Saturday, July 14, 2007

Worthy candidates for the Order of Canada

The London Free Press
By Rory Leishman

On June 29, Governor General Michaelle Jean announced the appointment of the Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes to the Order of Canada. He is the pastor of Toronto’s Metropolitan Community Church and one of the foremost proponents of same-sex marriage in Canada.

Earlier this year, Jean also invested Michele Landsberg into the Order of Canada, not as an ordinary Member like Hawkes, but with the higher rank of an Officer. Landsberg is a radical feminist, left-wing journalist and one of the most notorious proponents of abortion on demand in Canada.

Critics of these appointments should direct their ire not at Prime Minister Stephen Harper but at Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin of the Supreme Court of Canada. She is the ex officio head of the advisory council that recommends Order of Canada recipients to the Governor General.

Jean has also recently designated former Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien and former Reform Party leader Preston Manning as Companions of the Order of Canada. In Manning’s case, the distinction is both well deserved and most exceptional. Over the past 40 years, few of the social activists among the more than 5,000 recipients of the Order of Canada have been social conservatives: The overwhelming majority have been liberals and left-wingers.

Notably missing from the ranks of the Order of Canada are eminent Canadians like Dr. L. L. (Barrie) deVeber, Professor Emeritus in Paediatrics and Oncology at the University of Western Ontario. He is also the former director of the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology program at the Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario.

DeVeber is an internationally recognized pioneer in palliative paediatric dare and currently serves as the President of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of Ontario. He is also the Founding President of The deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research, an organization previously known as the Human Life Research Institute that was renamed in his honour in 1996.

As President of Alliance for Life Canada in May, 1975, deVeber presented a petition with more than one million signatures to Parliament, requesting legal protection for the life of the unborn. As a medical researcher, professor, clinician and community volunteer, deVeber ranks among the most accomplished of contemporary Canadians. Yet he holds no rank whatever in the Order of Canada.

Among the many other prominent social conservatives who richly deserve the Order of Canada is Salim Mansur, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Western Ontario. He is internationally renowned as an outspoken Muslim champion of freedom and democracy.

Mansur has frequently appeared on network television and written extensively for newspapers and magazines in Canada and the United States, including National Review, the Middle East Forum and Frontpagemag. He is a founder of the Washington-based Centre for Islamic Pluralism; a member of the academic council for the Centre for Security Policy, also based in Washington, DC; and a Senior Fellow with the Canadian Coalition for Democracies.

In February, 2006, Mansur teamed up with David Frum for a debate in Doha, Qatar, with two apologists for Hamas that was broadcast internationally on the BBC. Salim acquitted himself well, forthrightly denouncing the anti-Semitism and terrorism of Hamas. For his impartial advocacy of justice for both Arabs and Israelis, Mansur received a “Profile in Courage” award at a national meeting of the American Jewish Congress in Los Angeles in September.

Granted, not everyone admires Mansur. In a letter in November to UWO President Paul Davenport, Mohammed Elmasry, National President of the Canadian Islamic Congress, denounced Mansur for having allegedly published opinion-based columns that “consistently denigrate Islam and Muslims” and “are filled with hate-literature expressions.”

Elmasry is hardly in a position to level such charges. In 2004, he was subjected to a hate-crime investigation, (albeit never charged), by the Halton Regional Police for having stated on the Michael Coren television program that all Israeli citizens over the age of 18 are fair targets for assassination by Palestinian suicide bombers.

Like Mansur, deVeber also has his critics. Nonetheless, as exemplars of the courage, integrity and moral convictions that are essential to the peace, prosperity and very survival of Canada as a free and democratic county, both deVeber and Mansur clearly rank among the distinguished Canadians who eminently deserve the Order of Canada.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

McGuinty flouts the Pope

Catholic Insight
By Rory Leishman
In an exchange with reporters on May 15, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty repudiated the admonition of Pope Benedict XVI that Catholic politicians are no less obligated than all other people to uphold the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death. "I have a different constituency than does the Pope,” said McGuinty. “I am responsible for representing all kinds of people from all kinds of different backgrounds, different faiths, different cultures, different traditions."
McGuinty added: “There’s one particular aspect of myself that is in common with the Pope … I happen to be Catholic.” Is that right? How can anyone claim to be Catholic while defying the most solemn pronouncements of the Church on fundamental principles of morality?
McGuinty, of course, is not alone in taking this self-serving stance. Numerous other Catholic politicians have done the same. In a press conference on May 9, Pope Benedict singled out the Catholic politicians in Mexico who recently voted to legalize abortion during the first 12 weeks of life. Benedict noted that in approving this law, these legislators had excommunicated themselves, because “the killing of an innocent human child is incompatible with being in communion with the body of Christ.”
In response to this statement, McGuinty has, in effect, accused the Pope of violating the separation of church and state. The charge is groundless. The Pope has never issued any instructions to the legislatures of Mexico, Canada, Ontario or any other jurisdiction. He has simply reminded Catholic politicians of their Christian duty to oppose abortion and uphold the sanctity of human life.
McGuinty presumes to disagree. Notwithstanding the Pope’s instruction, he contends that he has an overriding duty as a politician to pander to the people even when their wishes violate the teaching of the Catholic Church on the most profoundly important moral issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Just how far, though, would McGuinty take this argument? Peter Singer, the notorious professor of ethics at Princeton University, argues that the law should permit a medical doctor to kill a severely handicapped newborn infant at the request of the child’s parents. According to McGuinty’s logic, if the majority of the people of Ontario were to embrace this perverse notion, he would be morally obligated as a political leader also to favour infanticide.
That’s plainly absurd. Surely, there must be some vitally important moral principles that McGuinty would not violate for the purpose of gaining and retaining political power.
On one point, McGuinty is right: He and the Pope have different responsibilities. While the Pope has a duty to expound the fundamental principles of the natural moral law, it’s up to legislators like McGuinty to translate those principles into state laws and public policy.
Instead, McGuinty has become a law unto himself. He flouts the fundamental moral teachings of the Catholic Church.
Pope John Paul II clearly spelled out the position of the Church on abortion in his definitive encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life). In remarks directed specifically to legislators, John Paul stated: “When it is not possible to overturn or completely abrogate a pro-abortion law, an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality.”
In Canada, only Parliament can outlaw abortion through an amendment to the federal criminal code. However, the provincial legislatures could at least limit the number of abortions by such measures as defunding the death-dealing procedure, introducing parental notification laws and requiring a mother to see an ultrasound recording of her baby in the womb before consenting to an abortion.
What, though, has McGuinty done to curb abortion on demand in Ontario? Absolutely nothing. He has not even made clear his absolute personal opposition to abortion both as a private individual and a public legislator.
That’s shameful. McGuinty might still be a Catholic, but according to no less an authority than Pope Benedict XVI, he and other likewise errant Catholic politicians are not entitled to approach the Eucharist until they sincerely repent for their complicity in the evil of abortion.