Conflict with Religious Freedom
We have written before on the threatened actions of the Prime Minister regarding Crisis Pregnancy Centres. However, an important aspect of the proposed action still needs to be addressed.
To review, the PM has moved forward with his threat to revoke the charitable status of all Crisis Pregnancy Centres in Canada. In his mandate letter to the Minister of Finance last December, he said: “Introduce amendments to the Income Tax Act to make anti-abortion organizations that provide dishonest counselling to pregnant women about their rights and options ineligible for charitable status.” This was aimed specifically at Crisis Pregnancy Centres, but could be used to affect a larger segment of the pro-life or other communities at the whim of the government.
It could be argued that there is little or no “dishonest counselling” being given by “anti-abortion organizations” but it’s safe to say that, in the eyes of the current Prime Minister, there is only ‘his truth’, which does not resemble truth.
The full, draconian impact of this threatened action was highlighted in a recent communication from Juergen Severloh, Executive Director of the Crisis Pregnancy Centre of Winnipeg. He said: “Revoking the charity status doesn’t only mean that a charity (the CPC) will not be able to issue tax-receipts, it also means that ALL of the assets of the charity must be dispersed. This means that our building, properties, and donation monies will be lost. Everything . . . everything is lost. This is true for our CPC and it will be true for any charity (read: church or Christian ministry) that has its status revoked.”
The facts of what these centres actually do contradicts the misinformed, untruthful narrative of the PM and his government. Severloh reports: “The heart and soul of our Centre are the clients that we serve. In 2020 (our latest statistics) we saw 314 ‘new’ clients, and had over 1,200 at-centre client visits; this doesn’t includ[e] many hundreds of client phone calls, emails, and texts. Our Centre had the most ‘material support’ client appointments of any centre in Canada; some 75% of our services involve supplying clients with maternity clothing, baby clothing, diapers, formula, and other ‘material’ goods. We deeply appreciate and love the clients we are honoured to serve.”
He goes on to point out: “The Crisis Pregnancy Centre of Winnipeg is affiliated with our national organization Pregnancy Care Canada.” Pregnancy Care Canada ensure[s] that affiliated centres hold to the highest standards and have policies, processes, and materials that are up-to-date, accurate, and truthful. Any kind of dishonesty would undercut the relationship with their clients; rendering ineffective any service or care they would want to provide.
Pregnancy Care Canada (PCC) is a ‘best practice’ Christian-based, national association of crisis pregnancy centres. Since 1997, PCC has been equipping, connecting, and empowering crisis pregnancy centres to effectively serve their local communities. Currently, there are over 80 PCC-affiliated centres that: served (in 2020) 31,717 women and men, provided material supplies (diapers, formula, maternity and baby clothing) to 7,015 clients, supported 1,624 clients through parenting programs, and gave infant-loss support (miscarriage, still-birth, abortion, SIDS) to 624 women.
All this wonderful effort to support women, men and families in Canada, yet, the government wishes to have these services cancelled. What is going on? Let’s take a step back, and look at this matter in light of other actions by governments in Canada:
- Bill C-11, currently being debated in Parliament, proposes to allow a government agency to determine what constitutes free speech and what can be allowed on social media. Saying only what we’re allowed to say is a clear violation of our right to freedom of speech and expression.
- Last month, the PM invoked the Emergencies Act to deal with a “fringe minority with unacceptable views” and ended a legal, peaceful protest in Ottawa with brute force, after having called the participants “racist,” “misogynistic,” and “extremists.”
- There have been, in the past two years, and in effect today, arrests and incarceration (in solitary confinement) of pastors all across the country. Today, one pastor has been in solitary confinement 23 hours a day for one month, for the crime of preaching at Coutts Crossing.
- There has been the forced closing and securing of places of worship with fences and armed guards because the churches were committed to physically meet for worship during the pandemic.
- Bill C-4 dealing with “Conversion Therapy” has made some pastoral work illegal and subject to time in jail and/or large fines. It protects the right to indoctrinate people into alternative lifestyles but makes illegal the right of people to seek help leaving alternative lifestyles.
- The Delta Hospice Society had its substantial assets confiscated by the Fraser Health Authority for not permitting euthanasia to be performed on residents within its hospice facility.
- In 2018, the Summer Student Employment Program included the requirement to sign an attestation supporting “reproductive rights” aka abortion. Abortion is not a legal right. There is no law.
As mentioned above, churches are in the crosshairs of our Prime Minister’s plan to remove charitable tax status from any pro-life organization. Just consider the financial ramifications of all pro-life churches being stripped of their assets, buildings, property and donations. Are we facing the rule of tyranny, and resulting socialism, in our country today in place of open democracy? In our increasingly secularist society: “the state is always in conflict with religious freedom. And the more power the state has, the more laws it will pass to diminish the role of the church.” (Erwin Lutzer, When A Nation Forgets God, page 15.)
What we see today suggests a concerted and growing effort by tyrannical government leaders to silence people of faith and their faith communities. The CHP stands for life, family, freedom. These are not just some “words” the CHP uses as a marketing tool, but they express the essence of the Christian, biblical values upon which our country was built. Defending these essential, foundational values requires a strong and growing membership and ongoing financial support. We must not allow the Prime Minister to silence the pro-life message.
If you’re not already a member, join the CHP today and support our efforts to defend life and Restore the Culture.
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Other Commentary by David Darwin:
- Conflit avec la liberté religieuse
- Conflict with Religious Freedom
- Si un convoi de liberté fiscale des propriétaires est venu à Ottawa
- If a Homeowners Tax Freedom Convoy Came to Ottawa
- La ligne dans le sable
- The Line in the Sand
- Défendre les organisations de services pro-vie
- Defending Pro-Life Service Organizations
- Une leçon opportune
- A Timely Lesson
- Canadians Want a Fair Tax System