In response to a request from the House of Bishops (February 1988), the Primate reported he had invited Mrs. P. Creighton, Mrs. D. Marshall and Dr. J. Reed to form a Task Force to prepare a contemporary statement regarding abortion.
It was agreed that we, as Christians, must work towards the creation of a society in which every human being is welcome and recognized that we must both work for change of legislation which affects social programming.
Chancellor David Wright stated that difficulties outside the Criminal Code fall within the jurisdiction of the provinces and the federal government can enter the field only through the Criminal Code, but can control processes through funding.
That this National Executive Council:
1. express its heartfelt thanks to the members of the Task Force on Abortion;
2. endorses the report of the Task Force;
3. refers the report to the Primate for appropriate action. CARRIED #65-05-88
It was agreed that the Primate should send the report to appropriate people in the life of the church and the country.
The Primate, on behalf of the NEC, expressed thanks to Mrs. Creighton, Mrs. Marshall and Dr. Reed for their report.
Toronto hospitals are performing abortions "without restriction," according to a prominent official of the Anglican Church of Canada.
Rev. Arthur Brown, rector of a large Toronto parish and a member of the National Executive Council of General Synod made the charge in connection with deliberations on a forthcoming report by a Task Force on Human Life.
The report is not expected to be completed until the end of 1973 and Father Brown said he and other pastors are impatiently awaiting it for guidance on new and complex moral situations.
He told bishops and other delegates from across Canada to the executive council that "all kinds of girls are going through our hospitals in metropolitan Toronto being aborted of pregnancies." His information, he said, comes from nurses and other hospital staff.
Father Brown claimed that staffs in some Toronto hospitals are aborting without restriction "under the guise of it being good for the total health of the mother."
Five years ago, he said, one Toronto hospital listed 28 abortions. Last year, the number was over 300, "ten times as many, or more."
He said "doctors are compromised by the destruction of human life" in this abortion situation. On becoming doctors, he said, they swear an oath to preserve life but due to the present situation "they are placed in a major compromised situation."
Father Brown said nursing staffs are upset over having to clean up after induced miscarriages and they come to him for guidance.
Archbishop E.W. Scott, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada expressed deep sympathy towards the position described by Father Brown but said the task force's report will take another year due to the complexities of the issues involved.
"It's becoming obvious that people are feeling a need for help in making decisions in these areas," Archbishop Scott said.
"Each case has to be evaluated in terms of the health of the mother and the possible health of the child, and not only on the question of the sanctity of life but also in the area of the quality of life."
Archbishop Scott emphasized that hospital boards deciding abortion cases should include persons representing moral issues as well as medical issues.
Besides abortion, the task force is studying the whole concept of when life begins and ends in relation to euthanasia, transplants, biological engineering and the vast implications of discoveries in biochemistry. Archbishop Scott said the study has become increasingly complex as it delves into the legal, medical, moral and social aspects of life. The task force is composed of lawyers, doctors, research scientists, housewives, social workers, theologians and others. It is also consulting with similarly concerned groups in the United States, Britain and other parts of the world.
A progress report will be presented to the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada at its biennial meeting next May in Regina.
Canadian church representatives and Native People will bring to New York, on Thursday, their struggle for a public inquiry into the actions of the Canadian subsidiary of a Connecticut-based multinational corporation.
Amax of Canada has proposed to dump 100 million metric tonnes of tailings from its molybdenum mine, into coastal waters of British Columbia over 26 years. The amount of the tailings, and their toxicity, exceed by thousands of times the amount allowed by federal regulations in Canada. Permission to exceed Government standards was granted by a special Order-in-Council of the Federal Cabinet, without discussion on the floor of Parliament, or in any public inquiry. In addition, there was no prior consultation with the Nishga Tribal Council about the ecological or sociological impact of the action. The Nishga are the Native People of the area who depend on the waters for food and their livelihood.
Several prominent environmental scientists have condemned the dumpings, and a political storm has resulted. In the face of this, the Federal Government has refused to rescind its Order, or to call a public inquiry.
In response to this situation the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, its highest governing body, at its meetings in June last year, passed a strong resolution, ordering that "...the Primate, urge the Federal Government to withdraw its special order-in-council; that is, the 'Alice Arm Tailings Deposit Regulations, SOR 79-345,' permitting the Amax Corporation to dump its effluent into Alice Arm, and to declare a moratorium upon development of the resource until technology is developed to safely dispose of the tailings."
This has resulted in public meetings, media coverage, a petition to the Federal Government, meetings between the Nishga, Church officials and Amax management, but no public inquiry.
