We Have a Charter. Let’s Take It Seriously.

By Josh MacMillan

At NCLN, we take free speech seriously. Throughout our 20 years of activism and service on campuses, we have seen the rights to free speech of all students trampled on across Canada.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms expresses that “Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: (a) freedom of conscience and religion (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and (d) freedom of association.” [emphasis added]

Too often, our freedom of peaceful assembly is violated by those who believe they have the freedoms of violent and destructive assembly. Just look at cases at Brock University, the University of Waterloo, Wilfred Laurier University, University of Victoria, and many others where authorities and administration, whose duties are to protect our rights, are reluctant to take action or do nothing simply because our ideas are considered controversial and essentially we’re ‘asking for it.’ Furthermore, the universities and colleges hide behind the excuse that school property is private and therefore they get to make the rules, despite millions of dollars of OUR TAX DOLLARS being spent to maintain these institutions.

In the 1960’s, students fought for their right to free speech against restrictive policies at University of California, Berkeley. In 1964, Joan Baez, a prominent figure and folk singer in the 60’s counter-culture, joined the protest they staged there. Recently, she has spoken out against this current trend of censorship:

“Let the Ann Coulters of the world have their say. Trying to stop Ann Coulter or Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking or any group from marching will not stop the advance of fascism, but rather might strengthen it… Let the opposition speak, let them march, let us speak and let us march. Violence usually brings the opposite of the desired goal.”

A lot of people, especially on campus, don’t seem to understand that. They call pro-lifers perpetrators, so they have the right to do whatever they wish to them and ignore basic human rights. A colleague of mine had a recent experience where a student said aloud just before attacking a pro-life display:

“Perfect, there is no security today…”

Frankly, the ideas of those who do not take free speech seriously make me uncomfortable. I have limits to my rights and I respect them. My rights end where someone else’s body begins. I have no right to be violent, and will not take violent action to hurt someone or destroy someone else’s property because it runs contrary to human rights and the principles laid down in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

We have a right not to be treated like this. When someone tramples on your rights, record the perpetrators with your cellphone, spread the word, and demand protection from school administration, authorities, and our government. We join students from a number of American colleges in making a statement on free speech (the text has been copied below).

We refuse to be silent. This is OUR country. This is OUR Charter. Let’s own it and build a world where free speech is protected universally.

NCLN is committed to helping pro-life students fight back on their campuses. Should you face censorship on your campus during your activism and are a Canadian student, NCLN will (free of charge) guide, advise, and give you the skills you need to protect your rights on campus. Contact us here at: info@ncln.ca

The below statement has been made by a number of students from the U.S. concerned about erosion of free speech:

Support for free expression is a nonpartisan value that must be protected and promoted. We invite any and all interested individuals to sign this Statement of Principles affirming the importance of free expression on campuses across the country. Please share this with other members of your community.

Why We’re Here and Who We Are:

The Free Speech Movement began as an entirely student-led initiative. However, free speech has been increasingly undermined by attempts of students and administrators alike to silence those with whom they disagree. We seek to reclaim that original tradition with this student-created Statement of Principles.

We, the undersigned, stand united in our shared conviction that free expression is critical to our society, in spite of our differing backgrounds, perspectives and ideologies.

What We Believe:

A central purpose of education is to teach students to challenge themselves and engage with opposing perspectives. Our ability to listen to, wrestle with and ultimately decide between contending viewpoints fosters mutual understanding as well as personal and societal growth. The active defense of free and open discourse is crucial for our society to continue to thrive as a democracy premised on the open debate of ideas.

The only way to achieve this is by cultivating a culture where all are free to communicate without fear of censorship or intimidation. While some speech may be objectionable and even deeply offensive, constitutionally protected speech ought to be held and enforced as the standard and must not be infringed upon. As Justice Louis Brandeis observed exactly 90 years ago, “those who won our independence believed … that the path of safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed grievances and proposed remedies,” and that “the fitting remedy for evil counsels” is not disruption, violence or suppression, “but good ones.”

What You Can Do:
Our vision is to foster a nationwide community of students, faculty, staff, alumni and other friends who support free expression.
If you share our passion for free speech, viewpoint diversity and open discourse, please sign on to this Statement of Principles and encourage your community to do the same.

