Long before Justin Trudeau became Prime Minister, he publicly stated that China was the country he most admired because they knew how to get things done. He clearly believes in this philosophy, as evidenced by his recent decision regarding the Canada Summer Jobs program.

Funding through the Summer Jobs program was previously made available to all small businesses, not-for-profit employers, public sector and faith-based organizations that provide summer jobs for students. This year, however, Trudeau arbitrarily changed the application process. Now, organizations or employers who do not endorse the Trudeau government’s views on “reproductive rights” are filtered out as being ineligible.

This decision is both intolerant and arrogant. Perhaps the Prime Minister has forgotten where he lives, but in Canada we still have something called a Charter of Rights and Freedoms which protects our freedom of conscience and religion, along with our freedom of thought, belief and expression.

While the courts have labored to balance any conflict of Charter rights, the Prime Minister feels no such obligation. Instead, he is dictatorially imposing his beliefs on others, oblivious to the fact that his position on abortion is at odds with how the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) ruled on the issue.

Contrary to his assertion, the SCC did not endorse unrestricted access to abortion under any circumstances and at any point in a pregnancy. On the contrary, it noted in Morgentaler (1988) that, “State protection of the foetal interests may well be deserving of constitutional recognition…” There was a clear expectation by the SCC that Parliament would pass a new law defining the new parameters of access to abortion. Apparently Trudeau and his advisors have never read the Court’s decision.

Essentially, what Trudeau is telling Canadians – as he did those at the recent town hall meeting in Hamilton – is that if you agree with the Supreme Court of Canada, you are “not in line with where we are as a government, and quite frankly where we are as a society.” This is deeply troubling.  He may think he’s draping himself in the Charter, but his actions are the very reason the Charter exists: To protect people from their government using the power of the state to trample on the rights of its citizens.

It’s not the first time Trudeau has attempted to restrict funding to organizations he doesn’t agree with. Last summer a number of pro-life organizations had their funding requests turned down with no explanation. After being taken to court and being forced to settle out of court, the government seems to have decided that this year they can get away with their prejudices if they are transparent about them.

Let’s hope not. Because if he does, he’ll be one step closer to emulating the intolerance of that country he most admires: China.

– Betty Unger, Alberta Senator