Monday, September 26, 2022

Canada’s new parliament must prioritize protection of conscience, think tank says

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When Parliament returns this fall, a new report says it should take steps to better protect freedom of conscience, a key component in harmonizing diverse views on various social and medical issues in Canada.

Titled “Our Inner Guide: Protecting Freedom of Consciousness” and published by public policy think tank Cardus, the report emphasizes the importance of freedom of conscience, noting that it is part of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. appears in the rights. and many other bills of rights.

“Yet, despite its universality, this human rights are, on the whole, universally neglected by courts, legislatures and policy makers,” the report said.

“Our aim is to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of conscience in a liberal democracy and to alert the Canadian people of the urgent need to give due respect to this human right.”

Noting that many people live in diverse, multicultural and plural societies, the report says, differing views “can create intense disagreements among citizens on what is good, what is right and what is right, as well as the need to resolve these disagreements.” can.”

Andrew Bennett said on the program, “We need to recognize that there is generally not one idea, that there are different ideas—often very different ideas—and that for our common lives, we need to make sure that Rights of conscience are protected.” The director of religious freedom and faith community engagement at Cardus told The Epoch Times.

The report touches on a number of social issues where people’s right to conscientiously object should be protected, including death, medical aid in abortion, and those who include “gender identity” and “gender expression” in the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination. related to joining. Human Rights Codes in Canada.

Bennett said, “Lawing down to protect honest objection—especially when it comes to health care professionals—is necessary, in fact, as we expand access to various ethically controversial types of medical services, medical treatments “

“All those kinds of actions, those kinds of treatments, those kinds of services are morally challenging,” he says. “It deals with some fundamental questions about human life, about the nature of the human person, so many traditions, religious and non-religious, have so much to say about it, and those beliefs that shape our conscience. Huh.”

The report noted that in Canada, while doctors are generally free to prescribe certain drugs or refuse to perform certain procedures or services with which they disagree, this is not the case when patients are referred to another doctor or When it comes to providing referrals to seek that service through a health professional. .

“Referrals are problematic for some health care workers because, in their view, they equate to physical association—significant complication—with unethical or unethical activity,” the report said.

“In a situation where a doctor is put in moral and fundamentally moral danger, it can be very damaging to that person’s moral compass,” Bennett said.

“And I think most Canadians would like to make sure their physicians are guided by their conscience, because we all want to be guided by our own conscience when we are called upon to make difficult decisions.”

In March, a controversial bill was passed into law in Canada to expand access to medical aid to those who die within two years, including those who are entirely from mental illnesses, despite protests from several minority groups.

Cardas is calling on provincial legislatures to enact legislation that would embed conscientious objection rights for medical professionals into the law, noting that Manitoba enacted such a law regarding assisted suicide in November 2017.

The think tank said, “The passage of a bill that strongly protects freedom of conscience, in particular, will recognize the freedom of health care workers and institutions that forbid them to participate in any such procedure or service.” which they consider immoral or immoral.” a press release.

The communique said Parliament has a duty to give priority to freedom of conscience, “especially when it has made laws that undermine or impede this freedom.”

“We have already seen regulatory bodies, such as the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, actively curtail doctors’ freedom of conscience and courts loosely interpret the constitutional protections of this freedom,” it says. Is.

Bennett, who was Canada’s religious freedom ambassador under the previous Harper government, said he is “very concerned” that if freedom of conscience is not protected, Canadians will lose more freedom in the future, noting that Some “worrying trends are around respect for freedom of conscience.”

He said, “I don’t think we are anywhere close to the situation in communist China or Cuba, or elsewhere where the rights and fundamental freedoms of conscience are violated on a daily basis, and also institutionally and systematically, ” They said.

“We are not there, but as a democracy we should not take [these freedoms] And we have to be cautious. “

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Andrew is a reporter based in Toronto.

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

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