Where do we go from here?

By Garnet Van Popta

Garnet Van Popta is an alumnus of uOttawa Students For Life and a guest blogger for NCLN.  He is currently studying at Humber College.

I’m sure most of you have heard the discouraging news from Parliament Hill.  Roxanne’s Law, Bill C-510, was defeated last Wednesday after the second reading in the house.  Am I surprised?  Sadly, no.  It seems that politicking is more important than standing up for what is right these days.  But even though I’m not surprised, I am discouraged.

Roxanne’s Law would have been a law that stood up for women in Canada.  It did not alter or restrict access  but abortion but would have ensured that a woman’s choice to keep her baby was protected.  It protected choice.  But of course, this was seen as a “back-door way” to restrict women’s rights.  Two thirds of MPs voted against the bill and among them was our prime minister.

Mr. Harper, with respect, I’m  sick of hearing about how you don’t want to open up a debate about abortion.  The debate is open. I would think that it’s getting hard to ignore.  It’s in the newspapers, on TV, on university campuses across the nation, and on the streets of our cities.  Now please do your job and talk about it.  Since 1988, Canada has had no law on abortion.  The Supreme Court, in R. v. Morgantaler, threw out the abortion law of the time and left it up to Parliament to enact a new one.  Well, it’s been 22 years (pretty much my whole life).  I think maybe it’s about time to address the legal vacuum abortion finds itself in.

If you feel the same way, why don’t you write our prime minister an email (pm@pm.gc.ca)?  Find out how your MP voted and email him or her about it.

To Mr. Bruinooge and the 96 other MPs that voted in favour of this bill, I thank you.  It took courage to take such a stand in an environment in which lies are held up as the truth.  Event though the bill was defeated, you were successful in getting the issue of coerced abortion on the minds of Canadians.  Moreover and most importantly, you stood up for what is right and just.

I hope you, the reader, are also feeling discouraged by the defeat of this bill. Your discouragement means you’re not satisfied when our elected officials sacrifice the truth for a lie.  But don’t simply be discouraged; take that and run with it.  We must continue to work for change in Canada.

I’m convinced that this change must happen at the grassroots level.  We need to talk to people: with coworkers, classmates and friends.  If you want a good conversation starter, why not talk about Roxanne’s Law?  “Did you hear about that bill that got voted down this past week…?  What do you think about abortion anyway?”  I, myself, resolve to do this more.

We must not allow the failings of our government to drive us into despair and inaction. Edmund Burke once said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”  Let that inspire you to press on.


N.B.  The views expressed by guest bloggers do not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.


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Americans stand in solidarity with Carleton Lifeline

Students for Life of America and National Campus Life Network launched a new website today, StandWithCarleton.com, to assist Carleton Lifeline, the pro-life campus club of Carleton University in Ottawa, who are facing discrimination from their school’s administration and student union.

National Campus Life Network has been working with Carleton Lifeline for the past several years, and is pleased to see the support that the students have received from the United States.
Upon launching the website, Kristan Hawkins Executive Director of Students for Life of America said, “I am excited to launch this new site so that we can raise awareness about the situation at Carleton University and to also show our support for Carleton Lifeline’s courageous pro-life work. Pro-life students in America and around the world stand in solidarity with the Carleton pro-life students today.”
Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director of National Campus Life Network, adds, “Canadian pro-life students have faced numerous instances of discrimination and censorship. Given the nature of the situation at Carleton, we are grateful for the support and the awareness that Students for Life of America is bringing to this issue.”
Carleton Lifeline was notified that the Carleton University Student Association (CUSA) would be decertifying the group in less than a week, on November 18th, unless they renounced the pro-life beliefs expressed in their group’s constitution. CUSA is using the school’s “Discrimination on Campus” policy, which upholds “a woman’s right to choose,” to justify discriminating against the pro-life student group. Read more from the students here.
This announcement comes after five students were arrested last month while attempting to put up a pro-life display on their campus.
If Carleton Lifeline loses their official group status, it would be a significant loss and would hinder their activities on campus by denying them the student space, resources and funding that all other clubs have access to.
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The website, StandWithCarleton.com, is co-sponsored by Students for Life of America (US), National Campus Life Network (Canada), Law Students for Life (US), Students for Life of Illinois (US), Rock for Life (US), and LifeNews.com (US).
For more information please contact Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director of National Campus Life Network at 416 388 0461 or at director@ncln.ca. For more information about Carleton Lifeline you can visit their website.
To speak with Kristan Hawkins, please contact Mary Powers at mpowers@studentsforlife.org or phone: 703-351-6280.
National Campus Life Network (NCLN) is the national organization in Canada that works to educate, network and support pro-life campus groups across the country. Visit www.ncln.ca for more information.


Students for Life of America (SFLA) works to provide students, from high school to graduate school, with the resources they need to save lives and abolish abortion on their campuses and throughout the nation with 532 pro-life college groups in 48 states.
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New Club in the Maritimes!

