University can be an exciting and sometimes overwhelming time. As you start a new chapter of your life, you’re looking for the people, the program, the clubs into which you fit. You’re looking ahead to your future career and future life. But don’t miss out on the present. As a university student, you have an [...]Read more
Today MP Mark Warawa announced that he will not be appealing Motion 408 any further, but will instead be introducing a new bill. However, Mr. Warawa intends to continue raising awareness on the issue of gendercide.
“It’s unfortunate that Motion 408 will not be going forward because of the PROC committee’s disregard for parliamentary procedure,” says Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director of National Campus Life Network (NCLN). “We are truly grateful for Mr. Warawa’s efforts in addressing this issue and are glad to see that he will continue to champion the cause.”
Pro-life students across Canada joined Mr. Warawa in raising awareness about the issue of gendercide as they took part in the Defend Girls campaign, which was brought to campus by NCLN. This campaign involved distributing over 10,000 resources educating students about the issue abroad and in Canada, and screening the award-winning documentary, ‘It’s a Girl’.
“Our government and other party leaders may not be willing to condemn this discrimination against girls,” states Miss Richmond, “But polling has shown that Canadians condemn the practice of sex-selective pregnancy termination. Motion 408 may not go forward but educational efforts must continue.”
NCLN’s Defend Girls resources are still available and still relevant if you would like to use them to educate on this important issue.
UFV Life Link Statement: April 9, 2013
Response to Misleading Comments Made by the University of the Fraser Valley
This statement is in response to misleading comment made by the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) concerning the cancellation of the Life Link event on Wednesday April 10th.
UFV alleges that the LifeLink event was merely postponed and not cancelled. However, in correspondence with the club leaders, UFV stated that the “room booking for the 10th of April has been cancelled and we would request that you remove your posters advertising this event. We also request that you remove the event posting that is located on the weneedaLaw website.” The university did state that the event could continue on the date booked, but only if it was off campus.
Life Link was told, in the email from Friday April 5th, that “if you wish for your Life Link event to happen at UFV the date will have to be postponed.” Considering, however, that the campus is entering exams and the semester is ending, this still means, in effect, that the event has been completely shut down – at least until the next school year starts in September.
The cancellation also failed to address why a risk management plan could not have been discussed when the event was booked three weeks ago or even in the last few days, after the university became concerned about potential protesters. Comments made in the University’s April 5th email to Life Link such as having the event off campus and the need to ensure “an event that provides a balanced view of the issue at hand” also demonstrates the university’s desire to censor the pro-life message.
The university also claims that it does not object to anti-gendercide materials on campus. Why then were club resources restricted to a classroom? The university has stated to the media that graphic or potentially upsetting/offensive resources may be subject to ‘alternative arrangements for display’ out of public space. This indicates that UFV considers the resources in question, which show a pregnant women’s belly and state facts on gendercide and which have been used on other Canadian universities, to be ‘graphic’ and, as such, subject to university censorship.
The University’s Friday April 5th email sent to Life Link can be viewed here.
The resources in question can be viewed here.
Press Release: UNIVERSITY OF THE FRASER VALLEY SHUTS DOWN EVENT AND CENSORS ANTI-GENDERCIDE RESOURCES
UNIVERSITY OF THE FRASER VALLEY SHUTS DOWN EVENT AND CENSORS ANTI-GENDERCIDE RESOURCES
ABBOTSFORD, BC (April 8 2013) – Students at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford BC are calling on their university administration to reverse the cancellation of a pro-life presentation scheduled for Wednesday, and to reverse their decision to censor the club’s anti-gendercide resources. The University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) Life Link club has secured legal counsel from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), which issued a letter to the university on Monday April 8th with the demand.
“Our club has distributed resources, held a debate and organized other presentations on abortion,” states Ashley Bulthuis, Life Link’s president. “A documentary on gendercide has even been screened on campus this year. Why has the university suddenly disregarded its commitment to free speech in regards to the gendercide and abortion issues?”
The administration, citing security concerns, told the UFV Life Link club that the event was cancelled due to the possible presence of protestors. The presentation by Mike Schouten, Campaign Director of WeNeedALaw.ca, concerns the current legal status of abortion in Canada.
Earlier in the semester the administration had banned the students from distributing anti-gendercide resources that highlighted the missing women worldwide and the fact that this practice is occurring in Canada. The university told the students they would only be able to distribute such resources in a closed room.
“The university ought to safeguard free speech on campus especially when there is a possibility of others – like the possible protesters – who might try to suppress it,” states Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator for National Campus Life Network (NCLN), an organization that supports pro-life students. A recent study found that “87% of Canadians oppose sex-selective abortion and 25% say it is occurring in their own communities. Why won’t the university allow students to raise awareness about this horrific practice?”
