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Summer Jobs attestation ‘unconstitutional’: CWL

By Deborah Gyapong

The Catholic Register


OTTAWA (CCN) — The more than 80,000 members of the Catholic Women’s League of Canada (CWL) have added their official voice to the outcry against the pro-abortion Canada Summer Jobs Attestation.

“Canadian citizens, not just those with a particular set of religious values, are outraged that the federal government would take steps to force the people they represent to conform to the belief system of those in power in order to access services,” said a strongly worded Feb. 17 letter from CWL National President Margaret Ann Jacobs to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, with a copy to Employment Minister Patty Hajdu. “The League implores you to understand that to ask someone to deny their faith or their beliefs in order to receive funding from the government is simply undemocratic, unconstitutional and unethical.”

In an interview, Jacobs said the CWL has been concerned about the new Canada Summer Jobs policy when it was first announced in late December.

Though individual League members had written their MPs, in a recent meeting Jacobs said many of the women were “still concerned” about the issue.

“Some were in the position of hiring summer students and they didn’t want to be in a position of violating their conscience,” Jacobs said. The CWL is “in unison with what the bishops have been saying,” in speaking up against the required attestation.

“This whole thing is counter to our beliefs as Catholics and as Canadian citizens,” Jacobs said. “We should have the right to make decisions in accord with our conscience.”

“If we only have the right to make an attestation in agreement with a particular stance, we aren’t being able to express our own democratic rights,” she said.

Jacobs said many of the League members who wrote the government about the attestation received a “form letter” saying, “this is what we’re going to do.”

“It looks like the government isn’t going to back down,” she said, noting the government’s resistance has fuelled the desire of League members to push back even harder.

“I can’t even imagine the volume of responses they must be getting,” Jacobs said.

“I don’t know what we do except to continue to put pressure on,” she said, adding she hoped members would continue to contact their MPs. “It’s our right and obligation as Catholics and a Catholic organization. We want that viewpoint to be out in the marketplace.”

The CWL is also concerned that many employers and groups will choose not to hire summer students without the government help. “They won’t do the programming and it’s going to harm some of the most vulnerable segments of our society,” Jacobs said. “If we don’t stand up for them, we’re not reflecting the Canada I want to be reflecting.”

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