SHOULD DR. MORGENTALER HAVE BEEN AWARDED THE ORDER OF CANADA?

On February 15 this year, I posted this question: “Should Henry Morgentaler be awarded the Order of Canada?” It was a short post and, I thought, relatively innocent. To my utter astonishment the post received more comment – 67- than any other post since my blog began in the fall of 2006.

On Canada Day, Governor-General Michaelle Jean announced 75 new members of the Order of Canada including Henry Morgentaler. He was awarded the Order, the Governor-General wrote, because of “his commitment to increased health care options for women, his determined effort to influence Canadian public policy, and his leadership in humanist and civil liberties organizations.”

Now 85, Morganteler, a Polish Holocaust survivor who immigrated to Montreal after the war, opened his first abortion clinic in 1969 and performed thousands of procedures, which were illegal at the time. Partly because of his efforts , the Supreme Court struck down Canada’s abortion law in 1988. Morganteler still runs six abortion clinics in Canada.

Not surpisingly, Dr. Morgentaler’s appointment has unleashsed a storm of controversey in the blogosphere, the editorial pages and most of all on both sides of the abortion issue.

The Campaign Life Coalition says it is dreadful that a man who spent his life performing abortions should honoured. Their spokesperson, Mary Ellen Douglas, says “If Morganteler had any integrity he would refuse the medal. This presentation should be given to people who have made Canada a better place to live and the elimination of thousands of human beings who would have contributed to the future of Canada is a disgrace, not an honour.”

On the other hand, feminist and author Judy Rebick, says “Dr. Morganteler is a hero to millions of women in this country. He risked his life to struggle for women’s rights …. He’as a huge figure in Canadian history and the fact hs hasn’t got [the Order of Canada] till now is a scandal.”

Campaign Life is urging Order of Canada recipents to return their medals in protest?

Should they return their medals?

Or does Dr. Morganteler deserve this honour? Some Conservative MPs say he is too divisive. But should only noncontroversial “safe” Canadians be awarded this honour. It would seem to me such an honours list would be pretty anemic.

Why do you think there was such a large response when we first raised this issue last February?

39 Comments »

  1. 1
    Cate McB Says:

    “Some Conservative MPs say he is too divisive.” It’s the issue of abortion that divides people, not Morgantaler himself, and that’s why we no longer have an abortion law in Canada. In the meantime, Dr. Morgantaler has stepped up to the plate in ways that have now been rewarded by an Order of Canada, and rightfully so. When I lived in Toronto, there were many times when I escorted a woman to his clinic past all the coercive and sometimes violent people who wanted to change the minds of these women. This type of behavior is the problem, not Dr. Morgantaler.

  2. 2
    Heidi Gulatee Says:

    There is a place for all kinds of people in our wonderful country. I support the appointment of the Order of Canda for Mr. Morgenthaler not only because he is a hero to lots of women and gave them more freedom to decide over their bodies abut but because he fought for what he believed in. His life would have been so much easier if he had sat on his feelings for justice as most Canadians do. Just not to be different. I admire him for standing up and being counted. I go back to what I said once before, who is willing to support all those single mothers with children to raise?
    It is hard enough with 2 parents, but one person, mostly a woman alone? I can only imagine.
    So, it is easy to judge, but hard to walk in a single mothers mocassins even for a mile.
    And ” judge not, that you may not be judged”.
    Personally, I leave the judgement to God, I am sure he decides which fetusses are to be born. I am told He has a plan.

  3. 3

    I think there is no question that Dr. Morgentaler has helped a good many women. The problem is that a significant part of the population (including many women) believe the procedure hi is using amounts to murder.

  4. 4
    Chimera Says:

    “The problem is that a significant part of the population (including many women) believe the procedure hi is using amounts to murder.”

    That’s their “problem,” Neil, not ours. Those who think abortion is murder are free not to indulge themselves, are they not? But they are not free to deny that choice to any woman who wants a remedy to an unwanted pregnancy.

    Should Morgentaler have gotten the award? Absolutely YES!

  5. 5
    jim Says:

    Why doesn’t everyone mind their own business.

