Press Release: Student Trespass Charges Withdrawn in Carleton University Free Expression Case

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Student Trespass Charges Withdrawn in Carleton University Free Expression Case

OTTAWA, ON. November 1, 2011- Trespassing charges that were filed against members of Carleton Lifeline, the pro-life student club at Carleton University, were withdrawn by the Crown yesterday.

On October 4, 2010, members of Carleton Lifeline, a pro-life club at Carleton University, were arrested for attempting to peacefully display the Genocide Awareness Project, an exhibit which compares abortion to other forms of genocide. The University deemed the Genocide Awareness Project to be “offensive” and directed the Ottawa Police Service to arrest and charge four Carleton University tuition-paying students and a Queen’s University student with trespassing. The charges were scheduled to proceed to trial today and tomorrow (November 2nd, 2011).

The Crown stated that the basis for withdrawing the trespass charges is that the issues dealing with the relationship between a university and its students was already being dealt with in Lobo et al. v. Carleton University et al., the civil action brought by two Carleton Lifeline members, Ruth (Lobo) Shaw and John McLeod, against Carleton University and members of its administration.

In July, the Ontario Superior Court heard a motion brought by Carleton University which sought to strike Carleton Lifeline’s Statement of Claim, the document initiating the lawsuit. Had the university been successful, this would have ended the suit. In a split decision, Justice Toscano Roccamo ordered that the action could continue but ordered Carleton Lifeline to make several amendments to its Statement of Claim.

In a subsequent decision regarding costs of the motion to strike, Justice Toscano Roccamo ordered the students to pay Carleton University’s legal costs in the amount of $18,400.87 plus applicable taxes. Carleton University had asked that the students pay $21, 467.68 in legal fees.

“We are pleased that the Crown has decided to withdraw these unjust charges” said Ruth (Lobo) Shaw, former president of Carleton Lifeline. “We have always maintained that we had the right to exhibit the Genocide Awareness Project on campus and that our arrest was unlawful. The withdrawal of these unjust charges is confirmation of that fact.”

Despite the withdrawal of the charges, the civil action against Carleton University is ongoing. “Although we no longer need to defend ourselves against the trespassing charges, a lot of work still needs to be done to move our lawsuit against Carleton University along and to clarify the legal rights of students to campus free speech and expression,” said John McLeod, current president of Carleton Lifeline.

To support Carleton Lifeline’s Defense Fund, please visit www.carletonlifeline.wordpress.com.

For further information, please visit www.carletonlifeline.wordpress.com or contact Carleton Lifeline’s Legal Counsel, Albertos Polizogopoulos at (613) 241-2701.

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Press Release: Carleton Lifeline Sues Carleton University

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: PRO-LIFE CLUB SUES CARLETON UNIVERSITY

Carleton Lifeline Seeks Restitution

Carleton Lifeline, the pro-life club at Carleton University, has sued the University and its administration for the discriminatory treatment they have been subjected to during the 2010-2011 academic school year.

“We believe that the behaviour of the University is actionable. We have suffered discrimination and intimidation, we have been arrested and threatened and we are seeking restitution”, said Ruth Lobo, President of Carleton Lifeline. “The University’s discriminatory actions are shocking, to say the least. We want to ensure, through law, that this behaviour is not repeated at Carleton University ever again.”

Lifeline is asking the Court to declare that Carleton University and its administration have breached their own internal policies regarding freedom of expression, academic freedom and discrimination. As such, Lifeline is also requesting that the University is ordered to comply with these internal policies.

On October 4, 2010, Carleton University had members of Lifeline handcuffed, arrested, charged and fined with trespassing for attempting to display an exhibit that the University administration deemed disturbing and offensive due to the graphic images  it used. In November 2010, Carleton University’s administration provided Lifeline with an ultimatum  regarding the expression of their opinions and threatened further arrests.

“Carleton University has allowed other exhibits using graphic images on campus” commented Albertos Polizogopoulos, Carleton Lifeline’s lawyer. “Clearly the University opposes Lifeline’s message and not its medium. This is censorship and viewpoint discrimination and violates Carleton University’s internal policies.”

To view a copy of the Statement of Claim, please visit www.carletonlifeline.wordpress.com.

