Roundup: Muddled takes on Charter rights

The bad takes on the government’s decision to stop giving summer job grants to groups that actively oppose abortions keep rolling in, with yesterday’s winner being one particularly mystifying piece that equates this to Christians being persecuted in ancient Rome. No, seriously. But probably the most overwrought objections are those which keep insisting that “there’s no Charter right to an abortion!” Err, no, there’s not. But when you try to take away that right, you trigger other Charter rights, most notably a woman’s right to life, liberty, and security of person, or the fact that discriminating against her ability to get a medical procedure does breach her Charter rights. University of Ottawa law professor Carissima Mathen walks us through some of those considerations here:

Emmett Macfarlane also took to Twitter to try to clarify some of the arguments in this particular case.

This having been said, it should be reiterated that yet again, this government has not done a particularly stellar job in communicating this particular policy decision, especially in how they are fuzzily defining what is a “core mandate” that would disqualify them. It shouldn’t be difficult – is this an organization that is devoted to picketing abortion clinics, or counselling women against abortions under the guise of being a support service? No? Then you can get your funding. I also think that some religious groups are being a bit hyperbolic in their concerns, egged on by the likes of Andrew Scheer, who has been torqueing this issue (as he is wont to do with any issue) so that what’s actually at stake bears no relation to what it’s being characterized as. But that’s politics, apparently.

Good reads:

  • At Trudeau’s town hall in Quebec City last night, members of ultranationalist group Storm Alliance showed up, as did someone with a swastika on a Canadian flag.
  • Trudeau also said that they are negotiating to lease four icebreakers from Davie Shipyard.
  • The relevant ministers will be at NAFTA talks in Montreal next week to demonstrate progress, as Bill Morneau says that uncertainty is hampering investment in Canada.
  • Apparently the government will look at reforming our extradition laws after the case of Hassan Diab.
  • Mélanie Joly says that arts organizations that don’t have best practices to deal with harassment may be blocked from getting federal funds.
  • The government’s new “streamlined” process for spousal immigration applications is apparently causing even bigger headaches than before.
  • Here’s a look at ISIS returnees, and who can be charged versus those whom we’re looking to rehabilitate.
  • Local MPs react to the decision by London, Ontario, school boards to pull funding for a production of gay-themed play Prom Queen.
  • Éric Grenier looks at the coming changes to Facebook and how that will affect political party advertising, especially as they may need to start shelling out for it.
  • Aaron Wherry considers the media spectacle of Jagmeet Singh’s engagement.
  • John Ivison wonders why the government hasn’t moved on reforming the prostitution laws that the previous government put into place.
  • Jason Markusoff writes about who the real targets were with those Canadian mid-sized cities putting in unrealistic bids for the Amazon second headquarters.
  • Robert Hiltz takes on the Cult of Tim Hortons, and the ritual obeisance demanded by the political class to it.

Odds and ends:

The Royal Canadian Mint is suing their Australian counterpart for using their patented techniques on their own Remembrance Day coins without permission.

2 thoughts on “Roundup: Muddled takes on Charter rights

  1. I’m always amused when apologists for this government (or any other) excuse government excesses by complaining that critics are just “torquing” public reaction to those excesses. In this case, we see Justin Trudeau contriving a non-existent threat to abortion rights. In constructing this straw man so he can stand firmly against it, Trudeau seems not the least concerned that his government is risking a real violation of the Charter’s guarantee of “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression” and, equally important, the Charter’s support for “freedom of conscience and religion.” It seems Trudeau is turning the Canada Summer Jobs program application into a values test for partisan political ends or out of ignorance. Either way, it’s not a good look for him and his government.

    • I’m in total agreement with your statements.

      Yet I think the bigger picture is how all governments (but especially “progressives”) want society to act and think the way the government wants you to… or else you won’t get the funds that the government has confiscated from you in the first place! The item on Mélanie Jolie, for instance, is really identical to the summer job program: you will be blocked from funding unless you commit to dealing with harassment. Since government provides funding in so many areas – from CPP to OAS to Bombardier to summer jobs and arts organizations — I’m betting that these “virtue attestations” will become a prominent fixture of all government programs.

      Our tax dollars at work.

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