  6. 6
    Martin Says:

    The Order of Canada Should be reserved for those who promote good for our nation and unites its citizens. Morgantaler has not done this and thus should never have been considered for this priveledge. But considering how our nation has come to a downward spiral where people who refuse to hounor the laws of their country are welcomed to Canada and where illegal immigrants are given housing and all the benefits that belong to our citizens instead of being deported. Where law abiding citizens have to sell their house in order to have representation in the courts but the criminals are receiving law counsel paid for by our tax dollars it comes as no surprise that H. morgantaler should receive this hounor. Well he may have it but he does not deserve it.

  7. 7
    Outraged Canadian Says:

    I am embarrassed and outraged that Canada is honouring a mudererer.
    Yesterday being Canada day I was proud to be a Canadian, but today I am saddened embarrassed and outraged at this appointment.

    When did we cross that terrible boundary that says it’s ok to murder babies, and by the way you will get an award for killing thousands of children .
    I hang my head in shame today to be called a Canadian.
    I don’t want that blaggard to receive this honour, to me now that award has lost it’s luster, it has been tarnished by the blood of thousands of innocent victims.

  8. 8
    LT Says:

    Oh get over yourself “Outraged Canadian”. The man should get the award. If anything he represents the freedom of our country. He’s been jailed, attacked, abused, and continues to stand up for what he believes in. It is the woman’s own choice to see him, and he provides the service.

    Perhaps YOU should step up and provide a HOME for all the unwanted children. Perhaps you should provide the funding for them to go to school, eat, have clothes when their families can’t afford to care for them. Perhaps you should pay outstanding medical and care bills for the child who is so hideously deformed that it will only know pain in life, as seen here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=-yiyzzSwnGM .

    Maybe you should start feeling guilty about using LYSOL…it kills 99.9% of germs. They’re cells. You’re killing cells. By your logic, that makes you a murderer. Have you swatted a fly? They’re fully formed clusters of cells, and you murdered it. Do you feel better about yourself now, since you’re so judgmental?

    Let the man have his award. It’s for lifetime achievement, and he has fought for women’s rights under extreme hate and scrutiny his entire life, even after surviving the oppression of the Holocaust.

    As a Canadian, I’m ashamed to have you here. If I choose to have children some day, I want them to be in an accepting, tolerant Canada.

  9. 9
    Ron Says:

    Absolutely! Delighted to see the Order of Canada folks have the guts to reward people who make important contributions to the people of Canada, ignoring the less evolved, ignorant and superstitious masses.
    Ron

  10. 10
    Patrick Says:

    Dr morgantaler is pure evil. He is resposible for the brutal killings of thousands of un-born children. Consider the word itself, abortion. Abort means ”to terminate”. Abortion is an act were breathing human beings are dismembered and sucked into a tube. The babies, yes I am calling a fetus a baby because they have beating hearts, feel pain. As for the comments of LT, trying to compare a fly to a human being shows you have an IQ of a fly. I challenge all to watch ”Silent Scream” and see if you feel the same way about abortion. To give morgantaler this award is an insult to millions. Patrick

  11. 11
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “Dr morgantaler is pure evil.”

    “pure”?? Really? Are you certian he isn’t diluted at all? Maybe just %99?

    “Abortion is an act were breathing human beings are dismembered and sucked into a tube.”

    I think I understand how misinformation gets passed around! Is Patrick really this ignorant? A fetus “breathes”?? How the hell does he manage that when he’s floating in a bubble full of liquid?

    Don’t let the facts stop your ranting though Patrick – it’s much harder to stir up the masses when you use facts and truth!

    “to compare a fly to a human being shows you have an IQ of a fly.”

    Watch the IQ comments there Patrick – you’re the one who thinks a fetus breathes air!

    “To give morgantaler this award is an insult to millions.”

    Actually it’s the other way around! He has helped enrich many people’s lives with his services!

    That YOU find abortion to be bad is irrelevant. Nobody is telling you to have one… perhaps you could butt out of other people’s choices and mind your own business?? Pick up a book and learn at what stage a fetus breathes air (hint: NEVER. Not until it’s a baby, ie. not until AFTER birth).

