NEW YORK — A vast majority of Canadians oppose recent government action that requires the businesses and organizations participating in its popular summer jobs program to affirm support of abortion rights.
In a new poll released this week, 47 percent of respondents said the requirement was “discriminatory” and another 26 percent of respondents said they disagree with it.
The poll was commissioned by the Knights of Columbus and conducted by StrategyOne, in both English and French.
(The Knights of Columbus are a principal sponsor of Crux.)
Earlier this year, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government said that those seeking government support to hire students while on summer break must sign a statement that, among other items, affirms support for the government’s position on abortion.
In January, leading Muslim, Jewish, and Catholic leaders joined together in protest of the requirement.
Archbishop Christian Lépine of Montreal told Crux in February the requirement was a form of social exclusion for people of faith.
“It says: ‘You are a part of society, but there are certain aspects of who you are that you should keep private, and we don’t want them to be part of society.’ Our Charter of Rights was not made for that; it was made to prevent us from creating second-class citizens,” said Lépine.
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The poll found that 43 percent of respondents also found the requirement to be in violation of Canada’s Charter of Rights.
Despite the widespread disagreement, only 26 percent of respondents were aware that the requirement has been implemented.
While a majority of respondents — 62 percent — self-identified as “pro-choice,” 65 percent of respondents said they would like to see abortion limited to the first three months of pregnancy.
“Abortion is not in the Charter of Rights, so if you want to respect people who hold various beliefs,” said Lépine. “If you want to be democratic, you don’t decide who receives funding or not based on matters related to their beliefs.”