Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister and leader of the country’s Liberal Party, won the election for the third time in September 2021, but achieved modest results in terms of seats and thus remained anchored to the need for a coalition government very little different from the previous one.
Concerned about budget difficulties, perhaps partly due to the significant increase in health care costs caused by the COVId-19 pandemic, in December Trudeau sent a document to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, giving her the mandate, in which he outlined the scenario of economic policies planned for the future. Among the upcoming goals highlighted in the document is a directive to “[…] introduce amendments to the Income Tax Act to make anti-abortion organizations that provide dishonest counselling to pregnant women about their rights and options ineligible for charitable status.” In the same directive, the Prime Minister also called for an increase in the medical expense tax credit to cover the cost of in vitro fertilization practices for surrogate mothers.
The guidelines of the party in this direction, after all, were already clear in the program document circulated during the previous electoral campaign, entitled Forward. For Everyone where, in the section dedicated to the infamous “sexual and reproductive rights”, the concept reiterated in December was anticipated and the “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” were expressly mentioned, accused of providing “dishonest counseling”.
Canada’s Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) are affiliated with Pregnancy Care Canada, a Christian-inspired non-profit organization dedicated to informing and supporting women during pregnancy, especially in cases where it was not initially intended. The question of charity status, granted or revoked to such centers, is not purely nominal or of prestige, but it obviously directly touches on the fiscal and related issue of property, funds and donations that they may or may not dispose of.
Juergen Severloh, director of CPC in Winnipeg, is concerned about this. In a recent interview released to the CHVN radio channel and reported on the website of the broadcaster, he first defended the CPCs from accusations of dishonesty, affirming the clarity and transparency of the information provided to women who turn to the centers, and whose mission is clearly pro-life from the beginning, but in no way judgmental or aggressive towards those who ask them for help or advice.
What Severloh fears, in particular, is precisely the financial and fiscal issue. “There’s a projected budget for this month [April],” he says, “and changes to the tax bill usually come in that budget, and that worries us.”
“Revoking the charity status,” Severloh adds, “[…] also means that all of the charity’s assets must be remitted. It means that the building that houses our headquarters, our property and the money from donations will be lost. Everything, everything is lost.” Above all, human lives will be lost, those of the unborn: in Canada, elective abortion is legal even after 20 weeks of the child’s life in the womb.