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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Anti-choice groups got the government's CEWS wage subsidy

In addition to all the other issues with the CEWS, it turns out that extremist anti-choice groups like the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR), LifeSite News and Campaign Life received it.

Screenshot from a video of a demo by supporters of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR), Toronto 2017.

With help and research by Natalie Lochwin

Recently on The Left Chapter I looked at the scandalous boondoggle that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) has become with many companies that have received it issuing increased dividends for stockholders that in some cases have personally financially benefited CEOs.

The CEWS -- which was supported by all parties in parliament and for which the social democratic NDP continues to take credit -- was allegedly meant to allow Canadian employers to keep or re-hire employees despite having suffered revenue losses due to the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The government would subsidize "75% of eligible remuneration, paid by an eligible entity (eligible employer) that qualifies, to each eligible employee – up to a maximum of $847 per week."

This is a pretty sweet deal, especially given that it was not paid to employees directly and that workers who have lost their jobs and whose employers cannot or will not rehire them could only get a meagre maximum of $500 a week. It was corporate welfare at its finest.

But it wasn't just corporations who could benefit.

It turns out that various extremist and anti-choice organizations (some of which, outrageously, are also registered charities) were able to get in on the government largesse for bosses.

One example is the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR). This hard right anti-choice group is infamous for its use of graphic posters of alleged abortions and for ugly various campaigns as when they sent out disturbing flyers in advance of the 2015 election attacking Trudeau.

Here are some screenshots from their website showing what they are all about:

Then there is the online extremist publication LifeSite News whose recent article titles include Biden and Fauci will use ‘great reset’ to destroy what’s good about society, Evidence arises that Antifa planned Wednesday’s Capitol storming, and Did ‘vanishing votes’ lead to alleged Democrat Senate wins in Georgia?. Despite a long history of supporting political parties and movements opposed to government assistance programs for people living in poverty or workers, they had no problem taking the government's CEWS money.

The Campaign Life Coalition, which is an anti-choice, anti-same sex marriage advocacy group that also campaigned relentlessly against modernizing Ontario's sex-education curriculum got the CEWS. It must be a great comfort to all of us that public money was used to keep people employed in pursuits like this:

So did a number of "pregnancy care" fronts such as:

The Valley Care Pregnancy Centre, which is also a charity, says it offers "many services to anyone facing unplanned pregnancy or forced abortion" on a page all about how you can, alongside the public funds of the CEWS, donate to help the cause:

You can find many more examples by simply entering the words "pregnancy" or "pregnancy care" into the CEWS Registry. That is how we found all of the recipients above. The registry does not indicate how much these groups received or for how long, simply that they did get the CEWS subsidy at some point.

It seems unlikely that when Canadians were being sold on a program that gave money to employers instead of workers they realized that this would allow, in addition to all the other issues, public cash to flow to extremist groups opposed to women's reproductive rights.


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