Rumours persist that abortion group is preparing application

Interim Staff

The Interim is attempting to substantiate reports that abortionist Dr. Henry Morgentaler has been nominated for the prestigious Order of Canada award.

The Order of Canada is awarded by the Governor-General to salute significant achievement or service in international, national or local affairs. Past winners include G. Emmett Cardinal Carter, retired Montreal Canadien hockey star Jean Beliveau, Terry Fox and L’Arche community founder Jean Vanier.

The Latin motto of the Order of Canada—desiderantes meliorem patriam—indicates that recipients “desire a better country” through their lives and work.

While not all Order of Canada recipients can be considered strong defenders of the unborn, the pro-life community is dismayed the country’s leading abortionist would be put forward for nomination.

An official with the Humanist Association of Canada indicated the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League (CARAL) was preparing the paperwork for a Morgentaler nomination. Morgentaler is honorary president of the Humanist Association, an organization rejecting religious beliefs and advocating reason and human experience to decide questions of morality. He is also a patron of CARAL, a group seeking unrestricted access to abortion services in Canada.

Marcia Gilbert, executive director of CARAL, told The Interim she is not at liberty to confirm Morgentaler’s nomination for the Order of Canada. Neither Morgentaler nor his executive assistant returned telephone calls to The Interim.

Kate McGregor, a spokesperson with Rideau Hall in Ottawa, said anyone can forward the name of deserving Canadians for the Order of Canada. She said nominations are reviewed by an Advisory Council, which then recommends to the Governor-General the names of those considered most worthy of appointment.

McGregor would not reveal if Morgentaler has been nominated for the award, adding that nominees remain confidential. Order of Canada recipients are announced in January and July of each year. She admitted a Morgentaler nomination for the award would be highly controversial.

Although there may be little likelihood of his actually receiving the Order of Canada, the Morgentaler nomination is troubling to Canadian pro-life leaders.

“I’m surprised that the pro-abortion side would even consider nominating Morgentaler for the Order of Canada,” said Sue Hierlihy, public affairs director of Campaign Life Coalition (Ottawa). “That’s really pushing it. I wonder how many convicted criminals in the past have been nominated.”