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

Qualicum Beach Fire & Ice Festival snuffed out

Committee announces termination of event after 25 years

Parksville-Qualicum MLA says throne speech thin on detail

Stilwell: Government lacks economic development plan to pay for promises

Big chill follows big dump of snow in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Sub-freezing overnight temperatures forecast for rest of week

Generals, Buccaneers extend rivalry as VIJHL playoffs open Tuesday

Oceanside closes the regular season with back-to-back losses to Nanaimo

Vaudeville variety show in Errington kicks off

Raunchy comedy, impressive singing, sultry dances and more feature in show

WATCH: Vancouver Island man catches dashcam video of near head-on crash

Video shows oncoming van cross over centre line

Federal government to fight solitary confinement ruling from B.C. court

B.C. Supreme Court decided to end the practice of solitary confinement in Canadian prisons

Hedley withdraws from Junos, plans to discuss ‘how we have let some people down’

Hedley was dropped by their label last week after sexual misconduct accusations

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: B.C. takes home gold in two-man bobsleigh

Women’s hockey team beats Russia 5-0, Comox skier takes home best qualifying score

Wounded Warrior Run 2018 leaves Port Hardy

The Wounded Warrior Run is a relay run where a group of runners cover Vancouver Island in seven days

Calgary man dies in Mexico following sudden illness

Troy Black was with his wife, Lindsay, in Puerto Vallarta when he began vomiting blood on Thursday

Vancouver Island job market ever-evolving

Various sectors driving employment in region will be represented at Black Press career fair in Comox Feb. 8

Virtue and Moir break their own world record

Virtue and Moir break short dance record to sit first in ice dance at Olympics

Trump gets angry about election meddling, but not at Russia

‘Weirdest thing’: Trump expresses anger, but not over Russian election-meddling

Most Read