SPECIAL ANNOUMCEMENT: Ruth Shaw, new Executive Director as of April 4, 2017.

From ANASTASIA, outgoing Executive Director

After six years of working with National Campus Life Network I will now be ending my term with the organization. It has been a privilege to serve our NCLN staff and students, and to work alongside you over the past few years!

I am excited to announce that Ruth Shaw will be the new Executive Director!
Ruth has been working with us for the past year as our Communications Director. During this time she has contributed an immense amount to NCLN, going above and beyond her role as our Communications Director. She has naturally gravitated towards a niche of NCLN that sets her up to lead the organization. She has a passion for moving NCLN forward to achieve our goals and has an excellent strategic mindset. Her past experience doing pro-life and other non-profit work gives her a unique perspective as well as invaluable experience that she has shared with our team and students.
I give my full support to Ruth Shaw as NCLN’s next Executive Director, and am excited about NCLN’s future; I am confident that Ruth will be able to serve NCLN’s staff, students, and supporters so together we can reach students with the pro-life message, and continue to change hearts and minds, save lives, and change our culture.

From RUTH, incoming Executive Director

Dear students and NCLN supporters,

I am truly honored to have the opportunity to fill the position of Executive Director for NCLN.

I have been doing pro-life activism consistently since 2006. My activism days began on a campus where I was thrown into the heart of the clash of ideologies during my time as President of Carleton Lifeline, the pro-life club at Carleton University. During my time there, I experienced censorship that began with the denial of club status and ended with the arrest of myself and 4 other club members. I have experienced the rejection of friends, the stress of carrying a club, and the joy of seeing someone change their position on abortion. This has given me a wealth of experience that I hope to pass on to our team and the students we lead and serve.
After graduating with Honors from the Human Rights Program, I worked for two years for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform where I was personally mentored by well-known Canadian apologists, Stephanie Gray and Jojo Ruba. This strengthened my pro-life activism and skill set as activist, mentor to other leaders, and speaker.
From 2011- to present I have been participating in and creating local activism through Ottawa Against Abortion, an organization I founded, while at the same time raising 2 little boys (William and Micah, ages 4 and 6 months). I began working for NCLN in 2016.

Students, I am committed to ending abortion with you on campus.
I am committed to reaching your peers effectively and compassionately. I am committed to walking with you through the highs of saving lives and changing minds, and the lows of feeling the weight of what we are doing. I am committed to you.
Please feel free to contact me anytime: ruth.shaw@ncln.ca; 1.877.618.4275 ext. 3.

UC Berkeley students protested to stop an event occuring the MLK JR building- the irony is palpable.

By Ruth Shaw, Communications Director

Last night, Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos attempted to speak at the University of California, Berkeley campus. The event was protested by left-wing student activists who disagree with Yiannopoulous’s ideas and his support for President Trump.

Details of the riot and student-led violence can be read here and watched here.

Most of the violence that occurred are not unique, unfortunately. Some students who fundamentally believe that certain ideas should no longer be shared, even in a university setting, will do whatever it takes to make sure their ideas go unchallenged and remain the status quo. It is best, perhaps, that we no longer pretend it is any different, because they are no longer pretending either. Their new motto clearly states as such: By any means necessary.

There are two things that are worth noting about the riot at UC Berkeley.

Firstly, BAMN. The new movement whose goal is to win by any means necessary

In this article, a student member of BAMN states: “We are willing to resist by any means necessary.” Further, protestor Lana Wachowski is quoted in the article defending the use of extreme tactics to deny Yiannopolous a platform. “The moral imperative is to win,” Wachowski says, “There’s something to be said for fighting according to a code, but if you lose, people are going to die.”

Lastly, Wachowski says: “It’s absolutely acceptable to use violence. They are 100% certain to use it against us.”

I didn’t even know winning could be a moral imperative. Saving lives, yes. Changing the culture, yes. Stopping violence or bullying against others, yes. Giving someone shelter, yes. I don’t know about you guys, but I have never heard someone say this so overtly. Violence to win. Violence by any means necessary. Winning by any means necessary.

