Justin Trudeau is the most pro-abortion prime minister this country has ever had. That is a bold statement, but the facts are indisputable. While previous prime ministers broadened the abortion law or claimed there was social peace so there was no need to talk about the issue, Justin Trudeau has repeatedly touted abortion as a “right” that Canada should be proud to promote, not only at home but abroad. Trudeau has sought to increase access to abortion, not only in Canada but around the world.
In 2012, when he was an MP but before he was leader, he told Radio Canada in Quebec that he would support Quebec separating in order to defend abortion “rights” and same-sex “marriage.” During an interview, he said: “I always say, if at a certain point, I believe that Canada was the Canada of Stephen Harper — that we are going against abortion … and we are going backwards in 10,000 different ways, maybe I would think about wanting to make Quebec a country.” In other words, he was willing to break up the country to protect abortion. When the story broke in English Canada, he initially refused to address the controversy before eventually stating that he merely meant Quebec served as a bulwark against some imagined encroaching social conservatism in the rest of the country. Proof that he needed to be concerned about the rise of pro-life and pro-family forces in Canada was Harper’s “tolerance” of a couple dozen pro-life MPs in the Conservative Party.
Two years later, on the eve of the National March for Life in Ottawa, Justin Trudeau — now leader of the Liberal Party of Canada – issued a diktat: henceforth, all candidates for the Liberals would have to support “a woman’s right to choose.” He said: “It is not for any government to legislate what a woman chooses to do with her body. And that is the bottom line.” After some confusion over whether sitting pro-life Liberal MPs would be allowed to run again, Trudeau clarified it was possible that the handful of pro-life MPs could return if they committed to not acting on their principled beliefs. The three sitting pro-life Liberal MPs who chose to run for re-election in 2015 agreed they could live with the moral compromise, but retired pro-life Liberal MP Tom Wappel noted that “people like us are now, suddenly, persona non grata in the Liberal Party of Canada.”
A year later, on March 9, 2015, six months before the general election, Trudeau gave a speech on Canadian values and the idea of liberty. In that speech, Trudeau praised abortion as one of Canada’s greatest achievements. “One set of policies in post-war Canada generated more liberty for more people than any other,” Trudeau said, ignoring the lethal consequences of more than four million victims of abortion. “It was the decades-long effort of the women’s movement to gain control over reproductive health and rights.” He emphasized: “The Canada we know today is unimaginable without widely available birth control and the legalization of a choice.” To Trudeau, abortion liberates women to allow them to realize their full potential.
To voters who were paying attention, Trudeau gave every hint about the sort of prime minister he would be. Allowing the status quo of abortion-on-demand was not going to be enough. He was going to promote abortion at every turn.
Once in power, Justin Trudeau would highlight abortion in speeches, but it was not until Donald Trump was elected president of the United States that the Canadian Prime Minister would turn rhetoric into policy.
After Trump reinstated the Mexico City policy that prevented US taxpayer dollars going to international organizations that promote or commit abortions, Trudeau responded by pledging a package of more than $650 million in new funding to promote sexual and reproductive health (code for family planning and abortion) in the developing world. The money was not new foreign aid spending but came out of the foreign aid budget, thereby depriving the poor of Africa, south Asia, and Latin America, of authentic and much-needed development and humanitarian aid. The new initiative paid for abortions where it was legal and was used to support groups lobbying to change local laws and mores.
In June 2019, Trudeau doubled down on the international abortion promotion by announcing a ten-year, $14 billion program to pay for more abortions and abortion-advocacy. Each year, Canada will give $1.4 billion to sexual and reproductive rights projects, and half will be reserved for the provision of abortion and birth control services, with the other half used to promote change (read: cajole, intimidate, coerce local governments). Trudeau increased the annual outlay for global abortion and abortion promotion from about $200 million annually to $1.4 billion.
At about the same time, Trudeau criticized the passing of pro-life laws in some U.S. states and took up the issue with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. Finger-wagging at the United States over what individual states do is an all-new level of ideological colonialism; it was clear there is no limit to Trudeau’s advocacy of abortion that he would risk a diplomatic tiff with Canada’s largest trading partner to register largely symbolic opposition to policies for which Pence had no responsibility.
Perhaps more egregious than the ideological imperialism of foisting abortion upon the developing world and upbraiding America for failing to share in Trudeau’s commitment to limitless abortion, was the Trudeau government’s program to foist its abortion ideology on recipients of the Canada Summer Jobs program in 2018.
Canada Summer Jobs subsidizes employment opportunities for students at companies, non-profits, and charities. Many religious and non-profit organizations are able to hire high school and post-secondary students for summer projects because of the program, but Justin Trudeau’s government imposed an “attestation” in which the hiring company or group would have to declare their support for “Charter rights and underlying values” including abortion and same-sex “marriage.” There was a backlash against the heavy-handed litmus test. Employment and Social Development Canada claimed it was never meant to violate the conscience rights of subsidy recipients, and altered the attestation so that companies or groups could not have a “core mandate” opposed to abortion. In other words, organizations that seek cultural or political change to restore pro-life protections for all preborn children would not be able to receive subsidies. Campaign Life Coalition, the Canadian Center for Bioethical Reform, the de Veber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research, and Toronto Right to Life were cut off. On the other hand, however, pro-abortion activists still qualified for federal employment subsidies.
The Trudeau government tinkered with the program for 2019, while keeping their controversial changes mostly intact. Federal Minister of Employment, Workforce, and Labour Patty Hadju announced last December that the Summer Jobs program was modified so that employers would no longer have to attest their support for abortion and same-sex “marriage” while maintaining the exclusion of any entity that undermined abortion or promoted discrimination. The new program requirements force recipients to pledge that the jobs funding “will not be used to undermine or restrict the exercise of rights legally protected in Canada,” and the departmental announcement of the program’s qualifications specifically stated that any job that “actively work(s) to undermine or restrict a woman’s access to sexual and reproductive health services,” is ineligible. Unfortunately, some former critics of the attestation thought this meant there was no attestation even though the essence of the program — which is designed to discriminate against pro-life groups — was maintained. While the new regulations still imposed a pro-abortion ideological litmus test on all recipients, it is more subtle. As Campaign Life Coalition noted at the time, there was a new indirect attestation. Rev. Andrew Bennett, program director for Cardus Law, said the Liberal government indicated by it stubborn persistence in promoting its pro-abortion ideology that it did not understand the importance of conscience or need for government to respect divergent points of view. Rev. Bennett explained, “simply because Canadians believe different things, they shouldn’t be penalized around, in this case, employment and jobs for young people.”
But it was always clear that Trudeau believed in punishing people who believed differently about abortion than he did, which is why he would not tolerate pro-life MPs within his own party. Trudeau’s commitment to the cause of abortion and expanding it everywhere has been a constant of his public life since becoming an MP and then Prime Minister; even when he seems to drift on his commitments to other radical causes such as environmentalism, electoral reform, and drug legalization, he has been unwaivering on abortion. Also, during the Trudeau government’s time in office, Health Canada has relaxed rules governing the abortion pill Mifepristone and pressured provinces like Prince Edward Island to expand abortion by liberalizing provincial rules on abortion access and funding and covering the abortion pill. Both at home and abroad, Trudeau has been promoting abortion as a right and a good, and seeking to increase access to it both in Canada and around the globe.