  12. 12

    After much thought, I have concluded that Dr. Morgentaler should
    not have been appointed to the Order of Canada. The pros and cons of the abortion issue aside, Dr. Morgentaler is one of the most divisive figures in Canada. But the Order has always been seen as something to unite Canadians. On this count alone Dr. Morgentaler does not qualify. He should be honoured as he has been e.g. Honorary Doctorate from Western University. But not the Order of Canada.

    Frankly, I do not see that Morgentaler’s controversial reputation has been enhanced by this award. But, sadly, the reputation and integrity of the Order of Canada has been brought into some public disrepute. Pity.

  13. 13
    Cornelius T. Zen Says:

    Good morrow, all!
    Not to take you to task, Neil — it’s such a long journey, anyway, I recommend you pack a lunch — however, the very use of the word “should” reminds me of Wayne Dyer’s terminolgy for people who consistently use the words “should”, “must”, or “ought to” (especially in regards to the behaviour of other people) — “musterbating.”
    Henry Morgentaler was awarded the Order of Canada, because somebody believed he deserved it, submitted his name, and probably lobbied the decision-making committee to award the Order. They filled in the forms, jumped through the hoops, handled the expected objections, and finally sold the package. BTW, wasn’t Brian Mulroney, the man who managed to double Canada’s debt in nine years in office, who rammed both NAFTA and the GST through the House and the Senate, who basically steered the Conservative Party right into the iceberg, who grabbed a lifeboat and left Kim Campbell (now, SHE deserves it!) at the wheel of the Titanic, was he not also awarded the Order? For that reason alone, Morgentaler would be justified in telling the Order folks to provide their proctologists with a serious challenge.
    But then, I digress…CTZen

  14. 14

    Cornelius T. Zen -

    I am not sure how you deal with my primary problem. The Order of Canada has from the beginning been used as an instrument to unite the country. Dr. Morgentaler, however, is a national divider and the Orderhas been demeaned.

  15. 15
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “The Order of Canada has from the beginning been used as an instrument to unite the country.”

    I don’t see how YOU view the OoC (that it’s used to unite the country) is relevant here Neil.

    I don’t agree that it is an instrument to unite the country – that isn’t it’s purpose. The typical definition of the OoC is as follows:

    “Purpose of the Order of Canada:
    The Order of Canada recognizes people who have made a difference to Canada. It is Canada’s highest (civilian) honour for lifetime achievement.”

    Using this definition makes Dr. Morgantaler eminently qualified!!

    Congrats to the fine Doctor! :)

    And your assertion that the order has been demeaned is ridiculous! Conrad Black is a member. So is Father Lucien Larre – who is he? He’s a pro-life priest who has done jail time for assault (sexual and otherwise) on kids – yes, KIDS!!

    Did HE have to give HIS OoC back? Nope… but where’s the outrage over this sick bastard getting the OoC? Nowhere, that’s where.

  16. 16
    Chimera Says:

    “But the Order has always been seen as something to unite Canadians.”

    Since when? Officially, the order is given: “to those who by sustained personal achievement have made a difference for the country or humanity”. The availability of safe abortions for those women who want or need them certainly makes a difference to the lives of those women. So everyone doesn’t agree with their need. So what? Not part of the criteria.

    And Morgentaler is not the divisive one. The people who want to deprive women of their hard-won rights to reproductive choices are the ones who are being divisive.

    And if you want to take it away from him because he’s controversial, then you have to take it away from every prime minister who got it, as well, starting with Trudeau!

  17. 17
    Patrick Says:

    To Joe Agnost. Thank You for correcting me. You are right, babies do not breath before birth, they are nor given the chance. So you are outraged over Father Lucien as we all should be, but abortion kills the un-born who never grt the chance to become kids, yes kids!

    Did you see Silent scream? Patrick

  18. 18
    jim Says:

    Agnost, is it true that Father Larre is sueing you for defamation of character. Her was cleared of all sexual charges against kids who, by the way, were in a conspiracy to get the priest. Secondly, he did return the order of Canada as a protest against the Morg.

  19. 19

    I mostly agree with you Neil.