The Church at various levels has purchased 1,004 shares in Amax, and will appear at the Annual Meeting in New York on Thursday at 2:15 p.m. at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel to make intervention on behalf of its concerns and those of the Native People of the area, most of whom are Anglicans (Episcopalians).
The Nishga Tribal Council will hold a Media Conference on:
Mississauga, May 13, 1988 -- The Anglican Church will today [EDITOR: Friday] attempt to define a third choice in the debate on therapeutic abortion.
A task force report to be delivered to the church's national executive council meeting here this afternoon, says: "Too often the abortion debate is couched in terms of a woman's right over her own body as against a foetus's right to life." It suggests the issue may be addressed from a new perspective in which neither the mother nor the foetus is required to serve as "victim."
"Christians hold a spectrum of personal views about the morality of abortion, from utter rejection of it to conviction that it is a personal ethical matter for a woman."
Either approach, the report suggests, is one-sided: either it ignores the cry of the unborn while trying to raise the status of women; or it remains indifferent to the plight of women while trying to protect the unborn.
The task force was convened in March to consider the Anglican Church's stance on abortion in light of the Supreme Court's decision in the Morgentaler case. That decision declared the provisions of the Criminal Code dealing with abortions to be unconstitutional. The church had previously expressed its support for the law.
The 15-page report recommends that the church continue to oppose unregulated access to abortion. The church, it says, sees abortion as "always a tragedy fraught with moral ambiguity...To resort to abortion lightly or casually is to degrade our humanity, to deny the responsibility and responsiveness of human nature."
SEEKING "TRUE" CHOICE
The report spends its greatest energy addressing the circumstances in which women "choose" abortion. In many cases, it says, the choice is hollow: When women choose to abort, it is frequently in coercive, lonely and grief-stricken circumstances where they feel completely unable to bear their child. Often the biggest problem facing the woman is her lack of a real social and economic support system. Many women who choose not to bear their children, then, make their decision out of alienation and hopelessness.
"For us as Christians, such despair cannot be left as the motive force...True choice must involve alternatives to despair."
The report says new legislation to regulate abortion should "establish procedures to make abortion available equitably across the country as a therapeutic measure for women whose pregnancies endanger their life or their physical or mental health." It says counselling should be required.
The report rejects the concept of legislating easy access to early abortion and more restricted access later in the term (after 12 weeks for example): "Abortion is always the taking of a human life and, in our view, should never be done except for serious therapeutic reasons. Any such line is arbitrary and seems to argue that the value of the foetus and the seriousness of abortion in the early stages will be discounted."
ABORTION OR POVERTY TOO OFTEN ONLY CHOICE
Noting that many women have a choice of aborting a foetus or bearing a child to live in poverty, the report urges an extensive program of social action to reduce conditions which make the choice of abortion more likely. It stresses the need for:
* more affordable housing;
* pay equity for women;
* a guaranteed annual income, and other financial measures "to secure the dignity -- indeed the survival -- of mothers and children;"
Two on-land spills of toxic mine tailings in less than a week, surprisingly high support at the Amax annual shareholders' meeting in New York and an interim report from the McInerney Scientific Review Panel which confirms many of the long-range fears of the Nishga Indians, environmental groups and church bodies ... a scenario which developed quickly in the past few days has prompted renewed cries for a public inquiry into the Amax Corporation's mine operation in Kitsault, British Columbia.
Archbishop E.W. Scott, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has sent another strong request to the Federal Government to "set up a public inquiry...as quickly as possible. In am convinced," the Archbishop continued, "such an inquiry would be in the best interests of the governments concerned, the Amax Company, the Nishga people and the general public."
The Primate's telex was sent on Tuesday, May 12th, to the Prime Minister; the Ministers of the Environment; Federal Fisheries and Oceans; and Indian and Northern Affairs.
The full text of the Archbishop's telex is enclosed.
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For further information, please contact:
Consultant in National Affairs
Richard J. Berryman
Anglican Church of Canada
600 Jarvis Street
Toronto, Ont. M4Y 2J6
May 12, 1981
In the light of the Amax shareholders' action last week in New York whereby 1.5 million shares were voted in favour of our resolution calling for a moratorium and full public inquiry into the Kitsault marine disposal of tailings and a further 16 million abstained; and in the light of national public opinion and the many serious doubts raised by the McInerney interim report which confirms the validity of the fears expressed by the Nishga Tribal Council re the potential damage to marine life and human health, I again urge you to set up a public inquiry under the Public Inquiries Act as quickly as possible. I am convinced such an inquiry would be in the best interests of the governments concerned, the Amax Company, the Nishga people and the general public.
