Justin Trudeau supports same-sex marriage and calls abortion a fundamental right.

Justin Trudeau supports same-sex marriage and calls abortion a fundamental right.

July 15, 2013

While Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's speaking fees to charities are raising controversy, many Catholic parents in Ottawa would rather he did not speak at Catholic schools, even for free.

At a meeting last month of the Ottawa Catholic School Board, several ratepayers raised concerns a new policy on partners would not ensure Trudeau, a Catholic with views in favour of abortion and gay marriage, would be prevented from speaking.

"I'm very disappointed in the trustees of the Ottawa Catholic School Board," said Teresa Pierre, president of Parents as First Educators (PAFE) who flew up from Toronto for the meeting.

"The concerns of parents have been made clear to them for the past few months," she said. "They have failed to respond by giving a policy that would assure them their children are being looked after, to have their spiritual lives protected as much as their physical lives are protected."

Some policy adjustments made on partnerships pleased Pierre and the several dozen ratepayers who attended. In the policy it says: "Controversial products and services are to be avoided (e.g. alcoholic beverages and tobacco products), as well as influences contrary to Catholic social and moral teaching."

"We do congratulate the staff and the trustees who contributed to create a better statement about Catholic education, that the moral and social dimensions will be considered," Pierre said.

Trustees passed some modifications to the policies on field trips, but did not include a mechanism for vetting speakers and ensuring they lined up with Catholic moral teaching.

Bruce Clark, a PAFE member in Ottawa, told the trustees the schools needed to do some simple checks on speakers.

Teresa Pierre

Teresa Pierre

Trudeau calls a "woman's right to choose a fundamental right," Clark said. "That's diametrically opposed to Catholic teaching. Yet he was brought into the schools to talk about bullying."

"He establishes a 'Wow!' experience for these kids," Clark said. When the students reach voting age, they remember, "He's the guy who came to our class."


James Doak, an Ottawa parent, told the trustees that on Good Friday, Trudeau tweeted his support for abortion in Twitter. He also tweeted his support for abortionist Henry Morgentaler upon his death, calling him a "crusader for women's reproductive freedom."

Frank Baird, a former RCMP officer and retired professional clown, also raised concerns about Trudeau.

"In my years in the force, I knew what brainwashing was and is," Baird said.

"A lot of the things that are being brought into the schools should not be brought into the separate schools. I'm all for stopping bullying, but there's a hidden agenda behind that."

Gillian Keenan, a mother of eight children, expressed disappointment after the meeting because the board leaves principals as the "last line of defence." "I'd like stronger leadership," she said.