18 Jun 2015 Has Justin Trudeau changed his view on freedom of conscience?
For Immediate Release – June 18, 2015
Ed Komarnicki’s motion to strengthen democracy passed easily in the House of Commons yesterday. Members of Parliament voted 273 to 1 in favour of the Saskatchewan MP’s motion.
“This is an incredibly encouraging result and bodes well for democracy and fair governance,” said Mike Schouten, the director of the WeNeedaLAW.ca campaign.
“Freedom of conscience has undergone an evolution in the past number of years, and it has not been a positive one. But yesterday’s vote is a small indication that this once formidable pillar to our free and democratic society is making a comeback,” continued Schouten.
“Perhaps most intriguing is that Justin Trudeau also voted in favour of Komarnicki’s motion. We can only hope that this signals a move away from his harsh edict last year in which he said that he would force his members to vote against any legislation that would regulate abortion,” said Schouten.
There was also a surprising bit of irony in yesterday’s vote. Gordon O’Connor, the government whip until July 2013, was the only one to vote against Komarnicki’s motion.
“Who can forget the pro-abortion diatribe he delivered on behalf of the government in 2012 when MPs where debating Stephen Woodworth’s Motion 312,” said Schouten. “Canadians can take encouragement that there is an overwhelming amount of support for their elected representatives to vote freely on matters of conscience and make decisions based on their true character rather than party whips.”
Motion M-590 tabled by Mr. Komarnicki and voted on yesterday reads, “That, in the opinion of the House, all Members of Parliament should be allowed to vote freely on all matters of conscience.”
“For Canadians to advance the protection of human rights for all human beings we need a Parliament that is open to discussing serious matters. There should never arise a situation where one particular dogma is forced on all members as a result of tension surrounding certain moral convictions.”
“In the past several years there have been various attempts to censor anti-abortion groups and we encourage our elected lawmakers – yes, also Mr. Trudeau – not to embrace the illusory comforts of censorship but rather engage vigorously in the battle of conflicting worldviews that form the beautiful mosaic we call Canada,” Schouten concluded.
Media Requests: Mike Schouten will be available for interviews throughout the week.