Is there a limitation period after which we can safely disregard a politician’s scary comments?
In 2000 Jason Kenney, then a 32 year old federal MP, gave a disturbing speech* at the St Joseph’s Community Catholic Home School Conference. It’s disturbing because it foreshadows how Kenney will govern if he becomes Alberta’s next premier.
The call to battle
Kenney starts by explaining how he was called to the Catholic Church at the tender age of 22. He knew he had fight in “the Culture Wars”, an epic battle between “the culture of life” and “the culture of death” described by Pope John Paul II in the Evangelium Vitae as the moral decline caused by the legalization of contraception, abortion and euthanasian.
Kenney went to university in San Francisco—a place he says is also known as “Babylon by the Bay” or “Sodom by the Sea”—so he could better understand the forces of evil which were undermining the sanctity of human life, the sanctity of the family and the roots of order and civility in modern society.
He boasts about becoming the president of the pro-life society and helping to overturn the first gay spousal law in North America (thereby preventing gay men from being with their partners dying of AIDS). The battle brought him closer to the heart of the Church.
Kenney says he resisted the call to the “political vocation” because he thought politics was intrinsically evil but changed his mind when he read what the Pope said in paragraph 64 of the Evangelium Vitae (it’s actually paragraph 90) which encourages the faithful to enter politics as an act of charity and fight for the “gospel of life.” Kenney says he felt like he’d been struck by lightning (did you catch the allusion to St Paul’s experience while on the road to Damascus) because he’d never thought of politics that way. He ran as a federal MP in 1997 and everything that’s happened since then, including his role as co-chairman on the Parliamentary Pro-Life caucus, confirmed he was heading in the right direction.
Within a year of becoming an MP Kenney experienced first hand what the Pope described as international forces working at the heart of the UN to attack the sanctity of life and the “centrality of the nuclear family” by supporting a universal right to abortion, undermining parental authority and creating “perverse” anti-rights. This “juggernaut” pushed the “culture of death” at UN Conventions like the Cairo Conference on Population and Development, the Beijing Conference on Women, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Habitat Convention on Housing (housing?).
Kenney said he wasn’t disposed to accept “anything that smacks of conspiracy theory” until he discovered the juggernaut’s agenda was funded by International Planned Parenthood, UNICEF, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trust.
The Liberal government refused to send Kenney to the UN Convention in New York and he attended as an observer on his own dime by assuming a fake identity, that of a Mormon law prof because as he disingenuously explained, that was the only way he could get in.
He was shocked by the Canadian delegation which aggressively pushed an anti-family agenda and warned the audience this would lead to disastrous laws like the effort to criminalize “the reasonable use of force in disciplining children.”
Kenney encouraged the audience to fight this pernicious international agenda and accept the Pope’s call to engage in political action and become a light in this time of great darkness.
A pro-life politician would….
Kenney said under our parliamentary system 100% of the power flows through the prime minister’s or premier’s office. A pro-life prime minister could appoint a pro-life Minister of External Affairs to send a pro-life delegation to UN Conferences and fight against the international right to abortion. A pro-life, pro-family Justice Minister could appoint judges who’d interpret the Constitution narrowly and refrain from expanding human rights and freedoms.
He used the example of Stockwell Day to illustrate what a pro-life premier could do, noting that he and Day fought to end taxpayer funded abortions and gay adoptions. Day also tried to protect traditional marriage by invoking the notwithstanding clause to stop same-sex marriage and to protect employers from the Vriend decision which prevents employers from firing employees because they’re gay.
Kenney closed his speech with a story about the time he was trying to get charitable status for a group advocating for chastity before marriage and a reporter asked him whether he practiced abstinence. Kenney said the question was indiscrete and not relevant to his political duties. The next day a newspaper headline blared “no sex please, we’re reformers.” Kenney offered this story as a humorous anecdote about “a little crucifixion that some of us face.” (Who but Jason Kenney would describe any experience, let alone this one, as “a little crucifixion”?)
Moral law vs civil law
In Evangelium Vitae Pope John Paul II sets out what a politician must do to ensure “the culture of life” defeats “the culture of death”.
The Pope starts with the premise that every human being has a right to life and Christians must promote and defend this right. Contraception leads to immorality so it’s wrong right off the bat.
The Pope runs into a snag when he gets to abortion and euthanasia because the scriptures do not contain any “direct and explicit calls to protect human life at its very beginning, specifically life not yet born, and life nearing its end” (some of us might find that probative given that the scriptures are full of rules about what we can do and can not do) but never mind, the Pope says this can be “easily explained”; apparently the idea of abortion and euthanasia was completely foreign to the people who were around when the scriptures were written (they were “not touched by such temptations”) so the Pope fills in the blanks by reconfirming that abortion and euthanasia are a sin and no authority can allow or permit it. Period.
Since abortion and euthanasia are crimes, not rights, the State cannot legally recognize them or “make them available through the free services of health-care personnel”.
Furthermore, the right to life cannot be questioned or denied by “parliamentary vote or the will of one part of the people—even if it is the majority” because the right to life is a moral law which trumps civil law and it’s a moral duty and a basic human right to refuse to take part in any injustice.
This is where Kenney the politician comes in.
The Pope says if a pro-abortion law has been passed and it’s impossible to overturn or completely abrogate, an elected official who’s made his opposition to the pro-abortion law known can support proposals that limit the harm done by such a law because this is a “legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects.”
The Pope says it’s a moral law that abortion and euthanasia are evil. Moral law trumps civil law. Civil laws that are impossible to overturn or abrogate (like the decriminalization of abortion and medically assisted dying which flow from federal not provincial law) must be gutted by provincial politicians who can limit access to abortion and medically assisted dying by defunding such programs. Anyone who engages in this behavior has the Pope’s blessing.
Is Kenney really going to defund abortions and medically assisted dying?
You bet he will. Kenney accepted the Pope’s call to battle in the Culture Wars decades ago, the Culture Wars are still raging as we learned when Kenney and his caucus boycotted the debate on expanding the bubble zone around abortion clinics.
Albertans may think this election is about which candidate is best able to “fix the economy”, but it’s really about which candidate will implement civil laws that respect the will of the people and which candidate will implement “moral laws” dictated from on high.
One can only hope Albertans will choose wisely.