KITCHENER, ON.— The first annual Internationl Conscientious Objectors Day Rally, held in Kitchener yesterday, was a success, according to organizers with The Democracy Defence Initiative. Arranged to honour conscientious objectors, past and present, in Canada, in support of freedom of conscience, the event attracted over 50 people. Those present heard from conscientious objectors Dr. Mark D’Souza of Toronto, Dr. Jodie Wang of Elmira, and Dr. Betty-Anne Story, of Brantford. A moment of silence was observed to honour conscientious objectors in Canada, past and present. An open letter in support of freedom of conscience was distributed urging Ontario legislators to comply with the guarantee of freedom of conscience established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by introducing an amendment to Ontario’s recently enacted Bill 84.
Until very recently, military service was one of only a few occupations where anyone was allowed to deliberately cause someone’s death. During wartime, a time of national crisis when Canada’s existence as a nation was threatened and citizens were conscripted into the armed forces, Canadians have been free to claim non-lethal service with conscientious objector status.
Recently the Supreme Court of Canada added the medical professions to those occupations where deliberately causing someone’s death is permissible. The Ontario Legislative Assembly has refused to allow medical professionals threatened with penalties by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario freedom to claim non-lethal service with conscientious objector status.
“Authoritarian voices are being raised against the progressive and liberal spirit of freedom which those who came before us fought to preserve. In Canada today public authorities like the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and others, are dictating forced conformity, stamping out the diversity and tolerance that we believed was honoured in Canada.” said Stephen Woodworth, addressing those assembled. Referring to recent College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario regulations, he added “Punishing honourable men and women for following their conscience is simply outrageous! When was any governing authority in Canada given that power?”
The Democracy Defence Initiative was established in May, 2016 to resist the ongoing elimination of basic freedoms essential for a democratic society by bringing Canadians together in non-partisan, non-denominational political action. Stephen Woodworth, Executive Director, practiced law in Kitchener Ontario for thirty years. He represented Kitchener Centre in the Parliament of Canada from 2008 to 2015.
- An Open Letter to Ontario legislators.
- Remarks delivered by Stephen Woodworth
Media representatives are invited to schedule an interview with Stephen Woodworth by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 519-404-4062 .