By Sara Hall, Maritime Campus Coordinator


As of Thursday, October 22, Dalhousie Students for Life became an official society at Dalhousie University. This is exciting news for Stewart Rand, the president of the club, and the other members of the group who handed in their application for club status two months ago.

I had the opportunity to meet with some of the executive and members of the new club over the weekend and we spent a day focused on apologetics and event planning. They are already planning their events for the semester.

We look forward to working with this group of passionate pro-life individuals throughout the year, and can’t wait to see how they impact their campus for Life!

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uOttawa Students For Life: Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity

This post was written for uOttawa Students For Life by uOttawa Students For Life. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

by Dante De Luca

It has been a tradition at uOSFL for the past two years to participate in the annual Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity. This year, however, it seems to have slipped our minds, most likely due to the flurry of recent events (notably our Debate and the GAP affair at Carleton University).

Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity: uOSFL 2009

So, despite the fact that we are not congregating in the cafeteria with red duct tape over our mouths today, I still encourage each and every one of you to take a moment of silence today to remember those who will never have a voice.


Read the comments at the uOttawa Students For Life website.

Press Release: Carleton University Continues to Bully Students

For Immediate Release:

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

For more information contact Ruth Lobo or James Shaw at 613-600-4791 (cell).

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uOttawa Students For Life: Carleton Pro-Life Students Arrested

This post was written for uOttawa Students For Life by uOttawa Students For Life. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

uOSFL would like to express support for and solidarity with the university students arrested on Carleton University’s campus today in connection with their display of the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP). The students were denied a public space to air the peaceful protest, and were instead offered a closed room in a remote section of campus.

This is an issue of censorship of an unpopular message by the Carleton University administration, and a shameful violation of the rules laid out in Carleton’s own student handbook.

The students were charged with trespassing.


Read the comments at the uOttawa Students For Life website.

Press Release: University Has Police Arrest Peaceful Students

UNIVERSITY HAS POLICE ARREST PEACEFUL STUDENTS

October 4. OTTAWA.  This morning, a group of students from Carleton Lifeline were attempting to set up their pro-life exhibit, the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP), when university authorities had Ottawa police arrest them.  Video footage of this can be viewed online here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeJkBQn1-r8

The university said that while the students could not display their signs in The Tory Quad, a busy outdoor location on campus, it welcomed them to erect their signs in Porter Hall, an indoor room.

Ruth Lobo, president of Carleton Lifeline responded: “They are trying to sound reasonable by providing an alternate location, but what they aren’t saying is that Porter Hall is a closed room that few students pass by or even know where it is,” she said.

Club vice-president James Shaw added, “Telling us we can protest but in a back room no one goes to, is like telling black people they are welcome to ride the bus as long as they sit at the back.”

The university has reportedly been saying that student groups aren’t typically allowed to have displays in the Quad.  Lobo asked, “If the Quad isn’t bookable, why advertise it as bookable space for student groups?

More importantly, the university has never communicated to us that this is its reason for denying us the space.  We’re only hearing about it through media who call us for a response.”

Refusing to tolerate censorship, the students proceeded to walk to Tory Quad this morning with their signs.  Part-way to their destination, they were stopped by authorities, eventually amounting to at least 3 campus security personnel and at least 9 police officers.  Four Carleton students were eventually handcuffed and arrested by Ottawa police and charged with trespass.

Shaw commented, “I find it disgusting that Ottawa police allowed themselves to be hired as thugs to do the university’s dirty work.  Shame on them for participating in Carleton’s censorship of its tuition-paying students.”

Footage of the arrest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeJkBQn1-r8

For more information contact Ruth Lobo or James Shaw at 613-600-4791 (cell).

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Brock Students For Life: BSFL at Brock’s O-Week Vendor Fair

This post was written for Brock Students For Life by Brock Students for Life. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

By Margaret Stephenson

Members of BSFL brought the pro-life message to crowds of students at Brock today!

BSFL set up a booth at the Vendor and Club Fair which showcases community services, campus services and student clubs. In a flurry of activity a few thousand students checked out the fair today and happily scooped up all the free-bees they could carry.

Predictably, the BSFL table didn’t attract hordes of students. Most passersby noticed us, though. A few abortion advocates asked questions; one hopes to engage us in dialogue later in the semester. Some pro-lifers connected with us, too: we look forward to working together this year!

James, in a stroke of pro-active presidential genius, suggested walking through the crowds to hand out as many of NCLN’s We Know Better Now information flyers as possible. We handed out 500 flyers (497 to be exact – we kept 3 copies at our booth). Tomorrow we’ll pass out another 500. This is what the cover looks like:

Thank-you NCLN for producing a resource that looks so unassuming! We’d ask each student “did ya get one yet?” and almost without fail they’d grab one from us and say “thanks!”  Distributing pro-life info couldn’t be easier.  Some stuffed the flyer into their bags, hopefully to read it tonight or when they rediscover it in a few months on their bedroom floor. Others opened the flyers up right away and started reading. Right away people were talking. Awesome! Let’s get people talking.

Come by and visit our booth at the Vendor Fair tomorrow!


Read the comments at the Brock Students For Life website.