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National Campus Life Network > Blog > Press Releases

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.

Club members of UFV Life Link wearing their DefendGirls t-shirts.
Club members of UFV Life Link wearing their DefendGirls t-shirts.

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.

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For media requests, please contact:

Ashley Bulthuis, President, UFV Life Link, ufvlifelink@gmail.com, 778-549-8233
Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator for the National Campus Life Network, westerncanada@ncln.ca, 604 365 3484

To view the censored resources and the letter from the JCCF, please visit: http://ufvlifelink.ncln.ca/2013/04/08/censorship/

For statements from the JCCF and WeNeedALaw, please visit their respective websites: www.jccf.ca and www.weneedalaw.ca

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Press Release: Canadian Students Dismayed at M408 Being Deemed Non-Votable

Press Release

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.”

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For further comment, please contact:

Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director, National Campus Life Network, director@ncln.ca, 416 388 0461.

Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator, National Campus Life Network, westerncanada@ncln.ca, 604 365 3484.

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Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms Asks University of Waterloo to Safeguard Free Speech on Campus

Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms

 

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.

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Press Release: Protesters Prevent MP from Speaking at University of Waterloo

Press Release

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.

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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, uwstudentsforlife@gmail.com.

Clarissa Luluquisin, Central Campus Coordinator of NCLN, central@ncln.ca, 416 970 3059.

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Press Release: Canadian Students Raise Awareness on Sex-Selection

Press Release

 CANADIAN UNIVERSITY STUDENTS RAISE AWARENESS ON SEX-SELECTION

 TORONTO, ON (March 12 2013) – This semester, university students across Canada are raising awareness about sex-selection through the DefendGirls campaign, brought to campuses through National Campus Life Network (NCLN). Through resources, activities and events, including the screening of the award winning documentary ‘It’s a Girl’, thousands of students are being reached with the message that “’It’s a girl’ should not be a death sentence”.  This week, events in BC will also feature MP Mark Warawa speaking about Motion 408 following screenings of the documentary.

 “The goal is to raise awareness on campus as well as to build support for the condemnation of this practice by the Canadian parliament,” states Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director of NCLN, which has coordinated the efforts of these students and produced the resources being distributed. 

 Although sex-selective abortion has garnered attention because of the severe sex ratio imbalances in China and India, recent evidence has shown that the practice is occurring in Canada as well.  A 2012 CBC investigation found that many ultrasound clinics will disclose preborn children’s sex early on, knowing that sex-selective abortion may be procured as a result.[1]  Research has also demonstrated that there are sex ratio discrepancies in certain Canadian communities.[2]

 “This is an issue that resonates with the youth,” comments Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator of NCLN.  “Gender equality is an important value to Canadians and sex-selection is completely opposed to that value. We are pleased to see students taking up this campaign with so much enthusiasm.”

 Along with 17 screenings of the ‘It’s a Girl’ documentary, thousands of DefendGirls info cards and drop cards have been distributed and thousands more will be in the weeks to come.  Laptop stickers and t-shirts have been used to increase awareness on campus; the message has also reached thousands more via social media campaigns on Facebook

 “Killing girls because of their gender really is the ultimate war on women,” continues Richmond.  “By bringing this campaign and the documentary to campus we hope to move students to defend girls at all stages of life. ‘It’s a girl’ should not be a death sentence.”

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More information on these resources, produced by National Campus Life Network, can be found at: www.ncln.ca/resources/defendgirls

 For a listing of ‘It’s a Girl’ screenings, please visit: www.ncln.ca/blog/defendgirlsoncampus

 For further comment please contact:

 Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director of the National Campus Life Network, director@ncln.ca, 416 388 0461.

 Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator of the National Campus Life Network,westerncanada@ncln.ca, 604 365 3484.

 


 1CBC, “Fetal gender testing offered at private clinics,” June 12 2012, <www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2012/06/12/ultrasound-gender-testing.html>.

 2 Dr. Rajendra Kale, “ ‘It’s a girl!’ – could be a death sentence.”Canadian Medical Association Journal March 6, 2012 vol. 184 no. 4. First published January 16, 2012, <www.cmaj.ca/content/184/4/387.full?sid=9e06cf2c-765f-46b6-a23d-ce829ad37c79>.

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Press Release: Pro-Life Club Banned at Trent University in Peterborough

Press Release

PRO-LIFE CLUB BANNED AT TRENT UNIVERSITY IN PETERBOROUGH

PETERBOROUGH, ON (February 7, 2013) – Students applying to form a pro-life club at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario were rejected by the Trent Central Student Association (TCSA) last week on grounds that such a club would be ‘exclusive’. Trent Lifeline has secured legal counsel and is demanding that the decision be reversed and club status granted.

“The purpose of Trent Lifeline is to engage with the student body regardless of what someone’s position is on abortion,” said Heather Anne Robertson, President of Trent Lifeline. “Anyone can bring their ideas and opinions to the discussion. To exclude us in the name of being inclusive is absurd.”

In response to its application, Trent Lifeline received an email from the TCSA Club & Group Coordinator informing them that “campaigning for pro life or pro choice is not allowed on campus as well since there is [sic] so many opinions to this it can lead to a very exclusive group, while all clubs at Trent University must be inclusive.” After requesting more information on the policies upon which this decision was based, Lifeline was informed that a policy could not be sent “as there is one working under way.”