  20. 20
    Cornelius T. Zen Says:

    Good morrow, Neil!
    Now, you’ve been out of diapers how long again? Considering that, as Will Ferguson once pointed out, Canada was the result of much drunken debate on cold early spring evenings in 1867 (“tell the Yankees to Doodle themselves! Another bottle, gentlemen?”) what makes you think the Order of Canada was conceived under any more sober conditions? There are only so many Senate appointments you can make, until you run out of party hacks. At least, that’s how it was in 1967. (“Heck, if the Queen can make the Beatles MBE’s, we can come up with SOMETHING, can’t we? Another CC on the rocks over here!”)
    You know what unites this country? An all-encompassing loathing for whoever’s in charge. Who was the last, really likeable (let alone respectable) Prime Minister? Maybe Lester Pearson? We had Pierre “Let them eat fuddle-duddle” Trudeau. We had Joe “blink and you’ll miss him” Who. We had J-j-j-j-j-ohn T-t-t-t-turner, the Jimmy Stewart of Canadian public speaking. We had Byron Muldoon, who reminded us that there’s “no whore like an old whore.” And Kim “the people of Canada are too dumb to know what’s good for them” Campbell, our summer substitute teacher. Perhaps Jean Poutine, who was honest only to the extent that he could only lie out of one side of his mouth. Now we have Steve Harpoon, for whom the term “control freak” must have been coined.
    The Order of Canada is an attempt to recognize the contribution of Canadians to the life of the country. That’s the theory, anyway. Just how much will that relieve your pain when you gas up, or pay your taxes, or see another political hopeful through your keyhole?
    But then, I digress…CTZen

  21. 21

    Cornelius T Zen: -

    If all that you say about our leaders is true, why is it that we are considered one of the best governed countries on the face of the planet? Curious.

  22. 22
    Cornelius T. Zen Says:

    Good morrow, Neil!
    In whose opinion, and by what standard of measurement?
    Rafe Mair once quoted: In Politics, it is not necessary to be a “10″ to be distinguished. You can stand out as a “3″, if all around you are “2′s.”
    As far as I can see, Canada functions well in spite of, not because of, its leadership. The more we can ignore whoever’s in charge, the better we can muddle through. The best of a bad lot is still not all that impressive.
    Humanity is an amazingly resilient species, no matter what it tries to do to itself. We would, however, insist on fouling our own nest. But, I digress…CTZen

  23. 23
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “why is it that we are considered one of the best governed countries on the face of the planet?”

    How does this matter? It’s like CT aptly put: ‘The best of a bad lot is still not all that impressive’. This speaks volumes.

    “…abortion kills the un-born who never grt the chance to become kids…”

    So in your mind it more cruel to kill an unborn child than to abuse a living AND breathing child? It’s BY FAR the other way around in my mind. It reminds me of the people that ask pro-choicers: ‘what if your mom had aborted you? What then??’ to which I reply: ‘I wouldn’t have existed and therefore wouldn’t be bothered with not being born. I wouldn’t exist – how can I be upset if I don’t exist?’.

    “Her was cleared of all sexual charges against kids who, by the way, were in a conspiracy to get the priest.”

    It appears you’re right – he was charged with sexual assualt but not convicted. He WAS convicted for assault though – the physical kind.

    A conspiracy eh? Any proof of that? Why did he go to jail then?

    “…he did return the order of Canada…”

    So what? The point was that there was/is no outrage over him having received it in the first place… he’s far more hideous than Dr. M could ever be…

  24. 24
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “A conspiracy eh? Any proof of that? Why did he go to jail then?”

    I’ve found it… he WAS pardoned by a parole board 5 years after his jail time.

    Nothing about a conspiracy though – and in fact there is evidence to the contrary. In Nov of 2006 he had his psychologist’s licence revoked. He appealed all the way to the BC supreme court and LOST. It appears that his psychology methods were suspicious and that he posed “an immediate risk to the public”.

    Nice guy… deserving of the OoC eh?! :)

  25. 25
    Chimera Says:

    “It appears that his psychology methods were suspicious and that he posed ‘an immediate risk to the public’.”

    I found that, too, Joe. The article also said that the public were deliberately not informed about it.

    Some damn system we got, eh?

  26. 26

    IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: FRIDAY, JULY4

    Because of technical reasons I am not able to log in to my computer which means I cannot post.

    We are working on this and will keep you posted. Many thanks.

