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Monday, November 29, 2021

Lewis Will Oppose Liberal Plan to Upgrade Charity to Anti-Abortion Maternity Centers

OTTAWA – Leslin Lewis, in one of her first MP appearances on Parliament Hill, says she plans to invite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to a maternity center, which risks losing its charity status due to opposition to abortion.

The newly elected Ontario spokeswoman spoke about her plans to a recent rally in Ottawa to protest the liberal government’s pledge to end charity status for anti-abortion organizations.

During the election campaign, Trudeau announced that he would no longer grant this status to organizations that “dishonestly advise women about their rights and the options available to them at all stages of pregnancy.”

As an example, he cited crisis pregnancy centers that advocates of access to abortion services said were misleading about the procedure.

“We know that while they may distribute some diapers, they affect people’s access to health care and impact public health in the form of delayed access to health care,” said Frederic Schabo, director of health promotion at Action … Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, refers to crisis pregnancy centers.

In a statement, Lewis, a former Conservative leadership candidate who was heavily supported by socially conservative party members, said Trudeau was guided by a plan that required “adherence to () the test of illiberal values ​​of the Liberal Party of Canada,” as she advertised the pregnancy centers. for supporting women.

“Too often women find themselves in a position where they feel that life’s circumstances are pushing them to make decisions they don’t want to make,” she said.

“As a member of parliament, will I oppose the proposed illiberal anti-women policy aimed at stripping organizations of charitable status? who fail Justin Trudeau’s test of values, ”Lewis said in a statement.

In a statement, Adrienne Vaupshas, ​​a spokesman for Finance Minister Christia Freeland, reiterated the liberals’ statement on the platform, adding only that “additional information will be available in due course.”

In an interview, charity tax lawyer Adam Aptovitzer warned that keeping the pledge would be a politically charged process that could open a national debate about what counts as “charitable” in Canada.

“They certainly don’t want to get into this discussion because it is really fraught with difficulties,” he said.

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The Campaign Life Coalition, a national anti-abortion organization, nonetheless mobilized against the promise. On Wednesday, he presented the petitions to Lewis, as well as other MPs who come from the social conservative ranks of the federal Tories.

One was Alberta MP Arnold Firsen, who showed up with Lewis at the Parliament Hill demonstration that day. He told the crowd that they would resist the move “with all their might in the House of Commons.”

However, it remains unclear how much conservative leader Erin O’Toole plans to support this battle.

Asked about the Liberal promise on Thursday, O’Toole reiterated that he supports reproductive rights and does not believe in politicizing health issues.

“If someone is in crisis for any reason, be it addiction, homelessness, the problem of making choices for a woman, we need to unite people, not separate them. And that’s what the conservatives will try to do. “

Several years ago, Conservatives openly opposed a liberal government’s demand that applicants for its summer job program must declare support for access to abortion in order to qualify for funding.

Last month, a Federal Court judge dismissed a lawsuit against the rule filed in Toronto’s Right to Life.

The social conservative grassroots representatives of the Conservative Party have been some of O’Toole’s fiercest critics because they say he has reneged on promises he made to them when he ran for leadership last year, where he appealed directly to Lewis supporters.

Despite what seemed impressive during the race, Lewis remained on the bench when O’Toole announced his pick for critics earlier this month.

O’Toole says that as a Conservative leader, he is a supporter of reproductive rights.

Most of his faction voted in favor of a private member’s bill from Saskatchewan MP Katay Wagantall in June, which proposed banning doctors from doing so-called gender-based abortions.

The bill was easily rejected after MPs from Liberals, the NDP and the Quebec Bloc described it as a Trojan horse that undermines reproductive rights.

TO Stephanie Taylor

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