For more information, please call Carleton Lifeline at 613-600-4791 or Lifeline’s lawyer Albertos Polizogopoulos at 613 -241-2701 Ext: 243

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Youth Protecting Youth: Compassion and Choices

This post was written for Youth Protecting Youth by ypyinfoofficer. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

Compassion and Choices is an American organization dedicated to improving care and expanding choice at the end of life.

Dying with Dignity is a similar organization based in Canada, and is dedicated to improving the quality of dying and to expanding end of life choices in Canada. They declare themselves to be “Canadians’ voice for choice at the end of life.”

Better care, increased choices, and dying a dignified death – these are things we all want in our old age. But words can be misleading. Both of these organizations maintain that end of life choices must include physician assisted suicide (PAS), an option they define as a “compassionate choice”.

But what does true compassion entail? Is PAS really a compassionate choice that upholds a person’s dignity?

In April 2010, 74% of the Canadian Parliament voted against legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide. Soon after the vote, the Parliamentary Committee on Palliative and Compassionate Care (PCPCC) was created, a committee that is “dedicated to promoting awareness of, fostering substantive research and constructive dialogue on palliative and compassionate care in Canada.”

This past Tuesday, November 9th, the committee held a hearing in Victoria which featured multiple presenters speaking on elder abuse and the need to change our current medical framework to provide better care for the elderly. All the speakers had a passion for building a better health care system to support our aging population.

One of the most pressing questions to be answered was: should this system include euthanasia or physician assisted suicide (PAS)? Many speakers saw a potential need for PAS, but “not yet”: we must first build a better palliative care system, and then assess the need for PAS down the road. We must note the difference between euthanasia and PAS. Euthanasia is defined as when one person, usually a medical professional, directly and intentionally ends the life of individual. Assisted suicide is defined as the aiding, abating, or encouraging by an individual to another individual such that the victim is able to end their own life.

According to Wanda Morris, a spokesperson for Dying with Dignity, compassionate care must include PAS, and ensuring this choice is available is the fundamental principle in providing a person with a dignified death.  Let us look to see what this compassionate choice really involves before we succumb to this deceptive use of “choice” and “compassion”.

Organizations that advocate for legalizing PAS state that end of life decisions are a matter of autonomy, and “the only way that every person can be assured of [their] dignity is through legally protected choice.” But our autonomy and dignity is not solely dependent on our ability to make choices. If this were the case, then any request to die would have to be respected, including ones from people who are close to death, and ones based on momentary feelings or clinical depression. Therefore those who are not terminally ill would have to be allowed to choose to die. What then would stop a teenager from making the legally protected choice to have assistance in ending their life when they are depressed after a bad break up? Would we call it compassion that allowed that individual to be killed and not counselled? 

If such actions are justified merely because one must be allowed to exercise their autonomy in making a choice, who then will have the authority to draw the line and say that some choices are wrong? Under the illusion of “choice” we would be creating a society that legally allows individuals to harm themselves or other human beings.

And does the power to make these choices reside solely with the patient, or will outside influences affect the decision made? Whether intentionally or subconsciously, pressure may be placed on those who are ill, disabled, or elderly, influencing their choice on whether or not to further burden their family or health care system. Studies reveal that where euthanasia and PAS are legal there have been abuses, and people have not been cared for appropriately.

A recent study [i]regarding euthanasia practice in Belgium found that 66 of 208 euthanasia deaths were performed without explicit request or consent. Is this compassionate? None of these people had a choice in their premature death.

In Oregon in 2007, 49 people[ii] were reported to have died by assisted suicide. None of these people were offered a psychological or psychiatric assessment. Furthermore, a study[iii] published in October 2008 showed that 26% of people requesting assisted suicide were depressed or experiencing feelings of hopelessness. Is society showing these people compassion by allowing them complete access to death, or would it be more compassionate to give them life-affirming options that reveal their dignity is not dependant solely on their choices?

One of the principal precepts of medical ethics is, first, do no harm.” The majority of society adheres to this principle, and agrees that intentionally killing is wrong. But when the killing is disguised with terms such as “choice”, “dignity”, and even “compassion,” people lose sight of the tragic reality of the deed being done.  True autonomy is an essential component of human dignity, but it does not include the freedom to do harm.

