As Canadians, we enjoy and cherish our fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of speech and freedom of conscience. The government plays a vital role in protecting these and other rights and freedoms we enjoy as citizens. Every government in Canada chooses its own priorities that are meant to help Canadians realize their full potential. What every Canadian government should have in common is the understanding that they should respect these fundamental Charter rights and put these rights ahead of political point-scoring.
That’s why Justin Trudeau’s decision to require all groups seeking support from the Canada Summer Jobs program to sign an attestation declaring support for the ideological views of the Liberal Party is simply appalling. As Conservatives, we will continue to clearly and forcefully express our opposition to this Liberal values test that is being imposed on Canadians.
Canadians expect their government to respect the diversity of opinion and belief that exists in our country. But while Justin Trudeau talks a lot about respecting that diversity, his actions tell a very different story. He chose not to listen to the many community organizations that make good use of this program, and who will now be unable to provide their services. Among those who will have to cut back are organizations that provide aid to refugees, run daycare programs for kids with disabilities and offer help to at-risk youth. This is yet another example of how this government is attacking the very people they claim to help.
Conservatives believe that Canadians know better than their government what is good for them. We listened and consulted with community organizations across the country, because we believe that Canadians have a right to hold their own beliefs, and to express themselves without fear of judgment from the federal government. No one has a right to prevent others from advocating or expressing their most deeply-held personal beliefs. The responses we received have been swift and clear. From church groups in the Maritimes, to Muslim organizations in Toronto, to services for the homeless in Alberta, to summer camps in Vancouver Island, we have heard repeatedly how this policy will hurt local institutions and those seeking their help. Many have already been forced to make a tough decision and refuse to apply for the Canada Summer Jobs program this year. And with the deadline passed, other groups now worry that more government programs will be subject to this values test.
Justin Trudeau has made the wrong decision, and grassroots organizations that have been hurt by it need to make their voices heard. Organizations applying for public programs should not be denied access to them solely because Prime Minister does not share their beliefs. It makes one wonder if Justin Trudeau will apply his values test to Canadians receiving other services, including organizations that receive charitable status from the Canada Revenue Agency.
You can always count on Canada’s Conservatives to defend freedom of belief and expression for everyone; for people of faith, and no matter who you are or where you came from. These are core Canadian values.
They’re what we believe in, and what we fight for.