It is a bit unnerving to think you live in a world where people want to become experts in violence. As Gregg Cunningham, a leading anti-abortion activist in the United States once said, “there is blood shed to heal, and there is blood shed to kill.” These are the same young people who advocate for the killing of innocent children; it should not surprise us that they have now taken their intrinsically violent worldview applied them to born people. I wish we could rejoice that at least they are being consistent.

Another interesting point worthy of note is Wachowski’s comment that if she doesn’t use violence, certainly violence will be used against her.

I would challenge her and ask: where is the proof of this?

This past week in the United States, two stunningly massive marches were held: The Women’s March on Washington and the 2017 March for Life in Washington. A quick YouTube search gives evidence to many, many acts of violence by left-wing activists at the Women’s March, including this one of someone setting a girl’s hair on fire. Not to mention Madonna’s speech in which she talked about bombing the White House…

In stark contrast, at the March for Life there were no such instances of violence or encouragement of violent behavior. Certainly, there have been some activists in the past who have resorted to violence in order to stop abortions from happening. These acts of violence are wrong, condemned by pro-life leaders, and have not happened in a very long time. So again, I would ask Lana: where is her proof?

Secondly, the irony of BAMN protests..
The students at Berkeley shut down, rioted against, and harmed individuals in order to shut down a conversation that they didn’t want to hear. All of these things occured outside Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union building. Can you say ironic?

This riot was the antithesis of the kind of protesting that MLK stood for. BAMN continuously refers to MLK JR in their promotional material, as though they are following in his footsteps. This is indicative of a generation that does not know their history. It is a fact that MLK JR stood for the exact opposite of what this radical group stands for.Why? Because he understood that using violence in order to be heard or to create change ultimately only produces more violence and isolation in a culture that desperately needs healing, unity and love.

Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love… Our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate the white man, but to win his friendship and understanding.
– Martin Luther King Jr. [source link]

Win his friendship and understanding. Powerful. THAT is real winning. THAT is real activism.

Unfortunately, as BAMN has proved they are not interested in winning friendships or understanding. They are only interested in one thing: winning power. This attitude will only lead to more violence and solidifies to youth around the world that violence paves the way to change. Indeed it does change something, but nothing good. Nothing beautiful. Nothing that adds value to one’s life. We need to be the kind of activists that seek to heal the culture, not tear it apart. We have to always remember that PEOPLE are affected, PEOPLE are torn apart, PEOPLE die, PEOPLE are shamed, PEOPLE are destroyed.

Student activists on campuses have a responsibility to be leaders in good revolution. You are setting an example for your peers, for high school students who follow you, and those who are looking to you to set standards and goals for future generations to follow you. If you do not show respect for people you disagree with, you have little hope of changing anything, except to harden the person you are talking to against your belief system. Student activists have a responsibility to engage constructively with differing ideologies and constructs. You are actively changing the world for better or for worse every time you engage with ideas different than your own. OWN that.

Why pro-lifers should not mourn the Morgentaler decision

Guest post by John Carpay

When the public misunderstands a court ruling, the consequences can be huge. For good or for evil. The 1772 ruling in Somerset v. Stewart, to free one Black slave in England, was misinterpreted by the public as freeing all 15,000 slaves in England, even though the ruling was narrow and technical.

Somerset, a Black slave, was brought from Virginia to England in 1769, by his master, Charles Stewart. Two years later he escaped. He was then captured and put on a ship to be transported to Jamaica, there to be sold. Somerset’s Christian godparents applied to the court for Somerset’s release.

The case attracted a great deal of attention in the press. Somerset’s lawyers argued that while colonial laws might permit slavery, neither the common law of England nor any law of Parliament recognized the existence of slavery, and slavery was therefore unlawful. Stewart’s lawyers argued that property was paramount, and that it would be dangerous to free all Blacks in England. Members of the public donated monies to support the lawyers for both sides of the argument.

Guided in part by the maxim fiat justitia, ruat coelum (“Let justice be done though the heavens fall”), Lord Mansfield ruled that since England’s written laws did not clearly permit or establish slavery, Stewart had no legal right to force Somerset to go to Jamaica: “… no master ever was allowed here to take a slave by force to be sold abroad because he had deserted from his service, or for any other reason whatever.”

