Liberal ‘Values Test’ Jeopardizes Canadians’ Rights & Freedoms

Letter to the Editor on the Liberal Party’s decision to impose a values test on organizations using the Canada Summer Jobs Program

The Liberal government has introduced a troubling new eligibility requirement for organizations looking to take advantage of the Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program.

The CSJ program provides funding to assist employers, including not-for-profit organizations, which create summer job opportunities for full-time students. It is a win-win situation where students benefit by gaining valuable employment and work experience, while communities benefit from the important services provided by these organizations. However, for many organizations, this essential support is now being jeopardized thanks to a new Liberal policy.

Just before Christmas, the Liberals quietly changed the rules for the CSJ program requiring applicants to sign an attestation agreeing with their government’s ideological positions or be disqualified from receiving government funding to hire students. It is a marked departure from previous practice whereby Canadians were free to apply for funding without fear that they would be rejected simply for holding certain convictions of conscience or religious beliefs, contrary to that of the current government. In the name of tolerance and inclusion, the Trudeau government is being intolerant to a huge segment of society that does most of the heavy lifting when it comes to caring for the poor and vulnerable in Canada.

This is a deeply concerning development and Canadians should be extremely skeptical of a government that bases public funding decisions on whether or not you hold the same beliefs and values as they do. The Prime Minister and his Liberal government have overstepped, forcing Canadians to endorse and accept values that are not included in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is as if they consider Liberal policy and beliefs as being equivalent to protections under the Charter. This is another reflection of Liberal arrogance, believing their policies mirror the opinions of all Canadians. Just because the Liberals believe something, does not make it right and true.

As a pluralistic society, Canada allows for diverse opinions and protects those who may think differently than those in positions of power. In fact, the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief, opinion and expression are explicitly guaranteed under section 2 of the Charter. The Liberals should recognize that they are violating the Charters’ most fundamental principle with their actions.

It is worth noting, that a recent Liberal announcement for their renamed Canada Service Corp, a youth volunteerism program, contains similar eligibility activity requirements as the CSJ. If the Liberals are forcing Canadians to pass their ‘values test’ in order to receive CSJ or Canada Service Corp funding today, what’s next? Will Canadians have to agree with the Liberals’ views to get their pensions when they retire? To receive certain tax credits or student loans? To get help with their Employment Insurance when they visit a Service Canada centre? Where will it end?

In his book ‘Common Ground’, Prime Minister Trudeau said, “My idea of freedom is that we should protect the rights of people to believe what their conscience dictates, but fight equally hard to protect people from having the beliefs of others imposed upon them.” I think it is time for the Prime Minister to start putting his words into practice.

I would encourage anyone who shares these concerns, to contact the Minister of Employment, Patricia Hajdu and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and asked that their governments’ discriminatory ‘values test’ be immediately rescinded. They can be contacted at:

The Honourable Patricia Hajdu The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Minister of Employment Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons Office of the Prime Minister
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6 80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
Patty.Hajdu@parl.gc.ca PM@pm.gc.ca

 

Glen Motz
Member of Parliament for Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner