News/Canada

{mosimage}OTTAWA - Groups on opposing sides of the same-sex marriage debate have joined forces to oppose the legalization of polygamy.

“We feel (polygamy) would be a very backward step for our nation,” said Institute for Canadian Values founder Charles McVety, who joined Canadian Family Action Coalition president Brian Rushfeldt and Muslim Canadian Congress president Farzana Hassan at a news conference March 3 on Parliament Hill.

Stop Colombian free-trade deal

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{mosimage}TORONTO - The Canadian government will be complicit with human rights violations being committed in Colombia if it proceeds with an already-signed free trade agreement, warned a church-sponsored delegation of Colombian activists that toured Canada in February.

Members of Colombia’s religious community are calling on Canadian churches to help prevent the ratification of the agreement between the two countries.

40 Days for Life vigil launched

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{mosimage}OTTAWA  - Five Canadian cities kicked off 40 Days for Life vigils of fasting and prayer to end abortion to coincide with Lent.

Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg and Edmonton have joined more than 175 American cities in maintaining prayer vigils outside abortion clinics and hospitals. The 40 Days campaigns began in the United States four years ago.

Pro-lifers must fight euthanasia momentum shift

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{mosimage}OTTAWA - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition — Canada executive director Alex Schadenberg says euthanasia advocates see momentum on their side.

Washington State legalized assisted suicide in a plebiscite held during the last U.S. presidential election. Schadenberg pointed out this was the first referendum to pass of the many attempts in the 10 years since Oregon passed its assisted suicide law.  

Pope hears from Catholic MPs over Holocaust denier

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{mosimage}OTTAWA - Three Catholic MPs from the New Democratic Party have written Pope Benedict XVI to express their “deep concern” over the “reinstatement” of Society of St Pius X Bishop Richard Williamson, who is a Holocaust denier.

“We respectfully question the wisdom of welcoming back into the College of Bishops a man who has both systematically denied and maliciously minimalized the atrocities committed by Hitler’s Germany against the Jewish inhabitants of Central and Eastern Europe between the late 1930s and 1945,” wrote MPs Charlie Angus, Tony Martin and Joe Comartin in an e-mail to the Pope Feb. 5, followed up by a hard copy sent via the apostolic nunciature.

Bishops lend support to March for Life

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{mosimage}OTTAWA - Canada’s Catholic bishops will support the National March for Life , taking place May 14 on Parliament Hill.

“We want to support it because it is a good thing,” said Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops president Archbishop James Weisgerber.

Campaign Life Coalition president Jim Hughes welcomed the news.

Safe Third Country Agreement appeal fails

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{mosimage}The Supreme Court of Canada has turned back the Canadian Council for Churches , Amnesty International and the Canadian Council for Refugees , refusing to hear the organizations' arguments in favour of striking down Canada's Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States.

The Safe Third Country agreement between Canada and the United States stipulates that refugees who arrive first in the United States must make a refugee claim there and may not make a Canadian refugee claim at the land borders between two nations.

Civil liberties' group sides with campus pro-lifers

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Campus pro-life groups have gained an ally in their battle to be heard at universities across Canada.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has urged student unions at universities and colleges to not deny club status to groups that oppose abortion. The association made its view known in a letter sent to student unions across Canada in late January.

Human rights process damages the innocent

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{mosimage}OTTAWA - The federal government should consider the damage done to unjustly accused innocent parties by complaints to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, says the editor of Catholic Insight magazine .

Basilian Father Alphonse de Valk wrote to Justice Minister Rob Nicholson in a Feb. 2 open letter, responding to the Moon Report’s recommendation to repeal the controversial subsection of the Canadian Human Rights Act that allows the rights commission to investigate hate speech. The CHRC commissioned the report from University of Windsor Professor Richard Moon last year.

Montreal Social Action Office responds

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{mosimage}In the article “Catholic protest not pro-Hamas, organizers say ” by Michael Swan (page 3 of The Register Week of Feb. 1, 2009), there are several statements in respect of the demonstration, held in Montreal on Jan. 10, that could lead to serious misinterpretations regarding the position of the Social Action Office of the Catholic archdiocese of Montreal.

The third paragraph begins with the following sentence: “McDonough did not publicly distance his office from slogans such as ‘There is no God but Allah and the jihadist is the beloved of Allah,’ and ‘O Nasrallah, o beloved, strike, strike Tel Aviv’ before  media reports and video of the demonstration went across Canada.” Yet, in a telephone interview with The Register on Jan. 19, I stated at least three or four times that the Social Action Office unequivocally opposes, rejects and condemns any slogans or placards that promote hatred for Jews and the destruction of Israel. This position, repeatedly asserted by me, appears only in the ninth paragraph, near the end of the article. Readers, however, will remain with the impression that I have refused to distance the Social Action Office from such anti-Jewish slogans.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission getting back on track

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truthCommission.jpgOTTAWA - The Truth and Reconciliation Commission looking into Indian residential schools, stalled by the resignation last October of its chairman, is now looking for new members.

On Jan. 30, Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl announced that all parties to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement have agreed on a process to choose a new chair and new commissioners.

“A selection committee chaired by Justice Frank Iacobucci will work closely to find the best candidates in the most efficient manner,” Strahl said in a statement. “It is expected this process will move forward quickly.”