Centre Article: Many Unhappy Returns

September 12, 2008

Another Order of Canada is Returned in Protest of Its Being Awarded to an Abortionist. When will the Error be Admitted?

So one of the highest ranking Catholics in Canada, the Archbishop of Montreal, Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, has returned his Order of Canada—making at least a dozen awardees who have done so on their own behalf or on behalf of those who have passed on since the award was given to Canada's leading advocate for abortion last May. There is a well-known legal tag—res ipsa loquitur which means "it speaks for itself." Here is Cardinal Turcotte's statement of September 11th, 2008:

On May 9th 1996, the office of the Governor-General of the time, Mr. Romeo Leblanc, announced that I had been named to the Order of Canada. I had accepted this honour on behalf of all those who, because of their faith in Jesus Christ, work in the social domain to serve the most disadvantaged of our society.

I have the greatest respect for the Order of Canada. It is meant to recognize the contribution of persons who help to bring about the progress of our society and who are concerned about the future of our world. Until recently, I sincerely believed that the Order of Canada was bestowed upon persons about whom there was a consensus.I was away when the Governor-General, Madame Michaelle Jean, announced the nomination of Dr. Henry Morgentaler to the Order of Canada. This announcement generated a great deal of criticism on the part of those who do not share Dr. Morgentaler's views regarding the respect for human life.

I must admit that I had hoped that, in light of the large number of protests, the Consultative Council for the Order of Canada would revise its decision. Because it has not done so up to now and because silence on my part might be misinterpreted, I feel obliged in conscience to reaffirm my convictions regarding the respect for human life, from conception to death. We are not the masters of human life; it rests in the hands of God.

As a result, I wish to declare that I am renouncing the title of Officer of the Order of Canada, bestowed upon me in 1996, and that I am returning the insignia that was given to me.

How many more awards must be returned by disappointed or outraged leading Canadians before the error is admitted?