Press Room

Contra Justin Trudeau, Pierre Trudeau insisted that abortion was not a ‘Charter right’

Toronto, Jan 16, 2018 – In view of the ongoing Canada Summer Jobs Program controversy, Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) reiterates that Justin Trudeau continues to be at odds with his late father, author of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, by insisting that abortion is a right.

On Sept 29th, 2017, Jim Hughes, president of CLC sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, urging him to stop claiming that abortion was a ‘Charter right’. Because the Prime Minister continues to repeat this allegation in town halls and in the Canada Summer Jobs attestation, CLC is releasing a shortened version of the letter to provide the public with the truth:

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

I expect you will appreciate my bringing to your attention, some very serious allegations you are frequently making, in regard to abortion.

Abortion is not a ‘Charter right’, and it is not a ‘human right’.

In the early 1980’s, Campaign Life Coalition worked very hard to have the right to life enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Prime Minister at the time, your father, assured us that the Charter would have no impact on the abortion question.

In a letter regarding a suggested amendment, dated July 6, 1981, to Archbishop MacNeil of Edmonton, the President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau wrote: “The arguments advanced to show that the Charter will create an entitlement to abortion on demand have been clearly refuted in the opinion given by the Department of Justice. In my view, the need of an amendment has not been clearly demonstrated.”

Earlier, in June 1981, the Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau stated: “Because the public is evenly divided on the subject of abortion it was the government’s ‘considered view’ that a position favouring one side should not be enshrined in the charter. The Government feels the issue is not one which should be defended by the Constitution.”

Over the years, your father's words have proven to be true, as abortion has never been declared to be a ‘Charter right’ by the Supreme Court of Canada. In fact, the Court has specifically held that there is a legitimate right for Parliament to legislate on the issue, should it so choose.

It was quite clear by the authors of the Charter that abortion isn’t a ‘right’, and it is unbecoming for the Prime Minister of Canada today, to deliberately utter a falsehood and to keep repeating it.

In future, we respectfully request that you refrain from either stating or implying that abortion is a ‘Charter right’ as it is clearly not.


Jim Hughes
National President
Campaign Life Coalition

The original version of the letter can be accessed here.

About Campaign Life Coalition
Campaign Life Coalition is a national, non-profit organization involved in political action and advocacy for legal and cultural change in Canada with respect to protecting human life and the family. It is non-partisan and encourages voting based on principles, not party. For more information visit

Media Contacts:
Jeff Gunnarson, Vice-President, Campaign Life Coalition 416-204-9749 ext. 249
Mary Ellen Douglas, Ontario President, 613-329-1488


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