Attestation not about removing free speech
Martin Barker’s letter about the attestations for government grants (Citizen, May 2) unfortunately reflects a misunderstanding of the program.
First of all, it is not all about views surrounding abortion. That is only one component. It applies protection to all people whose rights are written in Canadian law. It includes the protection of reproductive rights, but more importantly it is about protecting LGBT youth.
However, the main point of the attestation is not to single out people who have certain beliefs. It is to prevent acting on these beliefs. This is done to protect youth who may be discriminated against by certain groups and denied employment.
This isn’t about stopping you from holding certain beliefs. This isn’t about discriminating against religious people. It’s about preventing organizations who actively work to undermine rights written into our law from receiving government funding. For example, a group that dedicates itself to distributing graphic images of aborted fetuses and refuses to hire gay youth will not be eligible. The government is simply asking that businesses and organizations vow to uphold the Charter rights of their employees. This is completely fair.
Again, this isn’t about preventing people from holding beliefs. It’s about refusing them funding if their organization is actively working against rights that are embedded in our Charter.