Letter from Cardinal Collins to Prime Minister Trudeau re: “sexual and reproductive health programs”
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons, Ottawa
March 10, 2017
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,
I am writing to express my deep concern and disappointment at your government’s decision to provide $650 million to support “sexual and reproductive health programs” globally. While it is commendable and necessary to foster initiatives that further the rights of women and young girls worldwide, your public comments suggest that unless a woman has access to abortion or contraception, she is not empowered or able to realize her full potential.
I simply remind you and your colleagues that we have no rights at all unless we are afforded the right to life. That decision was made for you and for each one of us by a woman, determined and committed to bring a new life into this world.
It is praiseworthy to offer international aid; it is arrogant for powerful, wealthy nations to dictate what priorities developing countries should embrace. Pope Francis has cautioned the rich and powerful West against the danger of “ideological colonization,” in which such countries and organizations offer funding to help further a particular social agenda. Do we empower women by making sex selective abortions more accessible? Money spent on promoting abortion and contraception could be spent on vaccinating millions of women and girls against malaria or other diseases. $650 million could help build a lot of schools or universities, pathways to knowledge for future female leaders of our world.
Our country could learn from a number of inspiring examples of outreach and care that support women worldwide. Very often these programs are offered by faith-based, non-governmental organizations, which are usually the first to arrive and the last to leave any area of crisis or need. They understand the reality of the local situation, and respect the dignity of the people who live there.
Canada is blessed with prosperity and a wealth of resources. Surely we can do better than imposing a distorted vision of the empowerment of women on the people of countries that deserve our support to respond effectively to the challenge of their most pressing needs.
I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you regarding this critically important issue.
Thomas Cardinal Collins
Archbishop of Toronto
A huge thank you to all those who have been so deeply engaged in the Call for Conscience Campaign, which began on February 6, 2017. Here is a brief update on some of the key activities that have taken place and ask you once again to provide your support in the days ahead.
We are grateful to the many doctors, nurses, clergy and other advocates that have helped coordinate presentations in churches or other venues over the past month. While it is difficult to track all the activity, we know that well over 10,000 letters have been shared with Members of Provincial Parliament. Many supporters have also called their MPP and/or arranged for a meeting with their elected member. These are extremely impactful and we urge you to continue this activity. Earlier this week, Cardinal Collins wrote directly to Premier Kathleen Wynne. He has also met with the Minister of Health and Attorney General on this issue. In total the coalition has visited with approximately 60 MPPs.
Status of Bill 84
Second reading debate of Bill 84 is currently underway in the Ontario Legislature. We anticipate that shortly, debate will wrap up, at which time, a standing committee will be formed, to receive submissions and feedback on the current Bill before the legislature. The Coalition for HealthCARE & Conscience, along with many of our members, will provide submissions and request to appear as witnesses for these committee hearings.
More than a dozen doctors and nurses have participated in a media training session to prepare to answer questions around this topic. We will now begin a more proactive approach in urging journalists to cover this important issue in the days ahead.
We must continue to let our Members of Provincial Parliament know that this is a critically important issue. Here are some tangible ways you can assist the coalition:
- Pray for the campaign, those who seek assisted suicide and for health care workers conflicted over this most difficult dilemma.
- Utilize information leaflets and template letters to MPPs in your church or place of worship. All these resources can be found at: www.archtoronto.org/euthanasia
- Visit www.canadiansforconscience.ca and share your email address to ensure you are in the loop on the latest activity.
- If you’ve already written to your MPP, consider a phone call to their constituency office to let them know how important the issue is to you – be sure to let them know you are a constituent.
- We ask you to help spread the word by sharing the resources available at: http://bit.ly/callforconscience or www.archtoronto.org/euthanasia – please note we now have French and Chinese resources available on this site.
- View and share the 3 minute coalition video below.
Thank you for your ongoing support of this initiative. Your efforts continue to fuel all those who are working diligently to protect conscience rights in the Province of Ontario.