The anti-gendercide resources were created by NCLN and have been distributed on campuses across Canada. They provide facts on sex-selective abortions and its global consequences, stating that “‘It’s a Girl’ should not be a death sentence.” No other university has been censored for distributing these resources.
UFV Life Link eagerly awaits the university’s response, refuses to allow the university to censor them, and will continue to share their pro-life message on campus.
For media requests, please contact:
To view the censored resources and the letter from the JCCF, please visit: http://ufvlifelink.ncln.ca/2013/04/08/censorship/
The appeal for Mr. Warawa’s appeal to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (PROC) has been announced for this Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. EST. It is critical that our voices are heard as the committee prepares to meet. Our elected representatives need to know that we care not only about gendercide, but also about the democratic principles that were called into question this past Thursday when the sub-committee deemed Motion 408 non-votable.
If you have already sent some emails and used Twitter to voice your concerns, thank you – keep it up! If you haven’t yet, please do so tonight or tomorrow (Tuesday). There are some great tools you can use to do this quickly and easily.
Some key ways that YOU can help:
1. Email the members of PROC to express your concern. You can find a list of the members and their emails below, or, use the great SimpleMail tool available from our friends at WeNeedALaw. With a few clicks you can email all 12 members of the committee (plus your own MP and the Prime Minister).
Joe Preston – firstname.lastname@example.org
Alexandrine Latendresse – Alexandrine.Latendresse@parl.gc.ca
Dominic LeBlanc – email@example.com
Scott Armstrong – firstname.lastname@example.org
Nathan Cullen – email@example.com
Parm Gill – Parm.Gill@parl.gc.ca
Tom Lukiwski – firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave MacKenzie – email@example.com
Costas Menegakis – Costas.Menegakis@parl.gc.ca
Scott Reid – firstname.lastname@example.org
Craig Scott – email@example.com
Nycole Turmel – Nycole.Turmel@parl.gc.ca
2. Use Twitter to indicate your concern to these MPs. Their twitter handles are listed below:
@CraigScottNDP (on the sub-committee that blocked M408)
@Armstrong_MP (on the sub-committee that blocked M408)
@ScottReidCPC (on the subcommittee that blocked M408)
Don’t forget to tweet @pmharper (Prime Minister Harper) as well and use the #M408 hashtag!
*N.B. If you join Twitter specifically for M408, that’s great. Be aware, though, that ‘mentioning’ or ‘tagging’ a lot of people immediately upon getting a Twitter account will probably result in your account being suspended (it will think you are a spammer). Ease into it with a few general tweets and a few mentions before you get right into it. And don’t forget to follow @NCLN and @NCLNwestern on Twitter!
Can’t think of a tweet? A few suggestions here.
3. Contact your own MP and the Prime Minister’s office. 613.992.4211.
Let them know you are calling in regards to Motion 408. When you are directed to a voice mail system, leave a polite message with your name.
CANADIAN STUDENTS DISMAYED AT M408 BEING DEEMED NON-VOTABLE
OTTAWA, ON (March 22 2013) – Canadian students are expressing their dismay with yesterday’s decision that deemed Motion 408 to be non-votable. This motion, brought forward by Langley MP Mark Warawa, consists of one sentence and calls on Parliament to condemn discrimination against girls occurring through sex-selective pregnancy termination.
Mr. Warawa has called the decision made by the subcommittee of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs “shocking and undemocratic”. A Library of Parliament analyst clearly and repeatedly explained that the motion was fully compatible with the criteria for votability.
“All too often, we have seen students silenced on university campuses when exploring controversial topics,” states Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director of the National Campus Life Network (NCLN). “It is baffling that Parliament would appear to be experiencing similar problems, especially when the motion at hand is a simple affirmation of a core Canadian value, that is, the equality of girls and boys.”
Students in pro-life clubs across the country have been involved with a national campus campaign this semester, coordinated and promoted through NCLN. This campaign has included screenings of the award-winning documentary “It’s a Girl”, presentations at B.C. universities by Mr. Warawa, as well as the distribution of information, collection of petitions, and other activities focused on raising awareness about gendercide and supporting M408.
“I have personally met a student who survived gendercide abroad,” remarks Anastasia Pearse, who coordinated west coast campus activities with NCLN. “To scuttle the motion in this way is an affront not only to the victims of gendercide – an estimated 200 million worldwide – but also to the dignity of all women in Canada.”
