By Brian Dryden, Canadian Catholic News
[Ottawa – CCN] – When Pierre Trudeau was elected to a majority government for the final time in 1980 he famously quipped in his election victory speech, “Well, welcome to the 1980s.” Forty-one years later his son Justin Trudeau could have said “Well, welcome back to 2019,” when he failed to achieve the majority he wanted after he called a federal election that ended Sept. 20 during a fourth wave in Canada of the global COVID pandemic.
But he didn’t.
Despite the results of the 2021 federal election being, except for a few minor seat changes, almost identical to the 2019 election standings, Trudeau said the result is a “clear mandate” for his government going forward.
“What we’ve seen tonight is that millions of Canadians have chosen a progressive plan,” Trudeau said in his victory speech after he won a second-straight minority government. As of the morning of Sept. 21, and with some votes were still being counted, the Liberals have 158 seats, the Conservatives 119, the Bloc Quebecois 34, the NDP 25 and the Greens two.
“Some have talked about division, but that’s not what I see,” Trudeau said. “I see Canadians, standing together. Together, in your determination to end this pandemic. Together for real climate action, for $10-a-day child care, for homes that are affordable for middle class families. For our shared journey on the path of reconciliation.”
For Catholics, the re-election of the Trudeau Liberals to a minority government means the re-election of a government that has all but eliminated all pro-life voices within the party and has pushed forward an expansion of medically-provided euthanasia which makes it easier for Canadians to commit suicide with the help of a doctor.
Those positions of the newly re-elected Liberal government are in opposition to the views expressed by Catholic organizations that released voter guides during the 2021 campaign such as the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Toronto.
Toronto’s Catholic Charities, in its election guide Catholic Social Teaching and the 2021 Federal Election, said “as Catholics, we believe that the life and dignity of each person must be respected and protected at every stage and in every condition, from the unborn to those at the end of life.
“We want to elect governments that actively work to shape a world where human life receives full respect at all stages. That means electing governments that will abide by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the very first of which is freedom of conscience and religion,” the Toronto archdiocese’s Catholic Charities guide said, adding “life itself is the first and most basic human right.”
“In Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) Pope Francis restates the Church’s strong condemnation of abortion, while holding up support of struggling parents and adoption as acts of love which provide an alternative. Just as children are to be protected from the moment of conception, as they develop and throughout their lives, those who are at the end of their lives also deserve this care, so that their passing from this world to the next is marked by dignity and respect,” the Catholic Charities guide continued. “The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision to strike down the laws against assisted suicide continues to challenge us. The conscience rights of physicians and health professionals who choose not to participate in the intentional killing of a patient need defending and protecting.”
But while the federal Liberals’ positions on pro-life issues are in opposition to Catholic Church teaching, the Conservative party and its leader Erin O’Toole also campaigned as a pro-choice party and pledged to support existing abortion rights in Canada.
And that support for abortion rights expressed by the Conservatives is being targeted by one of the largest social conservative organizations in Canada, which for the second election in a row claims that the Conservative party has abandoned pro-life Canadians.
A statement released by the Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) said it “is disappointed, but not surprised, by the re-election of pro-abortion Justin Trudeau with a minority Liberal government. The election was a missed opportunity by Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole whose attempt to steer the party to the left backfired.”
“Trudeau’s Liberals are the party that champions death, and will continue to be a government that silences pro-life views for the foreseeable future,” said CLC president Jeff Gunnarson. The CLC is calling for a change of leadership in the Conservative party, which coalition also demanded after the 2019 election. “O’Toole needs to resign, and the party should hold a leadership review at the earliest opportunity in order to choose a leader who can bring back all the social, fiscal, and democratic conservatives who were driven away from the party by his lurch to the left,” said Gunnarson.