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Why Ontario Plans to Seize Certain Children from their Parents

Image via Toronto Star

“Bill 89 gives the government a type of police power to bust down your door and seize your biological children if you are known to oppose LGBT ideology.”

The Canadian province of Ontario has caused quite a stir with its new child protection bill. The bill, known as Bill 89, allows the government to seize children from their parents if the family does not acknowledge the child’s “gender identity” and sexual orientation.

So what exactly is the purpose of the bill?

The bill essentially replaces Child and Family Services Act with the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 in its place. The act primarily governs child protection, foster care, adoption protocol and services.

The bill, which was passed by a vote of 63 to 23, was introduced by the Minister of Child and Family Services, Michael Coteau. According to Coteau: “I would consider that a form of abuse, when a child identifies one way and a caregiver is saying no, you need to do this differently. If it’s abuse, and if it’s within the definition, a child can be removed from that environment and placed into protection where the abuse stops.”

However, the government of Ontario’s definition of abuse appears to include the most trivial of matters. Recently, Ontario’s child protection services removed two foster children from a Christian couple’s home after they refused to lie to their children and tell them that the Easter Bunny is real. It was alleged that a service worker insisted the children be told this falsehood because the Easter Bunny is an important part of Canadian culture.

The bill mandates that childcare service workers take into consideration the child’s race, ancestry, place of origin, color, ethnic origin, citizenship, family diversity, disability, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

Interestingly, Bill 89 does not take into consideration the religion of the parents or caretakers of the child. In fact, it makes it illegal for parents to influence the religious upbringing of the child.

The bill mandates that parents must respect whatever religion that the child chooses. This is in stark contrast to the previous Child and Family Services Act, which took into consideration the parents’ religion and enabled them to guide their child’s religious beliefs.

Hence, it seems somewhat ironic that a bill advocating more freedom for children offers such little leeway for parents to decide how to raise their kids. Many critics have been quick to highlight the dogmatic undertones of Bill 89.

According to Jack Fonseca, senior political strategist for Campaign Life Coalition: ”With the passage of Bill 89, we’ve entered an era of totalitarian power by the state, such as never witnessed before in Canada’s history. Make no mistake, Bill 89 is a grave threat to Christians and all people of faith who have children, or who hope to grow their family through adoption.”

Fortunately, Bill 89 does enact some positive changes. It repeals section 86 of the previous Act, which prohibited “Roman Catholic children from being placed in the care of a Protestant society, institution or family” or vice versa. It also outlaws isolation rooms for children, who are temporarily detained by child services and instead recommends de-escalation rooms that help calm them.

Nevertheless, Bill 89 does raise some disconcerting questions. First, is it acceptable for a state to prescribe the exact manner by which a parent must raise his child? Does the state have the right to seize the child if the parent does not adhere to the state’s demands?

Another issue with the bill pertains to the sheer freedom it gives to children. Are children mature enough to comprehend complex ideas such as gender identity and sexual orientation? The bill vaguely mentions that “the child’s views and wishes will be given due weight in accordance with the child’s age and maturity.” How the bill determines each child’s maturity is not specified, and there appears to be no streamlined mechanism to do so. The bill seems to weigh the children’s wishes as more important than those of their parents. But it is the parents who tend to have the life experience to make more informed decisions.

The bill, in its conception, sets a dangerous precedent for personal freedom in Ontario. Under the guise of “empowering” children, Bill 89 infringes upon the religious freedom and discretion that parents deserve.

As Fonseca aptly says: “Bill 89 gives the government a type of police power to bust down your door and seize your biological children if you are known to oppose LGBT ideology and the fraudulent theory of gender identity…”

Arin Gerald studies mechanical engineering at Boston University. He writes about entrepreneurship, technology, and business.

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