The Solemnity of Assertion

There are so many things wrong with Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Government adding the requirement for employers to check an “attestation” in support of abortion as a criterion for applying for the Canada Summer Jobs grant funds offered by the federal government. 

But I will reflect on just a few of them.

The third point of the attestation in the 2018 Canada Summer Jobs Agreement states:

– Both the job and my organization’s core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights. These include reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability or sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression;

First of all, “jobs” and “core mandates” don’t respect individual human rights; only human persons can respect rights.

Next, the term attestation is derived from the word “testimony” and means to “prove” or “confirm.” Checking the “I attest” box is tantamount to swearing an oath. Only human persons can swear oaths. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Employment Minister Patty Hajdu are attempting to coax employers into swearing their support for abortion by checking a box to affirm the attestation. But it will never be a “job” or a “mandate” who checks the box “I attest.” Only a human person can do that. Every human person has a conscience and, as Dietrich von Hildebrand said, “The truthful person recognizes a solemnity in every assertion. He grasps that in everything he utters, he is called to bear witness to the truth.”

Consider this: When an MP is sworn into office, he or she says,

“I, [name], do swear, that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.”

What would Trudeau’s mandatory attestation say if it were written like the actual oath he is asking employers to swear? It would say something like,

“I, [name], do swear, that I recognize abortion as a human right.” 

After all, in case anyone finds the language of “reproductive rights” ambiguous, the Government has spelled it out in the Applicant Guide:

The government recognizes that women’s rights are human rights. This includes sexual and reproductive rights — and the right to access safe and legal abortions. These rights are at the core of the Government of Canada’s foreign and domestic policies.

Jonathon van Maren has pointed out that Justin Trudeau thinks religious groups should lie about their beliefs to get funding. (Of course, this does not only concern religious groups.) Yet, persons of faith may be especially sensitive to “bearing false witness.”

I’m reminded of Scott Hahn’s explanation of oath-swearing in which he says:

So what do we ask the witnesses to do before they testify? To make a kind of sacrifice, to pledge themselves before God and witnesses that they will tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. And at the same time they make that pledge, they state a plea, “So help me God.” In other words, we all know that in moments of distress and temptation, where it might really pay to tell a lie, it might really pay to stretch the truth, we’re going to need God’s help to overcome that temptation. That’s what the oath is for. Why not lie? Because an oath has engaged the services of Almighty God who is truthful, who is truth itself; who is all-knowing and who is present, actively present, in our midst to judge us, to help us and to insure that the truth is out and that the truth is vindicated.


It’s encouraging that there are many Canadians speaking publicly against the injustice of the Government attempting to compel support for abortion in order for employers to secure funding to hire students for summer jobs. The Government’s schemes remain only attempts, though, since every person is free and remains sovereign in the domain of his or her conscience.

St. Thomas More said, “Every tribulation which ever comes our way either is sent to be medicinal, if we will take it as such, or may become medicinal, if we will make it such, or is better than medicinal, unless we forsake it.” May he pray for us.

Published by Amanda Achtman

What matters to me is living in truth, taking responsibility, creating value & cultivating community.

One thought on “The Solemnity of Assertion

  1. I think your article is extremely well written and really puts an emphasis on what should be tolerated in our society as acceptable! This is completely unacceptable in every way to force people to sign off on this just to get a job! The Government is violating our rights and it should be called out! Good Job Amanda!


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