Last Updated: Friday September 24 2010
Week of July 14, 2003
COLF gives McLellan a blast
Organization seeks ban on embryo research
By GLEN ARGAN
The Catholic Organization for Life and Family says it is "very troubled" by the federal government's lack of leadership on marriage and "the current legislative vacuum on the reproductive and genetic technologies."
In a sharply-worded July 4 letter to Health Minister Anne McLellan, COLF said it was "very disappointed" the government did not appeal the Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that allows same-sex couples to marry.
The government's inaction "flies in the face" of a resolution passed overwhelmingly by the House of Commons four years ago to do everything it could to preserve the definition of marriage "as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others."
COLF was set up by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Knights of Columbus. The letter to McLellan was signed by Halifax Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, COLF's chairperson.
Prendergast said COLF and others who stated their views on same-sex marriage to the Commons justice committee "feel terribly let down by the failure of the government to act for the good of all."
He also noted that, 10 years after the Royal Commission on Reproductive Technologies called for government action to ban several of those technologies, the government still has not passed legislation enacting those recommendations.
COLF has affirmed positive aspects of the bill that was before the Commons before its summer recess as well as insisting "embryonic humans be accorded the same protection as all vulnerable members of the community."
The archbishop called on McLellan to impose a moratorium on all research involving human embryos until a just law is passed.
COLF was "genuinely shocked" to learn that the publicly-funded Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) now intends to fund embryonic stem cell research, Prendergast said.
"We are equally troubled that you, as the minister of health, have apparently done nothing to stop them when the House of Commons is in the process of deciding whether this highly controversial research should even be permitted."
The archbishop said, "The government's lack of response to the move by CIHR is looking disturbingly familiar to the government's failure to protect marriage.
"Once again, a small unelected body appears to be making significant social policy at the expense of the democratic process."
Meanwhile, several religious groups are seeking leave from the Supreme Court of Canada to appeal the Ontario court ruling allowing same-sex marriage.
Those groups include the Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Catholic Civil Rights League, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, and Muslim and Jewish participants.