GUEST COLUMN: Liberal government has misfired on summer job grants

David Raes

I am grateful to live in this amazing pluralistic nation. However, I believe the federal government’s new policy regarding summer job grants actually undermines our social cohesion.

This year, the Liberals are requiring all organizations and individuals to support abortion rights if they want access to taxpayer funding, regardless of the nature of the work.

David Raes

To qualify for a Canada Summer Job grant, applicants are required to attest that the job and organization’s core mandate will respect not only rights guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but “other rights” as well.

These include sexual and reproduction rights, including abortion.

Taxes are paid by people with all ideological perspectives. Therefore, the government shouldn’t discriminate between the grant recipients unless, of course, it is disingenuous about its own commitment to diversity.

I find this ideological purity test horrifying, as it forces many within the Islamic, Sikh, Jewish, and Christian communities to violate their faith in order to continue doing their good work for the country.

This grant application coercion utterly disregards their Charter rights with respect to freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of thought, freedom of belief, and freedom of expression. The claim that religious organizations aren’t excluded because the values test only applies to their core mandate exposes the Liberal government’s shocking paucity of knowledge about religious mandates.

In Christianity, it is to love God and to love your neighbour. Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan reveals our “neighbours” to be vulnerable members of society, of which there is almost no better example than pre-born babies.

What’s more, this new policy is entirely unnecessary, because Canada already has zero prohibitions on abortion. People are free to have them with full legal protection.

The government’s hubristic demand of requiring ideological veneration of its own opinion on such a contentious issue smacks of tyranny. It is an attempt to produce social conformity by arbitrary methods — a classic Procrustean bed — and it will have no net positive effect in Canada.

In fact, it will negatively impact religious organizations that already do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to providing non-profit services such as soup kitchens, homeless shelters, etc.

This crass act of virtue signaling to their base comes at the cost of harming greatly needed organizations. One of them is The Mustard Seed, which helps more than 10,000 homeless, poor, and drug-addicted people in the province of Alberta, which happens to be suffering a severe economic downturn right now. It needs all the help it can get but is instead being kicked when it’s down.

Faith-based organizations like the Mustard Seed are refusing to sell their souls, and thus the most vulnerable members of our society will be harmed by this foolish government policy.

David Raes is a Sarnia-based natural health consultant.