The EFC and CCCB Apply For Intervenor Status At Supreme Court Regarding Reproductive Technologies

General March 16, 2009

 

For Immediate Release from The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

March 13, 2009

OTTAWA – On Friday, March 6, The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) asked permission of the Supreme Court of Canada to jointly intervene in a constitutional challenge case, the Attorney General of Canada v. Attorney General of Quebec.

The Government of Quebec disputes the jurisdiction of the federal government to enact legislation regulating assisted human reproduction and related genetic research with a consistent national standard.

The legislation in question, the Assisted Human Reproduction Act, aims to protect the health, safety, human rights and human dignity of Canadians by either prohibiting or regulating certain activities, such as human cloning, surrogacy, sex-selection, and in vitro fertilization. The Act seeks to create a uniform legislative framework across the country to address these issues. Our intervention request is based on the uniqueness of human life and the public interest in having one Canadian standard in regard to scientific research and medical applications.

EFC Vice-President and General Legal Counsel Don Hutchinson stated, “We believe that human beings, created in the image of God, have inherent worth and dignity. Human life, therefore, must be valued, respected and protected for its uniqueness. In Canada, this can best be done by regulating the artificial creation of human life with standards debated and established at the federal level.”

Hutchinson, who directs the EFC’s Centre for Faith and Public Life, added “This Act, which sets out Canada’s position on the creation, alteration and destruction of human reproductive material as well as human and non-human life – is of national public interest. A federal law can ensure consistency across Canada and the equal protection of all Canadians.”

Bede Hubbard, Associate General Secretary of the CCCB stated, “We are concerned about the dignity of human procreation and the importance of marriage and family. This Act has the potential to shape and alter the relationships between parents, children, and siblings. Anything other than federal legislation will only ensure delayed and fractured regulation across Canada as each province must then enact legislation on this matter.”

Over the last 15 years, the EFC and the CCCB (either in its own right or through the Catholic Organization for Life and Family) have been actively involved in and responding to matters relating to biotechnology and research in Canada. Both have made submissions to and appeared before the Standing Committee on Health in the development stages of the legislation now before the Supreme Court of Canada. Each have also participated in past consultations and reviews on reproductive and genetic technologies, including the Canadian Institute for Health Research consultation on human stem cell research and the Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies, among others.

The case is scheduled to be heard at the Supreme Court of Canada on April 24, 2009.

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For more information or an interview contact:
Gail Reid
Director, Communications
905-479-5885 ext. 227
Cell: 647-227-3464

Gérald Baril
Communications Service
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
(613) 241-9461 ext. 225 

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The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada is the national association of evangelical Christians, gathered together for influence, impact and identity in ministry and public witness. Since 1964 the EFC has provided a national forum for Evangelicals and a constructive voice for biblical principles in life and society.

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