Mar 18

Traumatized young children seeking urgent counseling strained the resources of pediatric emergency departments across the country this week, as the devastating news that the Easter Bunny might be fake hit home.

Such is the aftermath of Tuesday’s shocking decision by Ontario Superior Court judge Andrew Goodman in the case of Derek and Frances Baars, who had their foster children abruptly yanked from their care by the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) of Ontario because they refused to attest to the existence of said rabbit.

The CAS trampled the Baars’ right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression, opined Mr. Goodman, stating: “It appears that the society would not be satisfied with anything other than confirmation from the Baars that they would lie about the Easter Bunny.”

The authors of DSM-5, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders that serves as scripture for practicing shrinks, shall be compelled to craft an addendum, as post-bunny stress disorder (PBSD) enters the lexicon of psychiatry.

And parents, don't think you can protect your children, equipped as they are in this modern day with smartphones and iPads before they can walk:  the kiddies have consumed all the news that matters to them before breakfast is over.  Clever, impossible-to-ignore headlines like the one in yesterday's Toronto Star - "Judge slams hare-brained decision to remove foster kids over Easter Bunny" - are digested along with their cereal and gleefully fed to preliterate siblings before you've rubbed the cobwebs out of your eyes.

Parental controls, my foot.  We have no control.  The four-year-olds are running circles around us.

I don’t blame the good Judge Goodman.  He simply affirmed by his ruling the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, upholding the rights of citizens to freedom of speech, freedom of thought and freedom of religion.  And in doing so he struck a blow, finally, for common sense in this country, dispensing with the noxious premise that people of faith mustn’t be allowed to be foster parents.

It’s a ruling that should give Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Employment Minister Patty Hajdu some pause, given their stubborn refusal to nix the attestation requirement recently appended by their government to the Summer Jobs Program application.  In order to receive federal government funds (from a pool generated by all taxpayers) applicant organizations must vouch their support of abortion.

As preamble, the application document declares that “the government recognizes that women’s rights are human rights. This includes sexual and reproductive rights — and the right to access safe and legal abortions”, before trotting out the attestation to be checked: “Both the job and the organization’s core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights. These include reproductive rights.”

Organizations, religious or not, which are troubled by unfettered access to abortion and refuse to tick off the attestation box will not receive funding.

Blasted by the uproar over the move to implement thought control and to curtail freedom of religion, Minister Hajdu offered up as supplement “clarifying” examples in an effort to mollify applicant organizations:

  • A faith-based organization with anti-abortion beliefs applies for funding to hire students to serve meals to the homeless. The organization provides numerous programs in support of their community.  The students would be responsible for meal planning, buying groceries, serving meals, etc.  This organization would be eligible to apply.
  • A faith-based organization that embraces a traditional definition of marriage but whose primary activities reduce social isolation among seniors applies for funding to hire students. The students would be responsible for developing and delivering programs to all seniors, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. ‎ This organization would be eligible to apply.
  • A faith-based organization with anti-abortion beliefs that operates a summer camp for disadvantaged youth applies for funding to hire students as camp counselors. The students would be responsible for developing programs for the youth, including leadership and skills development. This organization would be eligible to apply.

“This organization would be eligible to apply.”  In other words, screw your principles, set aside your moral code, hold your nose and sign the darn thing, already - or no money for you.

But faith-based organizations like the Mustard Seed in Calgary, which has worked tirelessly for years to supply basic needs of shelter, food, clothing, housing, and employment to men and women experiencing poverty, are not fooled, preferring not to sell out their morals for money.

One can imagine the Trudeau government’s delighted reaction had Judge Goodman decided differently in the Easter Bunny case, thereby providing legally sanctioned impetus to the open warfare by our Liberal government on Canadian families of faith: “In order to receive Canada Child Tax Benefits, please affirm: ‘I hereby promise to teach my children that the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and the Tooth Fairy are real.’ “

It was reported this morning that a legal challenge to the Summer Jobs attestation fiasco, brought on the grounds that it violates the constitution, has been expedited and will be heard before summer.  One hopes that the "Case of the Baars and the Bunny" will provide precedent, that common sense will prevail, and that the rights of all Canadians to freedom of expression will be confirmed and restored.

As to the Easter Bunny, if he/she/it is real, lean times lie ahead, now that doubt has been raised; supplementary employment may be in order.  Allow me to suggest, as a stopgap measure, the Summer Jobs Program - no matter how the legal challenge shakes out, that little bunny should have no trouble attesting to what amounts to a "hare-raising" impediment.

After all, given how rapidly they multiply, a bit of birth control for bunnies can only be a positive.

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