MP Garnett Genuis Disagrees with Ontario Court of Appeal decision against Trinity Western University
30 June 2016 - Ottawa
Member of Parliament Garnett Genuis, MP for Sherwood Park - Fort Saskatchewan & Official Opposition Deputy Critic for Human Rights and Religious Freedom, expressed disagreement with yesterday's decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal that effectively enables the Law Society of Upper Canada to discriminate against law students from Trinity Western University.
"The Court's decision yesterday is a violation of the freedom of Canadian students and educators at Trinity Western University, and it deprives Ontario of the services of the university's future law graduates. By suggesting that it isn't preventing these law students from adhering to their beliefs, the Court makes a poor attempt to mitigate its violation of their rights, as if merely marginalizing them and ensuring their expulsion from future legal practice in Ontario is any less egregious."
The Court of Appeal's decision will enable a discriminatory prohibition on the accreditation of the University's proposed School of Law's graduates in 'Upper Canada'. The University has affirmed it will appeal this unjust decision to the Supreme Court.
"Trinity Western University has always made clear that they recognize the equality and dignity of all Canadians regardless of sexual orientation," said Genuis. "They have stated repeatedly that all students are equal and welcome, and that 'sexual minorities are supported, loved and respected.'"
"By enabling discrimination against an institution of faith simply because that institution asks its students to pass their studies in accordance with a code of conduct respectful of that faith, the Court is arrogating to itself a constitutionally unfounded and conjured-up power. In upholding this unjust discrimination, the Court is violating the religious freedom, the freedom of expression, and the freedom of association and equality rights of all Canadians."
"Trinity Western University imposes not a single element of its values or faith on any Canadian who might disagree with it. No one is forced to study at Trinity Western, and those who do wish to study in an environment that welcomes the consistent practice of their faith. As Canadians, living in a free country, they have every right to do so. It is the duty of Canadian courts to uphold the rights of Canadians."
"The values and faith of the University are not incidental to their raison d'être. Their beliefs form and motivate the University's educational mission. This issue goes to the heart of the freedom of Canadians to live their lives - including their studies and profession - in accordance with their freedom of belief. For a Court to presume to adjudicate what Canadians may believe in their public lives is quite alarming."
"I hope the Supreme Court of Canada overturns this decision, respects the equality and freedoms of Canadians of faith, and respects the rights of the law students of Trinity Western University."