Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes part in a round table discussion with The Canadian Press in Ottawa on Monday, Jan. 15, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

‘Reprehensible’: Trudeau abortion policy raises ire of U.S. right

“This man is reprehensible,” tweeted former White House staffer Sebastian Gorka

In what’s almost certainly a first in the lengthy history of bilateral relations between the countries, Canada’s summer-jobs program has become the object of criticism from America’s right wing.

The reason is abortion.

A former Trump White House adviser, several news organizations and the president’s favourite Fox News morning show have all dumped on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s explanation for why pro-life groups should be excluded from $220 million in federal jobs grants.

The prime minister’s suggestion that pro-life groups were out of line with Canadian society triggered criticism in the country next door — where abortion remains a subject of mainstream political debate and is a central issue in the struggle for control of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Related: B.C. woman’s anti-abortion beliefs a roadblock for summer jobs grant

“This man is reprehensible,” tweeted former White House staffer Sebastian Gorka.

It’s not the first time Trudeau has landed on the radar of the American right.

While he’s drawn fawning profiles in mainstream magazines and polls have suggested he’s relatively well-liked in the U.S., there are three cases now where he’s drawn conservative ire down south, after his praiseful eulogizing of Fidel Castro and the multimillion-dollar legal settlement with Omar Khadr.

There were even a few boos at a Republican rally in Florida recently when President Donald Trump mentioned Trudeau’s name — though the president interjected quickly to silence them: “No, I like him,” Trump said. “Nice guy. Good guy.”

The latest controversy involves a new Canadian policy — when applying for federal grants for student jobs, organizations are now required to sign a form attesting that neither their core mission, nor the job being funded, opposes human rights, including reproductive rights.

Pro-life activists are suing the federal government over it.

The abortion controversy produced a segment Monday on the morning show “Fox and Friends”.

Host Brian Kilmeade said: “What message is he trying to send to us, maybe?” Co-host Rachel Campos-Duffy added: “What happens in Canada often comes down to us. This is an effort to silence pro-lifers. … This is a sign of intolerance. If you have a pro-life view you’re not welcome to share it or else you’re kicked out of this program.”

They invited the head of largest American annual pro-life march onto the air to discuss it. Jeanne Mancini, whose annual March for Life is later this week, said she hoped to invite the prime minister to attend the rally.

“Because he will see who’s really out of touch with mainstream America,” Mancini said. “We’ve lost over 60 million Americans to abortion. To the prime minister, I would just really want to talk to him.”

Trudeau discussed the controversy in an interview Monday with The Canadian Press.

He said he’s a Catholic who has long had to reconcile his religious beliefs with his responsibilities as a political leader and he said the latter demands that he defend people’s rights.

In this case, he said that means a woman’s right to choose trumps the right to a federal grant.

“An organization that has as its stated goal to remove rights from Canadians, to remove the right that women have fought for to determine what happens to their own bodies, is not in line with where the charter (of Rights) is or where the government of Canada is,” Trudeau said Monday.

“Certainly there is no obligation by the government of Canada to fund organizations that are determined to remove rights that have been so long fought for by women.”

Alexander Panetta, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Dix says B.C. remains focused on fighting youth overdoses in wake of teen’s death

Elliot Eurchuk’s parents say he died at his Oak Bay home after taking street drugs

Central Saanich, Tsawout taking part in reconciliation ceremony

Blanket event Monday to help foster mutual trust and respect

Retired Gordon Head teacher not ready to ride into the sunset

86-year-old keeping active with marathon paddling trek and week-long cycling tour

Parents grieving teen’s overdose death say it started with opioid prescription

Elliot Eurchuk, 16, died at his Oak Bay home Friday, after taking street drugs

‘On the Cusp’ debuts at Victoria store front

Camosun Visual Arts students present new exhibit

UVic’s Gustavson goes carbon neutral for air travel

As a way to offset the frequent airplane travel that comes with… Continue reading

Final week for ALR input

Public consultation process closes April 30

‘When everybody leaves: Counselling key to help Humboldt move on after bus crash

Dealing with life after a tragedy can be the worst part following a loss

Central Saanich, Tsawout taking part in reconciliation ceremony

Blanket event Monday to help foster mutual trust and respect

Ballet Victoria soirée fundraiser a prelude to final show of season

Company winds up its 15th season in the city with Peter Pan next month

Half-naked shooter guns down four, runs away in Nashville Waffle House shooting

Nashville police say they are looking for Travis Reinking in connection with the shooting

Child’s body found in river downstream from where boy went missing during flood

Three-year-old Kaden Young was swept out of his mother’s arms in February

B.C. VIEWS: Eliminating efficiency for farm workers

Don’t worry, NDP says, the B.C. economy’s booming

Most Read