“The student association is supposed to serve its members and not selectively exclude one group of them who take a position on a controversial human rights issue,” stated Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director of the National Campus Life Network, an organization that exists to support pro-life students in Canada. “The fact that the TCSA may be re-writing its policies to justify its discrimination against this club is also disconcerting.”

A letter from Trent Lifeline’s legal counsel, John Carpay, President of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, was sent to the President of TCSA on February 6th. This letter calls for a reversal of the decision to reject Lifeline’s application, and explains why and how the student union’s conduct is illegal.

“We hope that the student union will reverse its decision, thereby removing the need for court action. However, if necessary, we will seek a Court Order to uphold the free speech rights and freedom of association rights of these students,” stated Carpay.

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For media requests, please contact:

John Carpay, President, Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, 403-619-8014 or jcarpay@jccf.ca

Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director of the National Campus Life Network, director@ncln.ca, 416 388 0461.

Heather Anne Robertson, President of Trent Lifeline, lifelinetrent@gmail.com, http://trentlifeline.ncln.ca

 

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Kwantlen Student Association Rescinds Earlier Decision and Grants Pro-Life Club Status

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Kwantlen Student Association Rescinds Earlier Decision and Grants Pro-Life Club Status

LANGLEY, B.C. (December 6 2012) – In the midst of preparing to file a lawsuit against their student association for discrimination, the pro-life student group at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in B.C. has been granted full club status.

The Runner, the Kwantlen student newspaper, reported that the Kwantlen Student Association (KSA) reversed its earlier decision during a two-hour in-camera session on December 5th, and has now granted Protectores Vitae (Protectors of Life) formal status as a campus club. The specific content of any motions from the meeting was not made available, nor was the record of how the individual board members voted. Oliver Capko, the president of Protectores Vitae, was contacted later that evening by Christopher Girodat, the Chairperson of the KSA Executive Committee, who informed him of the decision.

“I am relieved that the issue has been resolved,” said Oliver. “After working towards this all semester, it is great to finally be accepted and treated like other clubs on campus.”

This decision by the Kwantlen Student Association was a reversal of its November 9th decision, which rejected the group’s application on the grounds that it conflicted with the student union’s pro-choice policy on abortion. Protectores Vitae secured legal representation from the Justice Centre, and demanded that the student association rescind their decision and, when the KSA did not, Protectores Vitae prepared to file a lawsuit.

“The Justice Centre has invested a lot of time in legal research and preparing the court documents, but we are happy that it will not be necessary to commence a court action against this discrimination,” stated Calgary lawyer John Carpay, President of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.

“This has not been the first time such discrimination against pro-life groups has happened on university campuses,” commented Anastasia Pearse on behalf of the National Campus Life Network. “We hope that other student associations will learn from Kwantlen’s example so that this won’t happen again.”

The students of Protectores Vitae, who are currently in the midst of exam season, plan to begin club activities on campus in the New Year.

“Now that we no longer have to fight against discrimination, we can actually focus on why we wanted to start this club in the first place,” said Oliver. “It’s important that bioethical issues, like abortion, are raised on campus and we look forward to being part of that conversation here at Kwantlen.”

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For media requests, please contact:

John Carpay, President, Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, 403-619-8014 or jcarpay@jccf.ca

Anastasia Pearse, National Campus Life Network, westerncanada@ncln.ca, 604 365 3484

Oliver Capko, President Protectores Vitae, kwantlenprotectoresvitae@hotmail.com, http://kwantlenprotectoresvitae.ncln.ca/

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Pro-Life Students to Take Kwantlen Student Association to Court for Discrimination

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Pro-Life Students to Take Kwantlen Student Association to Court for Discrimination

LANGLEY, B.C. (December 3 2012) – Protectores Vitae, the pro-life group at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, has announced that it will be taking the Kwantlen Student Association (KSA) to court after the KSA failed to rescind the decision that denied the group the right to exist on campus.

Court documents are expected to be completed and filed the week of December 10-14. These documents will be made available on the club’s website after having been filed at court.

“After discussion amongst Protectores Vitae members, we have decided to move forward with the lawsuit,” said Oliver Capko, president of the pro-life student group. “It is unfortunate that we have to sue our own student representatives in order to secure equal and fair treatment on campus.”

Legal representation for the Kwantlen Student Association did bring forward an offer to grant Protectores Vitae status as a “recognized group” but not campus club status on par with 33 other clubs. Recognized group status is granted to religious and political party groups, or those that exist to support a specific external organization. Clubs, on the other hand, can be academic, athletic, social, cultural “or other purpose that seeks to enrich the extracurricular lives of students through their time at Kwantlen University,” according to the KSA Clubs Package.

“We are an autonomous group, without affiliation to any other external organization,” stated Oliver Capko. “We are not religious, nor are we political. Our activities would lead to consideration of bio-ethical issues at Kwantlen, which would surely enrich the extracurricular experience of students. That is why we applied for club status and not for recognized group status.”

“Student unions need to recognize and fund all student groups, or none of them. The student union politicians have no legal authority to fund only groups that they like and agree with, while denying funding to groups they disagree with,” stated Oliver Capko’s lawyer, John Carpay.

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For media requests, please contact:
John Carpay, President, Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, 403-619-8014 or jcarpay@jccf.ca

Oliver Capko, President Protectores Vitae, kwantlenprotectoresvitae@hotmail.com, http://kwantlenprotectoresvitae.ncln.ca/

http://kwantlenprotectoresvitae.ncln.ca/

Image taken from the National Post article: 

http://www.ncln.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/oliver-capko-1.jpg

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