Lord Mansfield’s narrow and technical ruling merely stated that British slave owners in England could not force their slaves to be forcibly taken to the colonies. But this judgment was actually silent about the status of slaves in England.

Lord Mansfield’s judgment had a profound effect on slaves. Many of them misunderstood the ruling to mean that slaves were emancipated in Britain. Despite Lord Mansfield’s best efforts, the case was reported in the press, and internationally, as ending slavery in England.

After the ruling, numerous newspaper advertisements of the time show that Black slaves continued to be bought and sold in England. Nevertheless, this court ruling proved to be a boon for the anti-slavery movement. The perception of there being an “anti-slavery” court ruling, while inaccurate, helped turn public opinion against slavery. In 1807 Parliament abolished the slave trade, and by 1838 slavery in British colonies was also abolished.

In 21st Century Canada, there is much public confusion about the 1988 Supreme Court of Canada ruling in R. v. Morgentaler, rendered 29 years ago this January 28. In Morgentaler, five of seven Justices struck down section 251 of the Criminal Code, which allowed abortions only if approved by a Therapeutic Abortion Committee.

Justices Dickson and Lamer held that section 251 was arbitrary and unfair, and did not provide a clear exemption from the criminal law. Nowhere do they state that there is a constitutional right to abortion.

Justices Beetz and Estey recognized society’s interest in the protection of the unborn child, ruling that Parliament is justified in requiring a reliable, independent and medically sound opinion as to the “life or health” of the pregnant woman in order to protect the state interest in a foetus.

Justice Wilson held that protecting an unborn child is a “perfectly valid legislative objective,” especially during the latter stages of pregnancy, but not in the early stages of pregnancy.

Justices McIntyre and La Forest ruled that “no right of abortion can be found in Canadian law, custom or tradition” or in “the language, structure or history of the constitutional text …or in the history, traditions or underlying philosophies of our society.” These two Justices also recognized the public interest in the protection of the unborn, and stated that courts must refrain from imposing or creating rights with no identifiable base in the Charter.

In short, the Supreme Court in Morgentaler recognized expressly that Parliament has the right to pass legislation to protect the unborn, with five of seven Justices striking down Section 251 as the wrong way to achieve that legitimate goal. This muddled and incoherent decision was not a victory for pro-lifers. However, with the Court inviting Parliament to draft different legislation, this ruling is certainly no victory for pro-choicers.

Nevertheless, abortion supporters have sometimes characterized the Morgentaler ruling as a Canadian version of Roe v. Wade, by which the U.S. Supreme Court did, in fact, create a constitutional right to abortion. For example, some student unions have claimed that pro-life speech should be banned at universities “because abortion is a constitutional right.” Leaving aside the fact that a free society allows its citizens to criticize and disagree with the constitution, this claim completely mischaracterizes the Morgentaler decision.

The false notion that R. v. Morgentaler established a constitutional right to abortion can have a very powerful and negative impact in shaping public policy. If the Canadian public perceives the Morgentaler ruling as a pro-choice victory, this will influence public opinion in favour of abortion being legal.

Those who want to see Parliament pass a law to protect the unborn should not mourn the Morgentaler decision as a victory for their pro-choice opponents. Doing so helps the pro-choice side.

Instead, pro-lifers should point out that in Morgentaler, the Supreme Court invited Parliament to pass legislation to protect the unborn.

———————————————————————————————–

Calgary lawyer John Carpay practices constitutional law.

Effective Time Management = Effective Activism. #Truth

Effective Time Management = Effective Activism. #Truth

Everything that we do as anti-abortion activists has to be ordered towards one thing: saving babies.
However, if there is one thing I’ve learned as a former campus prezzy it’s that if you don’t manage time your time well you won’t be able to affect your campus, you won’t be able to save babies and you definitely won’t be able to function as an activist human being…

You have a lot going on. You have papers to write, classes to attend, eating to do, Facebook to browse, SnapChat to peak at. You’re busy, we get it. So act like it. Tell your time where its supposed to go. It is well within your control to do so.