That this General Synod encourage each diocese to be responsible for sending copies of resolutions passed at General Synod regarding abortion and programs of education on this topic once they are developed, to the various secular agencies involved in counselling of families and young women facing issues of abortion. CARRIED ACT 89
The Amax Corporation has served notice of another potential bomb-shell.
Amax operates the controversial molybdenum mine in Kitsault, British Columbia which was given permission by a Federal Cabinet Order-in-Council, without public hearings, to dump 12,000 metric tons of toxic mine tailings daily into the waters of Alice Arm, BC.
It would appear that Amax is now seeking to receive the same kind of quiet permission, without public scrutiny, to release toxic substances from the mine - this time into the air.
Appearing on page 1502 of the July 30th edition of the British Columbia Gazette is notice of an application by Amax, "to obtain a permit to discharge emissions to atmosphere." It goes on to say that the emissions will contain "arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury and zinc." The notice does say that the levels of these contaminants "will comply with the most stringent pollution control regulations now in effect." It goes on, however, to add, "objectives for molybdenum, nickel, uranium and radium 226 are not available, but emission rates, as tested, are in the same order of magnitude."
The notice declares, "The operating period during which contaminants will be discharged is continuous, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week."
The application points out that "any person who qualifies as an objector" may file an objection within thirty days which means the deadline is August 13th. The notice was published in the midst of the postal strike and, as of August 10th, the copy of the Gazette received at Osgoode Hall in Toronto each month had still not arrived.
The application makes no mention of environmental hazard studies or of any public hearings to assess such hazards. The Nishga Indians who inhabit the surrounding Nass Valley, and will, therefore, live under the Amax cloud, have heard nothing of this application, nor have any public hearings been held in the area.
The General Synod of the Anglican Church, through its Executive Director of Program, the Rev. Clarke Raymond, has sent a telegram of objection asking that no permit be issued until the "environmental impact is assessed by public hearing."
Mrs. Mavis Gillies announced that the Anglican Church of Canada's petition to the Federal Government regarding the Amax Corporation contained 9,500 names, and that west coast churches have cooperated ecumenically in this environmental concern. Representatives of the Canadian Churches will attend the Amax Shareholders' Meeting in New York, May 6, and will put forth a Resolution calling for a halt to the dumping of tailings until a public enquiry has been held. Prayerful support was pledged by members of the House.
That the House of Bishops support the Motion to be presented at the Amax Shareholders' Meeting in New York by the Public Social Responsibility Unit. CARRIED
It was agreed that a statement of support should be conveyed from this House to the Federal Minister of Fisheries and the Prime Minister.
WHEREAS the terms of reference of the AMAX Scientific Review Panel are limited;
AND WHEREAS all proceedings are not open to public scrutiny;
AND WHEREAS there is no right to cross examination or power of subpoena;
AND WHEREAS the Anglican Church at the national and local levels is being asked to participate in the AMAX Scientific Review Panel;
THEREFORE be it resolved that this National Executive Council continue to call for a full Public Inquiry under the Public Inquiries Act and request representatives of the Anglican Church of Canada not to appear before the AMAX Scientific Review Panel, and that our position be made public. CARRIED
"The Church has never said there not be development in the North. We are simply very concerned that governments and corporations not make decisions about resource development before they deal with the needs, aspirations and claims of the people involved." That is the feeling expressed by the Rev. Clarke Raymond, Executive Director of Program for the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, as he prepared to give evidence at the National Energy Board hearings on the Norman Wells Pipeline application on October 27, 1980.
Raymond's presentation, part of the intervention by the Committee for Justice and Liberty Foundation, traced the concerns for Native self-determination, the environment and the nature of Canadian northern development which the Anglican Church has expressed since its publication of 'Beyond Traplines' in 1969. Through resolutions at its General Synod, participation in 'Project North', representations to the Berger Commission and in the work of the Church's Unit on Public Social Responsibility, the Anglican Church has consistently focused on the moral, social and environmental issues related to energy and other resource development projects in the North.
The N.E.B. is in a position to make recommendations which can be acted upon by the Federal Cabinet without recourse to Parliamentary debate of the issues involved. The Anglican Church, with other denominations, church groups and Native Peoples' organizations, is presently opposing a similar situation in which Amax Corporation has been given permission, by Order-in-Council to by-pass federal regulations and dump 100 million metric tons of toxic heavy metals into Alice Arm, British Columbia. There is, therefore, fear that the same by-passing of Common debate could happen in relation to the Norman Wells Pipeline.
The full text of the General Synod statement is attached.
[Text of statement not included in electronic database.]
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For further information, please contact:
The Rev. L. Clarke Raymond (at hearings in Yellowknife)