Mr. Warawa has initiated an appeal of the decision, which he will take “as far as necessary.”
“We hope that Mr. Warawa’s appeal will be successful so that parliamentarians will have the opportunity to send a strong message about female equality in our country and abroad,” continues Ms. Richmond. “92% of Canadians think sex-selective abortion should be illegal. For our government to do anything less than condemn this discriminatory practice would be disgraceful.”
For further comment, please contact:
Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director, National Campus Life Network, firstname.lastname@example.org, 416 388 0461.
Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator, National Campus Life Network, email@example.com, 604 365 3484.
Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms Asks University of Waterloo to Safeguard Free Speech on Campus
The President of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), John Carpay, called on the University of Waterloo to safeguard free speech on campus after yesterday evening’s incident.
In a letter to Dr. Hamdullahpur, president of the university, Mr. Carpay reminded him of the similar incident in November 2010 when journalist and author Christie Blatchford was prevented from speaking by raucous protesters. He reminded Dr. Hamdullahpur that the university apologized to Ms. Blatchford the following day stating:
The University of Waterloo was disappointed that a guest invited to share a particular perspective on a topic of importance to Canadians was silenced by protesters….
The university considers Friday’s events as an attack on its presence as a place where issues are explored, discussed and at times debated. The freedom to speak and to learn is fundamental to the institution. Waterloo’s ethical behaviour policy states: ‘The University is an autonomous community which exists to further the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge and understanding through scholarship and teaching. The University aims to ensure an environment of tolerance and respect and believes that the right of individuals to advance their views openly must be upheld throughout the University.’ To ensure there is no doubt of the university’s convictions, Waterloo President Feridun Hamdullahpur apologized to Ms. Blatchford, on behalf of the university community, for Friday night’s disruption. He has asked the community to begin planning for a safe, open and respectful dialogue featuring Ms. Blatchford and her book.”
Mr. Carpay took issue with the manner in which security would not intervene to allow the event to continue and made the following request to the university:
I request that you uphold the free expression rights of those who have planned and organized the screening of “It’s a Girl” on your campus at 7:00 p.m. this evening, as well as the free expression rights of audience members who wish to listen and to participate in thoughtful discussion and debate.
I also request that you apologize to Mr. Woodworth for what happened. I ask you to express your commitment to campus free speech by re-scheduling another speaking opportunity for Mr. Woodworth at the University of Waterloo, and providing proper security at the next event to ensure it is not shut down by those who disagree.
The full text of the letter can be accessed here.
Footage of protesters at a presentation by MP Stephen Woodworth at the University of Waterloo on March 13th.
PROTESTERS DISRUPT PRESENTATION BY MP STEPHEN WOODWORTH AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO
WATERLOO, ON (March 14 2013) – An event with MP Stephen Woodworth at the University of Waterloo yesterday was derailed as protestors shouted down the speaker, preventing Mr. Woodworth from continuing his presentation to the students assembled.
“We understand that there are strong opinions when it comes to an issue like abortion,” says Hannah Bailey, President of Waterloo Students for Life, which had organized the presentation. “But we expected better from our peers at the university. Their behaviour was an embarrassment to the entire university community.”
Mr. Woodworth, MP for the Kitchener Centre riding, had brought forward Motion 312 at the House of Commons last year, which called for a re-examination of the 400 year-old definition of a human being in the Canadian Criminal Code. His presentation on Wednesday was to address that topic as well as to take questions from the audience. Mr. Woodworth was only able to get through one third of the presentation before the chanting and yelling prevented him from being heard.
Although campus security was present, they failed to take any kind of action to allow Mr. Woodworth to continue his presentation. When asked to intervene they declined to do so, stating that unless the protesters became violent, they could not step in.
“This is an elected member of our government speaking at an institution that is supposed to have a high value for free speech,” states Clarissa Luluquisin who was in attendance and is the Central Campus Coordinator of the National Campus Life Network, which supports pro-life groups across Canada. “Instead of respectfully listening and then asking questions, we see that the protestors preferred to cling to a few pieces of rhetoric rather than listening to anything Mr. Woodworth might say.”
Despite the disruptions to this event, Waterloo Students for Life will be going ahead with a screening of the award winning documentary ‘It’s a Girl’ tonight in room 308 of the J.R. Coutts Engineering Lecture Hall (RCH) at 7:00 p.m.
A video clip of the incident can be found at: http://www.ncln.ca/blog/uwvideo/
For further comment, please contact: Hannah Bailey, President of Waterloo Students for Life, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clarissa Luluquisin, Central Campus Coordinator of NCLN, email@example.com, 416 970 3059.