Dignity can only be affirmed, realized, and answered through true compassion. This compassion recognizes and instils the beauty and inherent value of life in those who have forgotten it, or who have been otherwise convinced that their lives no longer possess it. True compassion must include better palliative care for the dying; this is something all the speakers wanted, as do Canadians.

In a recent Environics group survey[iv] , 71% of the respondents stated that the government needs to place a greater priority on improving palliative care rather than legalizing euthanasia. In addition the study found that support of legalized euthanasia is decreasing.  63% of the respondents were afraid that the elderly would feel pressured into being euthanized in order to avoid health care costs, and 78% were afraid that individuals would be euthanized without giving their consent.  As we can see by the studies in Belgium, these abuses can easily turn into a reality.

Is physician assisted suicide a compassionate choice? I would conclude that it is not. We must not get caught up in the euphemistic terms of “choice” and “compassion”. People who kill themselves or have others do so in order to gain a “dignified” death have in fact lost their sense of dignity and self worth. The dignity of a human being is not dependent on our state of pain or level of ability. Dignity is something that is inherent to all people, and the only way to affirm it is not to kill the sufferer, but rather to support and protect the individual by providing life-giving, compassionate choices, and doing our best to alleviate their suffering. A society that kills the most vulnerable in our society, the frail, suffering, and lonely, effectively confirms these people’s thoughts that their life is no longer worth living; such a society shows itself to be uncompassionate.


[i] Kenneth, C., et al (2010). Physician-assisted deaths under the euthanasia law in Belgium: a population-based survey. Canadian Medical Association Journal. 182 (9).

[ii] Oregon`s Death with Dignity Act- 2007. Death with Dignity Act. http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/pas/docs/year10.pdf

[iii] BMJ-British Medical Journal (2008). Assisted Suicide Laws May Overlook Depressed Patients. ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2008/10/081007192534.htm

[iv] Environics group (2010). Canadians’ Attitudes Towards Euthanasia.  http://www.lifecanada.org/html/resources/polling/2010_Environics_Report-Euthanasia_Eng.pdf


Read the comments at the Youth Protecting Youth website.

Youth Protecting Youth: Carleton University Continues to Bully Students

This post was written for Youth Protecting Youth by ypyinfoofficer. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

Five students, four from Carleton University, and one from Queen’s University, were arrested this week and charged with trespassing after attempting to display a peaceful pro-life protest in a public area on the Carleton university campus. Once again, the truth of the pro-life message is being silenced, this time by the university administration. The press release below comes from the National Campus Life Network, and includes a link to video footage of the arrests. In the past, Youth Protecting Youth has also had issues with freedom of speech and the University of Victoria Students Society, though these issues were not with the university administration and the issues were dealt with this past summer through legal action. Although it is extremely upsetting that students can be arrested for a peaceful protest on a university campus, the greater tragedy is that preborn children are still being killed through the act of abortion everyday, and that this process is still legal in Canada through all 9 months of a pregnancy.

CARLETON UNIVERSITY CONTINUES TO BULLY STUDENTS
Carleton Communicates Misleading Statements to Public

October 6, 2010. Ottawa. One day after Carleton University had Ottawa police arrest 5 students for attempting to peacefully express their views on abortion, a flurry of reports raise questions about whether the students are demanding something not allowed of other students. Footage can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeJkBQn1-r8

University representatives have been reported as stating that no students are allowed to set up displays in the Quad, the area that the pro-life students selected for their signs.

Ruth Lobo, President of Carleton Lifeline, and one of the students arrested, responded: “The university is misleading the public by making it seem as though we are demanding special treatment instead of equal treatment, but that’s not true.”

She explained that their booking request was made several months ago and at no point between then and now did the university communicate to the students, or their lawyer, that the Tory Quad is not bookable space for students.

“Why is the University now claiming the Quad is not bookable space?” asked James Shaw, club Vice President. “We have done extensive research on the policies of the university and see no evidence of their claims that the space isn’t bookable.  In fact, we see the opposite. If, as they’re now claiming, the Quad is not bookable, we should have been told in the summer when we were filling out the application form. That would have been a very simple answer to give, and a much easier one.”

