricting their access to funds, and is used in supporting activities, which restrict access to abortion, and also discriminates against Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgenders, and Queer Canadians.
- The attestation demands, that all groups, which seek federal funding, in this program, must sign, mentioning that the organizational mandate, and duties of the job, to be funded by the grants, gives respect to the individual human rights in the country, and also the values fundamental to the Canadian Charter of Rights, and Freedoms, along with other rights.
- Among the other rights are reproductive rights, and the right not to be discriminated, on the parameters of sex or religion, race or national origin, ethnic origin, the color of the individual, mental disability, physical disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or gender expression.
- The change facilitated in this program, which is used by the government, to offer subsidy to summer employment of students in the age range between 15 and 30 years, who return to school in the fall, focuses on anti-gay and anti-abortion groups, which have been using the program, for activities like displaying and distributing, explicit posters of bloody foetuses.
No plans to restrict women rights
- Patty Hajdu, Employment Minister, has mentioned that the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, a recipient of thousands of dollars in the program in the past, is one such group, which plans to restrict the right of women, in Canada, to seek an abortion and they must not be permitted to get federal funds.
- Abortion is not listed as a right in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but the Supreme Court made a decision in 1988, that the law prevalent at that time which restricted abortions, was unconstitutional.
- Some conservative religious groups accused the government that it had violated their right to freedom of belief, as well as freedom of conscience, by forcing them to sign the attestation, which essentially betrays their beliefs.
Federal Court intervention
- An anti-abortion group filed a suit in the Federal Court, alleging the requirement of attestation was a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and made a plea to the court for reversing the change.
- In an open letter sent to PM Trudeau, several prominent leaders and 80 human rights groups extended their support to opt for the attestation.
- They were confident that the safeguards that were introduced into the CSJ program were non-discriminatory, and did not infringe on the freedom of religion, or conscience, and did not affect any rights enjoyed by the people in Canada. Many prominent groups also attached their signatures to the letter.
PM defends the decision
- PM Trudeau defended the decision and has spoken against anti-abortion groups saying that they were not synchronized with the Canadian society. The government will not fund a group, which restricted women, from seeking an abortion.