Archdiocese of Toronto hosts federal elections forum

With the Canadian federal election less than two weeks away, the Archdiocese of Toronto hosted its first-ever Federal Election forum to give voice to the Catholic community, and help voters choose the country’s next leaders from a faith perspective.
The event drew more than 1,200 attendees, plus thousands more attending church viewing parties and watching a livestream across Canada.
For the first time in its history, the Archdiocese in Toronto hosted a Federal Election forum so political parties can address issues that matter to the Catholic community.
While candidates from the 5 parties tackled typically contested issues around immigration, poverty and the environment, they also covered other controversial topics for the faithful particularly euthanasia, palliative care and abortion.
“Our position on women’s reproductive self-determination is clear and we believe that the right of people afflicted by incurable and painful illnesses to choose to end their lives,” said Matthew Green, NDP.
“I personally support a woman’s right to choose. Everyone has taken the same position on that. From my understanding, no party will be reopening the debate on a woman’s right to choose in Canada,” said Francesco Sorbara, Liberal Party.
“We should go back and look at the root cause and there are 2 root causes, one of them are unwanted pregnancies and the other root cause is a potentially unhealthy pregnancy, and as some of my colleagues have stated there are ways to mitigate those risks and mitigate those problems,” said Dan Turcotte, Green Party.
“Liberals oppose our amendments to their euthanasia law which would have protected conscience rights, so at the moment, physicians here in Ontario are obliged to refer for abortion and euthanasia. Conservatives will defend freedom of speech and conscience for all including for legislators,” said Garnett Genuis, Conservative Party.
“Of all the federal parties only the People’s Party have asked its candidates and future MPs to openly discuss and bring forth legislation on any issue of concern to Canadians including abortion and euthanasia,” says David Haskell, People’s Party. “In fact, already colleagues of mine from Red Deer Alberta have draft legislation to end third-trimester abortion and then we’ll bring it forward as a private member’s bill.”
Cardinal Collins made it clear — the Church is non-partisan, and is merely encouraging people to exercise their right to vote.
“Certainly its not for us as a church to say who people should vote for…we never get into partisan politics. But we, as members of the church, we’re citizens who contribute enormously. We have a role in society and therefore our voice I think should be heard on the many different issues.”
FilCan attendees found the event helpful in making their decision on election day.
“I really have enjoyed the debate for the Catholic perspective because it gives me a narrow down who to vote for for this election.”
“Coming out here tonight, I definitely know which party I will not vote for and I hope that all Catholics unite together, do their civic duty and vote with their conscience and their hearts.”
“As a Catholic, I think it’s very important to be able to realize how you’re gonna act on the Catholic social teachings. I think that’s going to be my basis on how I’m gonna vote this year.”
Election day is October 21.
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