According to the Booking-Space-On-Campus Policy, Tory Quad is listed as bookable space for recognized student groups, which includes Carleton Lifeline. Further, the policy does not place restrictions on display size or content.

According to David Sterritt, who is the Head of Housing and Conference Services at Carleton, the reason for denying the use of the Quad was based on content.  On August 9, 2010, Sterritt wrote the club,

“While we wish to provide your group with an opportunity to express itself freely on this matter, we are also aware that The Genocide Awareness Project uses promotional materials which are disturbing and offensive to some. To this end, we are prepared to offer your group the use of Porter Hall.”

Porter Hall is a closed room on campus that few students pass by and many are even unaware of its location.

“It’s clear by their direct communication to us,” said Lobo, “that this is content-based discrimination.  This censorship should concern everyone, regardless of one’s views on abortion.”

Shaw added, “First the university has us arrested for peacefully exercising our academic freedom and free speech rights.  And now they’re coming up with excuses for their bad behaviour that they never communicated to us.  Shame on Carleton.”

Carleton Lifeline continues to stress that the right to free speech does not exist so much as to maintain mainstream views but more so to protect unpopular opinions like theirs, especially on a university campus.

Lobo said she finds it appalling the university would “mislead the public by making the arrest look like we violated university policy instead of what it really was: that Carleton censors opinions on campus thereby violating their own policy of academic freedom.”

Below is Carleton University’s Human Rights Policies and Procedures- relevant section is Part 1 General Article 4:

http://www2.carleton.ca/equity/ccms/wp-content/ccms-files/human-rights-report-updated-2010.pdf

Below is Carleton University’s Booking-Space-On-Campus Policy- Relevant sections are Section 1 and Appedix A.:

http://www2.carleton.ca/secretariat/ccms/wp-content/ccms-files/Booking-Space-on-Campus-Policy.pdf


Read the comments at the Youth Protecting Youth website.

Youth Protecting Youth: Overheard at UVic

This post was written for Youth Protecting Youth by ypyinfoofficer. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

Who: Students like YOU.

What: Quotes from Club’s Day

Where: Youth Protecting Youth’s information/sign-up booth

Why (you should read this article):

(a) If you are one of the many who claim to be “undecided,” prepare to be reassured. You are not the only one who is unsure of what you think about abortion.

(b) If you are a pro-lifer like me, you may be surprised!

Clubs Day was a major success. YPY gained many new members and plenty of valuable experience dialoguing with students on important life issues. You may, however, be surprised by the responses we received when we posed the questions “When do you think life begins?” and “Have you ever discussed life issues?” to curious students who stopped by our table. The majority of our audience was, as you may have already guessed, undecided on the issue of abortion. Some conversation-opening quotes we wrote down in response to the questions above were “I guess I’m undecided” and “No, I guess I’ve never really talked about it before.”

With Canada’s abortion laws as they currently are (non-existent), it is difficult not to wonder if the reason is that the majority of our country simply does not care about abortion. Upon reading a poster that stated Canada’s current (lack of a) law: “Abortion is legal in Canada through all nine months of pregnancy,” one abortion advocate confidently exclaimed “That’s not true!” and said she would go look it up herself. Other passers-by conveyed similar notions of disbelief.

The real problem, then, is NOT that people do not care. The problem is that people do not know what abortion really is and what it does to a pre-born child. Specific statements we heard confirming this were “I guess I can’t really take a side because I don’t know much about it,” and “I’m not sure really, but I don’t think an egg is a person.”

In response to the last one, we agree with you. A haploid egg is not a person. However, a newly formed zygote, genetically complete, unique, living and growing, is. Life begins at conception. This scientifically accepted fact is seldom socially accepted.

Comments such as the one above spurred discussions that, on some occasions led from “I guess I’ve never thought about it” to “I want to learn more” to “That makes sense” (actual quotes from a lengthy conversation I had with one young man who shall remain unnamed).

So although we may come across those who, upon hearing our message, mumble “Oh, you’re pro-life?!” there are also many students out there who are thirsting for the truth, but who are afraid to go out of their way to receive it.

