Justin Trudeau could legitimately compel Canadians to indicate support for abortion only if abortion was a law or a right . . . it is neither.
Provision 287 of the Criminal Code previously restricting abortion in Canada was struck down by the Supreme Court in the 1988 Morgantaler decision, and parliament has yet to enact a new abortion law. There are currently no legal restrictions preventing or limiting when a woman can have an abortion. But that's not the same as saying there is an abortion law: there is no law.
And the Supreme Court has stated unequivocally that there is no constitutional right to abortion, adding that parliament has the legislative power to enact laws that place reasonable restrictions on abortion. This also means that citizens have the right to educate and organize other citizens to lobby government on the need for an abortion law, and freely express what they believe that law should be.
To punish citizens for doing exactly that - exercising their democratic and charter rights - by compelling them to indicate support for abortion to qualify for funding (when abortion is neither a law nor a right) constitutes an ideological purity test which may suit a totalitarian, fascist regime, but has no place in a democracy.
There are fundamental freedoms enshrined in the charter, including freedom of conscience and the freedom of religion. These freedoms should protect citizens from being bullied into compliance and punished for disagreeing with Trudeau's ideological stance on abortion.
Kevin J Arsenault,