A Conservative MP is raising the alarm that Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government is quietly expunging the “only section in the Criminal Code that directly protects the right of individuals to practise their religion.”
Saskatchewan MP David Anderson says Bill C-51, which according to a Liberal backgrounder is intended to clear obsolete, redundant or unconstitutional sections from the Criminal Code as well as strengthen sexual assault laws, contains a startling clause to drop Section 176.
Section 176 declares that anyone who “by force or threat” obstructs, interferes, or prevents by a minister or clergyman from “celebrating divine service or performing any other function in connection with his calling,” or assaults, “offers violence to him” or arrests him on a civil process when he is going or returning from performing a religious function is guilty of an indictable offence and could be jailed up to two years.
Similarly, anyone who “wilfully disturbs or interrupts an assemblage of persons met for religious worship or for a moral, social or benevolent purpose is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.”
Likewise, anyone who “wilfully does anything that disturbs the order or solemnity of the meeting is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.”
CTV reported June 12 that the Ottawa police have charged 52-year-old Katherine Spero with “breach of a judicial release and disturbing a religious worship” after an April 30 incident in which a screaming woman allegedly leapt onto the communion rail at St. Patrick’s Basilica just before 9 p.m. Mass and tore the right arm off the corpus of Christ on the crucifix.
According to an earlier CTV report, the woman allegedly then began flinging votive candles, “leaving a trail of broken glass and candle wax.”
In a similar incident, four men and three women “stormed” Mary Queen of the World Cathedral in Montreal on International Women’s Day 2000.
They “disrupted those who had come to worship by spray-painting slogans on the altar, turning over flowerpots, sticking sanitary pads, some soiled, to pictures and walls and throwing condoms around the cathedral sanctuary,” as Ian Hunter, professor emeritus of law at Western University, described in a editorial at the time.
Hunter deplored the fact that Montreal police chose to charge the seven individuals who wrought such havoc with unlawful assembly, “an offence shot through with difficulties of proof” that “fairly invites Charter defences.”
He contended they had indeed run afoul of Section 176, both by interrupting those assembled for religious worship and disrupting a clergyman in his duties, not to mention committing nuisance, theft, and mischief to property.
“[W]hat happened at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral was a despicable act that, in its hatred of religion, revealed a satanic streak not far below the surface of militant feminism,” Hunter wrote.
“This is the time in our society where it seems these clergymen are coming under increasing threat and for whatever reason the Liberals have decided to remove the protection,” he told LifeSiteNews.
“It doesn’t make any sense on the surface, so there must be something else going on here.”
The bill also mandates “the tabling of a Charter Statement for every new government bill introduced in Parliament to help Canadians understand the potential effects of new government on their Charter rights,” according to a Liberal press release.
Introduced June 6, Bill C-51 has already passed second reading vote and will be studied by the House of Commons justice committee when MPs return to Parliament in the fall.
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Trudeau gov’t wants to remove Canada’s only federal law protecting freedom of worship