Evangelical conservatives and pro-lifers in Canada are voicing concern that a new requirement put in place by the federal government would force organizations to "attest" to liberal beliefs on abortion and LGBT rights in order to receiving funding to give kids summer jobs.
Pro-lifers and social conservatives are speaking out against a new rule that has been enacted to a federal program to help local small businesses, nonprofits and charities provide summer jobs to over 70,000 students nationwide.
The government run by liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau enacted a new rule requiring that all organizations that apply to receive funds from the Canadian Summer Jobs program prove they don't violate Canadian Charter Rights, "reproductive rights" and the "right to be free from discrimination" on the basis of social identifiers such as sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.
"CSJ applicants will be required to attest that both the job and the organization's core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights," an application for the 2018 CSJ program reads. "These include reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression."
According to the pro-life group Campaign for Life, the rule means that pro-life and faith-based organizations would need to "abandon their beliefs and align themselves with the Liberal Government's value system" in order to receive the federal grant.
"If you're an employer that believes that life should be legally protected from the moment of conception until natural death, or in the biblical definition of marriage as between a man and a woman, or that gender isn't fluid but biologically defined ... sorry but not sorry," the organization wrote in a statement Tuesday.
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada also condemned the rule. A statement posted to the organization's website explains that the policy could force churches and Christian summer camps to attest to the government's position on "abortion, sexual orientation and gender identity issues."
"Further, we are concerned that this requirement could mean that churches or Christian summer camps, for example, will be ineligible to receive the grant if they wish to hire only students that share their religious beliefs," the EFC statement reads. "These changes in eligibility could impact a wide range of Christian ministries, organizations and programs. But even more seriously, we believe it is a violation of the guaranteed freedoms of religion, thought, belief, opinion and association offered by Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, especially the provisions under Section 2."
Conservative Parliament member Brad Trost was among the first to raise the alarm about the new rules when he posted a video posted online last week.
"That's wrong. That's discrimination," he said. "Canadians are allowed to have different political beliefs than that government of the day and they shouldn't have their funding be cut off because they disagree with the government."
The Toronto Star reports that the new rules came as Labour Minister Patty Hajdu ordered a review of the program and its funding criteria prior to establishing guidelines for 2018. The review reportedly followed controversy surrounding the fact officials approved thousands of dollars to go to pro-life organizations.
Although many have argued that the new rules could discriminate against pro-life and faith-based organizations who uphold biblical guidelines in their hiring policies, Hajdu claimed after the passage that the rule is not designed to ban faith-based groups from the program.
"Applicants will be required to attest that both the job and the employer's core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada," she was quoted as saying. "We're focused on meaningful work experience for young people that will help grow the economy and strengthen the middle class."
According to the Toronto Star, government officials will decide if a group is in violation of the rules but it is ultimately Hajdu who has final authority on all of the funding.
"According to our Employment Minister and abortion enthusiast Patty Hajdu, if you're one of these employers, your job isn't actually meaningful and teenagers shouldn't be exposed to your kind," the Campaign for Life statement argued.