“Prime Minister [Justin] Trudeau has made it really clear that his way of thinking is perceived to be the right way, and if MPs don't fit within his framework of values, then he has no use for them and no appreciation and really, him and his caucus show little to no respect of them," Conservative Member of Parliament Rachael Harder told CNA.
In 2014, Justin Trudeau made it a requirement that all candidates from his party, the Liberal Party, vocally support abortion rights. Last summer, he introduced a controversial new requirement that excluded any organization with a pro-life viewpoint from receiving government funding for a summer jobs program--even if the organization did no actual pro-life work. That measure was scrapped after considerable outcry.
Harder herself was voted down as chair of the House of Commons’ Status of Women committee in 2017, entirely, she said, over objections to her pro-life views.
“Liberal committee members walked out on me when my name was put forward as chair, and then they subsequently voted me down,” she said. When asked why they refused to endorse Harder as chairwoman, “one of the members remarked that due to my value for the preborn, there’s no way I could possibly represent all women in Canada.”
Trudeau said that he thought her appointment as chair was “the wrong choice,” something that Harder thought was “actually quite sad.”
“It's actually really sad that the prime minister would have the audacity to dictate what women should or shouldn't believe in this country," she added.
Anderson also spoke to CNA about hostility created by the Trudeau government, saying that the prime minister’s administration has refused to even have a debate on the issue.
“Clearly, that (attitude) permeates right through their party, when the present prime minister made it clear that anyone who held views that were contrary to his have no place in the liberal party,” said Anderson.
Abortion in Canada is “a deeply embedded reality,” Archbishop Thomas Cardinal Collins of Toronto told CNA.
To change this culture, Collins thinks pro-lifers need to form effective cooperative coalitions, even if religious beliefs differ among members.
“I can do certain things as Archbishop of Toronto,” said Collins. “But I think others can do more effective work--you know men and women, young men, young women, lay people, people of other faiths, and I would say also, people of no faith.”
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At the moment, there is a push to ensure conscience rights for medical practitioners. Even this is an uphill battle, Collins explained, as “there’s a lot of pressure against it” and “lots of this politically-correct stuff.”
Harder and Anderson also told CNA that any sort of change must stem from the Canadian people, not members of parliament passing legislation.
Anderson said that it is “unrealistic of the pro-life movement to expect that the success of a pro-life movement in Canada is going to come through a very small group of Members of Parliament.”
"I think the push for change is going to have to come from a large group of the Canadian population,” he said. “Some governments are reluctant to move on this issue, probably because it's a very contentious issue, and typically governments are not going to engage in issues where they're not going to get some sort of clear agreement on the way forward."
Harder concurred, and thinks that change must come from Canadian citizens, through extensive communication and dialogue.
"I don't believe that we can ‘make’ people do anything. I do believe that Canadians have an opportunity though to value the preborn; have an opportunity to share their beliefs in a respective manner, and engage in productive dialogue,” said Harder.