Youth counsellors from St. Benedict parish's SummerDaze program are in danger of losing their Canada Summer Jobs funding because of the new policy. Photo by Michael Swan

Speaking Out: Fight for the truth and the unborn

By  Jacklyn Gilmor, Youth Speak News
  • February 8, 2018

We live in a country where we are told what to believe, we are pressured to conform, and our religious freedoms are gradually being taken away.

The latest example of this is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to withhold funding for youth summer jobs from organizations that don’t agree with the Liberal policy on reproductive rights.

Recently, the federal government introduced a revised grant application for the Canada Summer Jobs program, including a check box attesting that the applicant’s “core mandate” includes accepting the government’s abortion policy. If an applicant doesn’t check the box, they will not be eligible for funding.

More than 80 religious leaders wrote a letter asking the government to accommodate diverse religious beliefs. In response to the backlash, the government has said that religious groups are welcome to apply for the grants, as long as their “core mandate” does not involve anti-abortion activities. How can the government of a country that prides itself on freedom of thought and religion systematically push out any pro-life voices?

It’s time for young people to make their voices heard. Certain organizations will be denied funding because of their beliefs. Since the funding is for youth summer jobs, this withholding of money would prevent some of us from working in those places.

And if we can’t work for organizations supporting pro-life, what will be their ultimate fate? Will they some day be swept out? If we care about the lives of unborn children and our religious freedom, we need to act. We can preserve the future of these jobs, these organizations and the pro-life movement.

The Archdiocese of Toronto has posted a sample letter on its website for people to use and send to their MPs. We can also continue to raise awareness through March for Life. Most importantly, we must pray and continue to talk about it. We need to share articles that raise the issue on social media, and start the conversation with those around us at school and in church.

What if I want to work with a pro-life or pregnancy care organization over the summer? This matters. If we don’t continue to raise our voices about it, no one will listen.

My generation is growing up with the idea that abortion should be accessible to everyone and should be a normal part of Canadian health care. We need to combat this harmful trend and call out the government when it tries to drown out the pro-life voice.

We are the next generation of voters and government workers and we will shape future policies. Now is the time for young people to stand up, to call out the government and to defend human rights — not as one politician defines them, but as rights for all of us, including the unborn.

(Gilmor, 20, is a second-year journalism student at Ryerson University in Toronto.)

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