Order of Canada Sees Three Quit Over Award for Abortion Practitioner Morgentaler
by Steven Ertelt
June 2, 2009
Ottawa, Canada (LifeNews.com) — The Order of Canada has officially accepted the resignations of three members over its decision to present a medal to long-time abortion practitioner Henry Morgentaler. The award, given last year, sparked national outrage and polls showed Canadians thought it was inappropriate.
Morgentaler was one of 20 recipients of the award and he received it at a ceremony in October that Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean presided over in Quebec City.
Morgentaler was awarded the Order of Canada, "[for] his commitment to increased health care options for women, his determined efforts to influence Canadian public policy and his leadership in humanist and civil liberties organizations."
Now, Jean, Canada’s Governor General, has officially accepted the resignations of three members of the Order of Canada who protested the award.
Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, who resigned his Order, recently said that he "decided to take a stance that clearly reflects my convictions." He called the decision to give the honor to an abortion practitioner "questionable."
Rene Racine and Jacqueline Richard also resigned.
Two other prominent pro-life advocates have also returned their medals including Father Lucien Larré of Coquitlam, British Columbia and former New Brunswick lieutenant-governor Gilbert Finn. However, they have not officially resigned from the Order.
I returned my decorations and it was my intention to withdraw, Mr. Finn told the Toronto Globe and Mail on Monday.
The Governor General’s office announced last year that seven medals were returned to it to protest Morgentaler’s nomination.
During the ceremony, Morgentaler said he was "honored to receive the Order of Canada."
"Canada’s one of the few places in the world where freedom of speech and choice prevail in a truly democratic fashion," he added. "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."
The Canadian Judicial Council eventually 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 Order of Canada was created in 1967 to honor those who have "enriched the lives of others and made a difference to this country."
Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From LifeNews.com
Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report Receive a free daily email report from LifeNews.com with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.