Canada Abortion Practitioner Morgentaler Gets Award, Archbishop Collins Upset

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 10, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Canada Abortion Practitioner Morgentaler Gets Award, Archbishop Collins Upset

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 10
, 2008

Quebec City, Canada ( — As abortion practitioner Henry Morgentaler received the Order of Canada award, Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto condemned him receiving the prestigious honor. Morgentaler has been scheduled for weeks to receive the award and pro-life advocates protested the Friday ceremony.

Morgentaler was one of 20 recipients of the award and he received it at a ceremony that Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean presided over in Quebec City.

"I’m honored to receive the Order of Canada today," Morgentaler read from a statement as he received the medal. "Canada’s one of the few places in the world where freedom of speech and choice prevail in a truly democratic fashion."

"I’m proud to have been given this opportunity coming from a war-torn Europe to realize my potential and my dream – that is to create a better and more humane society," he said.

Naming Morgentaler as a recipient of the medal sparked outrage across Canada and polls showed a majority of Canadians thought the award was inappropriate.

That includes Collins, a Catholic leader who send a statement condemning the ceremony.

"This is a sad moment in Canadian history," he said.

"The Order of Canada was created to recognize the outstanding achievements of citizens who have desired and helped to create a better country. Is a country made better when those who are most vulnerable are not allowed to continue their brief experience of the precious gift of life itself?" Archbishop Collins continued.

Collins said Morgentaler "is being received into the Order of Canada despite the opposition of hundreds of thousands of Canadians. This action divides our country. It does not unite."

Not everyone sees the man who opened up Canada to legal abortions in 1988 as the saint the way the Governor General’s office does.

Denise Mountenay, the head of the Canada Silent No More Campaign, a group for women who have had abortions and regret their decisions because of physical complications or mental health issues afterwards, told she is disappointed.

Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte, the Catholic archbishop of Montreal has already returned his medal as have several other recipients who say it is cheapened now.

Last month, the Canadian Judicial Council dismissed a complaint that pro-life advocates filed in response to the award. The complaint centered on Canada Supreme Court Justice Beverley McLachlin, who had defended her role in overseeing the award.

Charles McVety, president of the Canadian Family Action Coalition, said the chief justice should no longer sit on the Order of Canada panel because some award recipients, like Morgentaler, are involved in legal disputes that will eventually come before the court.

At the end of July, KLRVU surveyed Canadians and learned that a clear majority oppose giving Morgentaler the award.

The poll included 13,324 respondents when the firm conducted it from July 17-21.

The random telephone poll of Canadian households found 55.8% of Canadians oppose the awarding of the medal to the man who helped usher in unlimited abortions in Canada paid for at taxpayer expense.

The poll found opposition to the award across the provinces.

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