June 7th saw the first Parliamentary debate of Bill C-63; The Online Harms Bill. (Unsplash photo)

Controversial Online Harms Bill Debated in Parliament

More than 100 days after its introduction, Bill C-63, The Online Harms Act, which immediately sparked passionate reactions of furor or support, was debated for the first time in the House of Commons June 7. Minister of Justice and Attorney General Arif Virani said during his sponsor’s speech that the legislation will reduce exposure to...

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition granted intervenor status in assisted death case

The Court of Appeal of Alberta has granted the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) intervenor status in the controversial case of a 27-year-old Calgary woman with autism seeking approval for medical assistance in dying (MAiD) against her father’s wishes. On May 17, the non-profit that opposes assisted suicide submitted a five-page application to intervene containing legal...

Unsplash photo

Toronto palliative care forum seeks a ‘narrative of hope’

Amplifying advocacy and pastoral care efforts, bolstering educational resources and championing life-affirming legislation are among the recommendations emerging from an international interfaith symposium on palliative care staged in Toronto late last month. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) and the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV) bestowed health care, medicine, ethics, legal and pastoral care...

Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, takes notes during a news conference to present the dicastery’s declaration ‘Dignitas Infinita’ on human dignity, a copy of which is nearby, at the Vatican press office April 8.CNS photo/Pablo Esparza

Former trustee feels vindicated by dicastery’s dignity document

Reading the passages about gender theory written in the new Vatican document Dignitas Infinita (Infinite Dignity) offered Francine Champagne, a former school trustee in Winnipeg, a feeling of vindication. “The document supports what I have been saying all along: We are born male or female,” said Champagne. “God makes no mistakes.” The Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith...

Theo Johnson is shown playing for the Holy Names High School Knights. (Rob Mcintyre file photo)

Theo Johnson is shown playing for the Holy Names High School Knights. (Rob Mcintyre file photo)

Catholic high school football star eyes God over NFL draft as path to success

Days before the April 25-27 NFL draft, Theo Johnson was reconnecting with his Windsor, Ont., roots instead of focusing on being pegged by Bleacher Report as the 107th-ranked prospect. “I’m back in the places that built me up to who I am,” said Johnson. “Seeing my old high school reminded me a lot of the...

The International Pro-Life Flag will not fly over Toronto Catholic schools this May after Toronto Catholic District School Board trustees voted against a trustee’s motion. (Facebook photo)

Audience erupts in anger as trustees oppose flying pro-life flag at Toronto Catholic schools

The International Pro-Life Flag will not fly over Toronto Catholic schools this May. Toronto Catholic District School Board trustees voted against an April 23 motion proposed by trustee Michael Del Grande that the pro-life flag fly outside all schools and the Catholic Education Centre during the month of May, just as the board voted to...

From left, Fr. Fábio de Souza, Fr. Pierre Ducharme, O.F.M., and Fr. Daniel Ouellet, the Canadian priests taking part in the “Parish Priests for the Synod” international meeting.

Priests pumped to add voices to synod panel

They have yet to receive an agenda outlining what their Vatican visit will entail, but Fr. Fábio de Souza, Fr. Pierre Ducharme, O.F.M., and Fr. Daniel Ouellet told The Catholic Register they are ready to discern, listen and share at the “Parish Priests for the Synod” international meeting. At the Holy See’s behest, the Canadian Conference of...

Retired Superior Court of Quebec Justice André Denis found French priest Joannès Rivoire was guilty of sexually assaulting six children in Nunavut in the 1960s and ’70s. (Photo courtesy Andre Denis)

Justice’s report concludes Oblate abused Nunavut children

Following an exhaustive investigation, retired Superior Court of Quebec Justice André Denis has concluded French priest Joannès Rivoire was guilty of sexually assaulting five minors in Naujaat, Nunavut, between 1968 and 1970, and one in Arviat and Whale Cove, Nunavut, between 1974 and 1979. Denis also found that Rivoire departed Canada on Jan. 16, 1993,...

A 40 Days for Life vigil near the Morgentaler clinic in downtown Ottawa in 2017. Protesters have been unable to do so since 2018 when Ontario introduced its “bubble zone” law in 2018. Manitoba has introduced a similar law. (CCN file photo)

Manitoba introduces ‘bubble zone’ law

The Manitoba government is following in the footsteps of provinces like British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Québec by advocating for legislation prohibiting pro-life protests, demonstrations and picketing near clinics and hospitals that offer abortion and the residences of abortion providers. On March 7, Minister of Families Nahanni Fontaine and Minister of Health, Seniors and Long-term Care Uzoma Asagwara introduced The Safe Access to Abortion Services Act (Bill 8) to the provincial legislative assembly. If passed, the bill would mandate that “buffer zones” of 50 metres immediately take effect around hospitals and clinics, and the provincial cabinet would have authority to expand the boundary to 150 metres at a later date. The legislation stipulates that buffer zones around homes be set at 150 metres. Facilities offering chemical or surgical abortion that do not fall under the purview of The Safe Access to Abortion Services Act could apply for a buffer zone. The law also promises to provide protection to physicians and pharmacists that offer the abortion pill Mifegymiso. If passed, first-time offenders of the law would be subject to fine of up to $5,000, imprisonment of six months or both. Repeat offenders would face a $10,000 fine, one year of incarceration or both. Maria Slykerman, the president of Campaign Life Coalition Manitoba, denounced the proposed bill as “utterly totalitarian.” She said it “makes an enemy of every Manitoban who values the freedoms that make Canada such a great place to live — including the freedom to gather and speak in the public square, no matter who you are or what your views are.” Passing this statute has long been the apple of Fontaine’s eye. The MLA for the St. Johns riding since 2016 made five previous attempts to get this legislation passed from 2018 to 2021, but these efforts failed as the Progressive Conservative government of the time did not support her bill. The NDP formed the government following the 2023 election. Fontaine stated in a press release that “abortion is health care. Manitobans have the right to safe and accessible health care. Whether you’re accessing reproductive care, recovering from a procedure or providing critical health care to Manitobans, this new legislation would make sure your safety and privacy is protected.” Jeff Gunnarson, the national president of Campaign Life, stated that the bill takes away the free speech of those who advocate for the voiceless. “Let’s be clear: preborn babies are being killed in these centres,” said Gunnarson. “These are humans we’re talking about here, humans with human rights, including the right to life. But, they have no voice. So, pro-lifers become their voice and try to convince mothers to choose life for their babies. “It’s simply evil that a government wants to criminalize those voices at abortion centres who are trying to save lives, who are trying to stand up for the victim of a violent and cruel death. Shame on (Premier) Wab Kinew and the entire NDP for abandoning the preborn child with this anti-human-rights legislation. May God have mercy on us.” Lauren Stone, the Progressive Conservative families’ critic, has not yet publicly commented on The Safe Access to Abortion Services Act, which is expected to advance through the legislature and receive royal assent before the summer hiatus begins on June 4.

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