Letter Concerning the Montfort Hospital in Ottawa

Friday, October 23 1998

Mr. Duncan Sinclair
Chair, Ontario Health Services Restructuring Commission
56 Wellesley Street West, 12th Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M5S 2S3

Dear Sir:

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), at its recent annual Plenary Meeting, held in Niagara Falls, October 15-20, unanimously adopted the following resolution:

“While ‘it is not the role of the pastors of the Church to intervene directly in the political structuring and organization of social life. This task is part of the vocation of the lay faithful, acting on their own initiative with their fellow citizens‘ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2442); “Nevertheless, pastors have the duty of reminding public authorities, out of concern for the common good, that they are to protect and defend the rights of national minorities (Second Vatican Council Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, n. 59, §5; 73, §3). Furthermore, such preoccupation is of particular concern when these fundamental rights are at stake in areas such as health and education. “Accordingly, in recognition that what is at stake are the cultural and linguistic rights of French-speaking minorities throughout Canada, the members of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops call on the Ontario Health Services Restructuring Commission to reconsider its decision on the future of the Montfort Hospital in Ottawa.”

Founded in 1943, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is the national association of the Catholic Bishops of Canada. Through the CCCB the approximately 130 bishops of this country, including both the Latin and Eastern rites, express collegial responsibility and undertake common action.

Thank you for your attention to this resolution on the future of the Ottawa Montfort Hospital. Although the decision of your Commission certainly involves administrative questions, the Bishops of Canada are also convinced it has serious implications for minority rights throughout Canada.


Msgr. Peter Schonenbach, P.H.
General Secretary

Émilius Goulet, P.S.S.
Secrétaire général

CC: S.O.S. Montfort
Attn. Mme Gisèle Lalonde

Mr. Michael D. Harris
Premier of Ontario

Ms. Elizabeth Witmer
Minister of Health