News/Canada

{mosimage}More women are having more babies, but still not enough to sustain Canada’s population, reports Statistics Canada.

The latest numbers are from 2007 and show a 3.7-per-cent increase in births over 2006. It’s the fastest increase in the birth rate since 1989.

The question for some observers is whether the uptick in births has anything to do with public, government policy.

“I don’t think there’s any government policy that can come around and change this way of thinking,” said Andrea Mrozek, the Institute for Marriage and Family Canada’s manager of research. “For decades now we’ve been told that we don’t need a lot of kids — kids are economically a burden, it’s difficult, it’s expensive, will there be day care? — all these sorts of things. I think it’s too late. You can’t turn around now and say, ‘By the way, we think you should have lots of kids.’ ”

Catholic aid making its way to Philippines' flood victims

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Canadian Catholics are funnelling money as fast as they can to bishops in the Philippines as the dioceses in and around Manila struggle to deal with massive destruction and loss of life left by Typhoon Ketsana.

The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace immediately sent $50,000 and set up toll-free phone lines and a web site to accept donations. In Toronto, where a majority of the city’s 172,000 Filipinos are Catholic
parishioners, ShareLife is also accepting donations.

Antigonish bishop expected to surrender to police on child pornography charges

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{mosimage}OTTAWA - Antigonish Bishop Raymond J. Lahey turned himself in to Ottawa police Oct. 1 to face charges of possession and importation of child pornography.

He appeared in court later that day and was released on $9,000 bail and put under strict conditions that include staying away from the Internet. His next court date is Nov. 4. In the meantime, he must
stay in Rogersville, N.B.

CCCB president urges politicians to uphold human life

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{mosimage}OTTAWA  - The president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is urging Members of Parliament to choose good palliative care instead of assisted suicide or euthanasia.

As debate approaches for Bloc Quebecois MP Francine Lalonde’s private member’s Bill C-384, an Act to Amend the Criminal Code (right to die with dignity), Archbishop James Weisgerber took aim at the “misleading and unclear” terms framing the debate.

40 Days for Life campaign kicks off in Canada

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{mosimage}OTTAWA - The 40 Days for Life campaign of prayer, fasting and vigils outside abortion facilities kicked off in cities across the country on the eve of the Sept. 23 start to the campaign.

The movement, which originated in the United States, is gaining momentum and has spread to five provinces, with eight sites in seven cities: Fredericton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Kitchener, Ont., Winnipeg and two sites in Toronto.

Canadian fertility rates up, but not high enough

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{mosimage}More women are having more babies, but still not enough to sustain Canada's population, reports Statistics Canada.

The latest numbers are from 2007 and show a 3.7-per-cent increase in births over 2006. It's the fastest increase in the birth rate since 1989.

The question for some observers is whether the uptick in births has anything to do with public, government policy.

Tamil refugee boy in immigration limbo

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Since July 31 Citizenship and Immigration Canada has been unable to decide whether a 14-year-old refugee abandoned and alone in an African city of three million is an urgent case.

The Tamil boy is a refugee from Sri Lanka’s bitter ethnic war. He doesn’t know whether his family is alive in Sri Lanka’s monsoon-soaked camps or dead. Nobody has heard from them since April and a Red Cross search has so far turned up nothing. Alone in Accra, Ghana, the boy can’t speak English, is frequently bullied and depressed.

Catholic support for Liberals fading

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{mosimage}OTTAWA - Could the Catholic vote play a key role in the next federal election?

It did in the 2000 election when it helped Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien win his third majority.

But Catholic support has plummeted by “a massive 24 per cent,” a study by McGill political scientists shows. Catholic voters, who have traditionally voted Liberal, contributed to the Conservative minority government victories in 2006 and 2008.

LifeSite accused of fuelling web war on Salt+Light

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TORONTO - Salt+Light Television CEO Fr. Tom Rosica has reacted to daily threats against his life, reputation and ministry, blaming LifeSiteNews for stirring up “division, destruction, hatred, vitriol, judgment and violence.”

Since controversy erupted over Senator Ted Kennedy’s funeral in Boston, e-mails and blog postings directed at Rosica have included: “Your grave is dug”; “We will bring down your network”; “We will force you to resign”; and  “We will get the Vatican to rescind your appointment.”

Freedomsite.org wins free speech case

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{mosimage}OTTAWA - Catholics who fight for freedom of speech and of religion are applauding a tribunal decision that declared the Canadian Human Rights Act censorship provision unconstitutional.

On Sept. 2, Canadian Human Rights Tribunal member Athanasios Hadjis concluded Section 13(1) and some other portions of the act are “inconsistent with s. 2(b) of the charter, which guarantees the freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression.” Section 13(1) says that material “likely to expose” various enumerated groups to hatred and contempt contravenes the act. There is no defense for truth or intent since the act merely looks at the effects on vulnerable minorities, even if there is no proof any damage has occurred.

Canadian Jesuit named expert for African Synod

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{mosimage}A Canadian Jesuit based in Nairobi, Kenya, has been appointed one of about 30 experts who will assist bishops at Synod of Bishops for Africa at the Vatican Oct. 4-25.

Fr. Michael Czerny founded the African Jesuit AIDS Network in 2002 as a way to help Jesuits in Africa work on the problem of AIDS. His appointment as “adiutor secretarii specialis” to the second Synod of Bishops on Africa will require him to step away from running AJAN at least temporarily.