I want to end on a happy note. I encountered one beautiful girl named Elisa (permission given to mention) who told me how she had become pregnant in her first semester at UVic, and decided to keep her baby. She said that her parents supported her in her decision and reassured her saying that “It’s not a problem, it’s a baby.” She told me it was the best decision she ever made.

I think we can all be inspired by Elisa’s story, knowing there are beautifully strong heroines out there like her, who, despite unexpected circumstances, are bravely and shamelessly choosing life for their children.

In closing, I am glad you were born.

Loving Life,

Lauren


Read the comments at the Youth Protecting Youth website.

Youth Protecting Youth: YPY 2010/2011 Executive

This post was written for Youth Protecting Youth by ypyinfoofficer. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

August 4, 2010

The 2010/2011 YPY Executive has been elected, and is looking forward to working together this year to defend the dignity of all human life. Additions have been made to the executive, and the roles and responsibilities are as follows:

                    
 
PRESIDENT               
-direct club,
-chair meetings,
-liaise with UVSS,
-correspond with club members,
-communicate with media and other external relations.
 
VP – ACTIVITIES         
-organize on-campus club activities.
 
VP – APOLOGETICS     
-organize continued apologetics training.

SECRETARY/TREASURER              
-record meeting minutes, 
-assist in financial responsibilities,
-help organize club files.

RECRUITMENT/OUTREACH COORDINATOR
-coordinate outreach visits to the community,
-contact new club members.

INFORMATION OFFICER   
-maintain YPY’s online presence,
 -moderate blog,
-publish relevant YPY and pro-life material and events.
 
 
 
If you wish to get in contact with Youth Protecting Youth, please email us at youthprotectingyouth@gmail.com. If you would like to contact an individual executive member, please email the above address with the title of the executive member in the subject line (ex: ATTN: VP Apologetics).

Read the comments at the Youth Protecting Youth website.

Youth Protecting Youth: Celebrating and Defending Life

This post was written for Youth Protecting Youth by YPY Secretary. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

“We are here to celebrate life.” These words were spoken by Pope John Paul II in one of his visits to Canada, and were repeated by Bishop Monroe from the Diocese of Kamloops at this year’s March for Life. Over 2000 participants walked through the streets of Victoria to the legislative buildings, bearing witness to their love and respect for life from conception until natural death. Our celebration of the beauty of life is tainted by forty years of unlimited access to abortion in Canada, but we are not without hope that we can make a change.

The march united people of all ages, representing a variety of religious beliefs from Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland and other communities. It was encouraging to see so many enthusiastic youth lead the way to the legislative buildings, carrying the pro-life banners, and cheering loudly whenever they received positive comments from bystanders. As Rev. Rob Fitterer from Emmanuel Baptist Church noted in his address to the marchers, the younger generation has noticed the devastating effects of abortion and the lifestyles that lead to it and is embracing an authentic vision of life. Nowhere is this more evident than on university campuses, where Youth Protecting Youth and other pro-life clubs across Canada are bearing witness to the truth despite facing censorship. Minerva Macapagal from Capilano College reminded those gathered that although pro-life advocacy on university and college campuses may make us unpopular, it is essential; we who understand the reality of abortion have a responsibility to tell the truth.

Rachel Daniels told the truth as she described an authentic feminism to march participants: “True feminism bears witness to life. True feminism chooses life.” We must be compassionate towards women who are contemplating abortion or who have had one, and reach out to them so they too can understand their dignity as women.

“Give up, you lost.” As Rev. Rob Fitterer pointed out, these words have been thrown in the faces of many pro-life advocates in the past four decades. Since Canada abolished its laws on abortion, over three million unborn babies have died, and countless women and men have been hurt; this is abortion’s legacy. But pro-life advocates are not going to sit back and watch as the children of our nation are killed.

Drawing a confident comparison to VE day, Jose Ruba of the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform spoke of a new day – a day coming soon – when we will celebrate victory over abortion. Jeff Charleson expressed a beautiful foreshadowing of the joy we will feel when this day comes, as he sang his uncle’s traditional First Nations song for the marchers. Each of us needs to work in our own way to save the unborn, and someday soon we will celebrate VA day.

Anastasia Pearse, Eric Kyfiuk, & Catherine Shenton, of Youth Protecting Youth






Read the comments at the Youth Protecting Youth website.