You won’t function well as a human being (you are still human…)

#TruthTalk, you guys. When I was a campus pro-life prezzy, I was pretty terrible at managing my time. Often, on the days that we did activism I was so busy that I wouldn’t eat for most of the day. I would end up eating breakfast at like… 4 pm. Shockingly, not eating for a whole day is bad for you.

Our activism would often be planned somewhat last minute (I mean sometimes you have to do that when.. certain kinds of meetings or events take place that #ShallNotBeNamed that you suddenly found out about and must gather the troops to be at…) . Sometimes, we would just decide the night before or the week before what we were doing.

Looking back, I see how this greatly limited the growth of our team and how this exemplified poor leadership on my part. I was not respectful of my team’s time and as a result we had few members who were invested in our club , and it actually exponentially increased my workload causing me to be more stressed more often.

This led me to burn out for a period of time in my 3rd year. I needed to take off a whole semester from regular campus activism because, to be brutally honest, I was too disorganized to even manage my time!

I thought I didn’t need to manage my time in order to have effective activism. I thought that the activism was effective enough and if someone was bought in enough they would show up no matter what.

The reality is that a very small percentage of people operate like that. If you do as a campus leader, it’s because you are bought in – and I get it. . For most people, activism is something they have to learn how to do.  And in order to learn how to do it, they need to be given strong, organized and respectful opportunities to do it.

If you burn out, you won’t be able to do activism very well for very long. It’s that simple.

If you choose the ‘convenience’ of being able to do activism whenever you would like at the expense of a strong team, you are creating barriers between your campus and hearing the pro-life message effectively, and regularly… And that is on you. You won’t be able to affect your campus as well as you would like…

If you don’t choose to manage your time, your activism will be sporadic. Sporadic activism usually means disorganized activism, miscommunication, and more stress. And let’s be honest, doing activism at the last minute on a regular basis usually results in just doing activism less often.

You won’t save as many lives…

Why? Because you just won’t be around as much.

Let’s break it down:

if you aren’t there sharing the pro-life perspective, your peers will not be challenged.
if you aren’t there, making yourself available, your peers will not be challenged.
if you aren’t there, with a sharp mind and open heart, your peers will not be challenged.
And they will be more likely to choose abortion. #TruthBomb

Recently, at Simon Fraser University (Burnaby), the pro-life students were doing the QA (Question Abortion) Project. They talked to a student for a while about abortion. Before he left he said, “ Thanks for being here. I’m on my way actually talk to my friend and her boyfriend about their new pregnancy. Now I know what I’m going to say.”

Wow. powerful.

Here are some tools to help you become a better, more timely and more effective activist and human being:

TeamViewer for online presentations: https://www.teamviewer.com/en/use-cases/meetings-and-collaboration/

Boomerang #Trickster #ThereAreTwo
For capturing activism into a GIF: http://simplymeasured.com/blog/why-boomerang-what-this-app-really-means-for-social-marketers/#sm.00000lqc1p6z5dxluj92azwx94vr8
For managing club emails: http://www.boomerangapp.com/

Doodle:
For scheduling activism efficiently: http://doodle.com/

Google Calendar:
For making sure you all know when they activism or meeting is happening: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/google-in-the-enterprise/six-tips-to-manage-your-google-calendar-more-efficiently/

Google Hangouts
To communicate with your team wherever they are! http://www.wikihow.com/Use-Google%2B-Hangouts
(SIDENOTE: if you have a few minutes, also type “How to use google hangouts” into Youtube for some excellent entertainment)

Google Forms
To create important surveys for activism (but also pizza preferences) https://www.google.ca/forms/about/

Ultimately even using these tools requires you to make the commitment to manage your time better for your sake, the team’s sake and of course, on behalf of the babies.

Censorship Remains Unchecked at Laurier

A Response to the Letter from the LSU President

By Josh MacMillan, NCLN Campus Coordinator

On October 20, 10,000 pink and blue flags were set up by the pro-life club at Laurier campus, representing the 100,000 abortions that happen every year in Canada. The display was torn down by protestors. (Photo: R. Harlaar)

Good luck holding an unpopular opinion at Wilfred Laurier University (WLU), because according to the Laurier Student Union (LSU), you will get no protection.

