Mr. Speaker, I speak in strong support of our Conservative motion calling on the government to remove the outrageous and unconstitutional Liberal values test that requires individuals or organizations applying under the Canada summer jobs program to sign an attestation that they subscribe to and support the principles and values of the Liberal Party of Canada as a prerequisite for funding. The members opposite can sugar-coat, downplay, and misrepresent the values test they have imposed, but make no mistake about it, in substance that is precisely what the government is calling upon individuals and organizations to do. This Liberal values test is wrong. It is discriminatory. It is mean-spirited. It violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
What it means is that churches and faith-based groups right across Canada are going to be denied funding under the Canada summer jobs program, churches and faith-based groups that have relied upon the Canada summer jobs program to do the many good works they do in communities across Canada. These groups, churches, and organizations have hired students to do things like helping refugees, feeding the hungry, and providing summer camps for kids. Not only that, thousands of students across Canada have gained valuable and practical experience. I would submit that, in many cases, it is more than just practical, hands-on experience because when we are talking about working with refugees, assisting and helping feed the hungry, or working with kids at a summer camp, that type of work for a young person, a student, can be meaningful, impactful, life-changing, and life-lasting. However, now that is at risk, thanks to the government's bigoted summer jobs attestation, a Liberal values test.
As a result, churches and faith-based groups are faced with a choice. They can sell out their principles and values by signing the attestation, or they can forfeit funding. This is not something abstract. This is not something academic. This is something real, and it is taking place right across Canada.
The hon. members opposite keep talking about the fact that there really is no problem here and applicants should just sign the attestation. I mean, who could disagree with the attestation?
I have a church in my riding that signed the attestation and sent a letter along with the application. They checked off the attestation indicating that they objected to the attestation and that they believed it contravened the charter rights that apply to them, including freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and freedom of belief. What happened to their application? It was rejected. It was sent back to them. So much for the words of those hon. members who say there is no problem here, because here is an example of a church that signed the attestation and had the application rejected.
It was hiring students for many years and had no problem until this Liberal values test. It was hiring students, and I am reading from its application, “to assist persons with disabilities, to assist newcomers to Canada, to assist indigenous peoples, to assist visible minorities, and to work with children and youth.” Thanks to the Liberal government's values test, its application was rejected.
Another organization in my riding has just given up. It said that it cannot, in good conscience, sign on to a values test that talks about a core mandate. It is not about accepting the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That is not what the attestation says. It says a lot more than that. It talks about a core mandate, and it goes on. The organization said, “This is not our core mandate. We cannot sign off on that in all honesty. We have more integrity than that. We do not agree with it. It is not our values.” How many other organizations are like that? This organization runs a summer day camp for vulnerable youth. Nonetheless, despite the government's intolerant and bigoted values test, the organization is going to try to move ahead with the summer camp. However, it just does not know whether the summer camp for vulnerable youth will be there this summer. That is a real shame, and that is thanks to the current government.
The Prime Minister likes to talk a good game. As his usual self-righteous self, he speaks about diversity, inclusivity, and tolerance. However, actions speak louder than words. Time and again, the actions of the government are different from the words it speaks with respect to diversity, tolerance, and inclusivity.
The member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley talks about the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Through this Canada summer jobs Liberal values test, the government has demonstrated that it has no regard for the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This is a government that has no regard for fundamental freedoms, the section 2 rights under the charter: freedom of religion, conscience, and expression. These are not just any freedoms but fundamental freedoms.
The Liberal values test is antithetical to inclusivity, diversity, and tolerance. It is antithetical to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is antithetical to Canadian values. If the government meant what it said and did what it said, it would do the right thing and withdraw this bigoted, intolerant, unconstitutional, and Orwellian Liberal values test.