    Neil

  27. 27
    jim Says:

    Agnost:- I’ve never heard of anyone before, argueing against their own argument. First you said he was in jail, now your asking me why did he go to jail.
    Regarding the conspiracy, the Canadian Press in the last 24 hours issued a communique. An excerpt reads Larre’s words, “The kids who were accusing me of that were just doing it, trying to get a better deal. They were already in jail and somehow they felt that if they said bad things about me, they would get brownie points”. Larre was aquitted. Chimera:- The public were not informed about Larre’s acquital either.
    Imagine charging a man with slapping a 19 year old woman (not condoned by me) 15 years after the event. I have much more but I’ve had it. Bye Bye

  28. 28
    Outraged Canadian Says:

    Likewise, get over YOURself LT

    If I could provide funding for these children I would.

    Unfortunately alot of the funding is being eaten up by abortion clinics.

    And don’t even throw the issue of handicapped/ deformed/ special needs people at me , because I know alot of these people , and have 2 family members that are special needs
    Are you telling me that my relaives and people I know are not relevent in this world, and not needed ?

    How DARE you suggest that they are not entitled to life , just because they have special needs.

    You & many others may have been hoodwinked into believing babies are just a” bunch of cells” & dont feel pain etc.becausse it also absolves peoples conscience that they are not getting rid of a baby…just” a bunch of cells”

    Morgantaler should not have received the award at all,

  29. 29
    Chimera Says:

    “How DARE you suggest that they are not entitled to life , just because they have special needs.”

    I went back and read LT’s comments, and nowhere did he suggest or imply or otherwise state that people who have been born and are currently alive are not entitled.

    But a fetus is NOT a person, a child, a baby, a being, or anything else on its own. Until it is born, it is NOT a legal entity. It is, indeed just a bunch of cells. You may choose to call it something else, but you have to keep it at a personal level; you may not make that choice for someone who does not believe it.

    The woman, on the other hand, IS a legal entity. And if she cannot, with all authority, dispose of her own body as she sees fit, then she is in bondage to others — a slave. She must be given the same complete freedom a man is given when it comes to the uses to which her body is put. And that includes the right to deny a pregnancy if she does not want it.

    Dr. Morgentaler spent many years helping women fight for the legal recognition of their right to self-determination when it comes to procreation. “Just because she can” does not translate into “she must.” Not any longer. Not in Canada. He very richly deserves the award.

  30. 30
    Cornelius T. Zen Says:

    Good morrow, all!
    If abortion is murder, then the denial of reproductive choice for women is slavery. I was under the impression that civiilzed countries had abolished slavery some time ago. Perhaps I was mistaken.
    Of course, Morgentaler’s recognition will outrage those who oppose abortion. If only it were NEVER necessary…but then, I digress CTZen

  31. 31

    ANNOUNCEMENT – sATURDAY, jULY 5 -9:45

    I have a new blog on which I have a new post. However, the coordinates of the blog are not in the system. Please watch this space and I’ll keep you posted. Thanks.

    Neil

  32. 32

    ANNOUNCEMENT – SUNDAY

    I hope you will check out my new blog at

    Neilmckentyweblog2

    I don’t want to lose any of our merry band of bloggers.

    Neil

  33. 33
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Back from a week in the Townships, I read your announcement. Tried your new site, can’t get in with what you have given?
    As for current posting. Well, more of the same.

  34. 34
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Paul: go to http://neilmckentyweblog2.wordpress.com/

    I think Neil was reticent to putting the address up because this blog used to block url’s…but lately it hasn’t been doing that.

  35. 35
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Thanks Tony, it worked.

  36. 36

    ANNOUNCEMENT:

    As a result of information provided by Tony and Paul it may be more effective to google the following address for my new blog:

    neilmckentyweblog2.wordpress.com/

    Hope this works for everybody.

    Neil

  37. 37
    Chimera Says:

    Gotcha, Neil. Your new blog is now in residence on my sidebar.

    Thanks for the link, Tony.

  38. 38

    ANNOUNCEMENT _

    Under my present arrangement with wordpress.com, comments must be approved before they can be published.

    I will approve all comments as soon as I become aware of them.

    Hope to see you all at my new blog.

    Neil

  39. Excellent content and style…keep up the good work!


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