LSU President Tyler Van Herzele, an elected representative of the student body who “works with key university and community personnel to advocate on behalf of all undergraduate students,” recently set a precedent that completely sidelines them.

In an open letter dated December 7, 2016, Van Herzele made a statement about an event held by the pro-life club, Laurier Lifelink in October. The club had hosted the WeNeedaLaw.ca flag display, comprised of 10,000 small pink and blue flags, each representing 10 abortions that happen each year in Canada. The event is meant to inform students about the facts about abortion in Canada and start a discussion on it. Half-way through the day, the display was destroyed by protestors.

The event was approved by the LSU. The space was properly booked. Everything was in order according to the LSU and LifeLink President Stephanie Breukelman. Yet, in light of the complaints and destructive action on the part of some members of the WLU Community, LSU automatically places the blame on the pro-life club and does not give them a fair hearing. The LSU plainly refuses to acknowledge that LifeLink has had their rights to free speech trampled upon, and was treated unjustly, regardless of the content of the display.

In the letter, Van Herzele states that “discussion of controversial issues should [not] be avoided” on the Laurier campus, and that the LSU “remain[s] dedicated to supporting the fundamental freedoms all Canadians share, including the ability to openly express opinions and beliefs.” Yet, in the same breath, he blames LifeLink for creating an “adversarial tone” which “evoked a confrontation which eliminated the possibility of respectful dialogue and created an unsafe environment for all students.”

This “adversarial tone” was simply a visualization of facts and the promotion of healthy discussion between students about these facts. It was, in fact, the protesting students who tore down the display and who “eliminated the possibility of respectful dialogue” and “created an unsafe environment.” Where is this so-called “dedication” to free speech? Obviously at LSU, there is none for pro-life students.

Van Herzele has made it ominously clear that this kind of treatment is not over. “We are working… to ensure this does not happen again…[by] revising several clubs policies to ensure future events, particularly those engaging in controversial or polarizing topics, respect the multitude of personal experiences and perspectives on campus.” What does this mean? By uttering not a word to defend the pro-life students from the unjust actions of mobs (simply because they are challenging students to think about “controversial issues”), it makes it very clear that Van Herzele does not have the best interests of all students in mind, but instead believes that mob rule silencing minority and unpopular opinions is justified and should be defended.

It is clear from this letter that LSU and its President are opposed to free speech and are not taking any action to defend free speech. Laurier LifeLink was told in a meeting the “concerns expressed by the Laurier community members were discussed and clear expectations were set for any future events.” Yet, the protestors who tore down the display were not told that what they did was unacceptable, nor were any expectations set for conduct at WLU that does not censor the free expression of others. Until a statement is issued to the contrary, it is clear that the LSU does not encourage “intellectual and social inquiry,” nor is dedicated to “valuing the existence of a variety of viewpoints and opinions.”

We encourage you to demand that the LSU Board and its President, Van Herzele, make clear to the WLU community that mob censorship is not acceptable on a University Campus and that they uphold the right of Laurier LifeLink to host events just like any other clubs, without fear of censorship for expressing what may be an unpopular belief.  You can contact the LSU by filling out the Customer Service and Satisfaction Policy Feedback Form, located to the right of the letter linked here, or by contacting Van Herzele directly at:

Tyler Van Herzele
supresident@wlu.ca
519.884.0710 x 3409

~30~

Thank You Kathleen!

“Working with you has made every day – and even late nights – a blast.” 

2016-11-18-thank-you-kathleen

After over 4 years of serving on staff with NCLN, we would like to send a heart-felt thank you to Kathleen LeBlanc as she moves on to do full time work in youth ministry.

We are incredibly appreciative of all that Kathleen has given NCLN; she has shared her talents and passion for serving students and saving babies, and has greatly impacted us with her gifts in digital media. She has also been integral in the growth and development of NCLN as an organization.

Although it’s hard for us to say goodbye, we’re grateful for her continued support of our work, and we wish her all the best with her new ministry!