fbpx

BC Supreme Court Rules Against Freedom of Speech for Pro-Life University Students

National Campus Life Network (NCLN) is very disappointed with the decision of the BC Supreme Court yesterday, which decided against the petition of Cameron Cote (the former president of the pro-life club Youth Protecting Youth at the University of Victoria) and the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA). The case was in response to ongoing censorship from the student society and university administration and sought to have a confirmation that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms should be considered to apply to universities.

CIMG2024
YPY students protest illegal censorship in 2010

The University of Victoria has had a history of discrimination and censorship against pro-lifers. Anastasia Pearse, then president of the pro-life club Youth Protecting Youth, sued the student society with the help of the BCCLA in 2010. The lawsuit was settled out of court on the club’s terms, but unfortunately the student society and university administration has continued to bully the club over the past several years, censuring them for their activities.

Over the years the club has had their funding and status denied, they have had restrictions placed on their club booking and postering privileges, and has had stink bombs and smoke bombs set off during their activities. Recently, in the fall of 2014, the club faced vandalism and theft when two women threw used cat litter all over the table and stole fetal models. The current case focuses on events of 2013, when the university administration suddenly revoked their approval for space for a club event and admonished Cameron Cote, then club president, when the event went ahead despite the university’s attempted censorship.

Chief Justice Hinkson’s ruling found that the Charter did not apply in this case.

“I am very disappointed that the BC Supreme Court has ruled that the University of Victoria can silence an unpopular message at a moment’s notice without being held accountable to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” commented Cameron Cote. “If a university can pick and choose who is allowed to express their views in common areas on campus, then it is not only those who hold the pro-life view that should be concerned, but all students and indeed all Canadians.”

“This is another blow to the reputation of Canadian universities,” states Anastasia Pearse, alumnus of the University of Victoria and NCLN’s Western Campus Coordinator. “Universities claim to value free speech in their policies on the one hand and then repeatedly act against it when the peaceful expression and activities of some students is controversial or offensive to some.”

For more information or additional comment, contact Anastasia Pearse, NCLN’s Western Campus Coordinator. westerncanada@ncln.ca604 365 3484.

National Campus Life Network is Canada’s national pro-life student organization.

Share Button

University of the Fraser Valley Life Link: Life Link Statement in Response to Misleading Comments Made by the UFV

This post was written for University of the Fraser Valley Life Link by nclnadmin. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

UFV Life Link Statement: April 9, 2013

Response to Misleading Comments Made by the University of the Fraser Valley

This statement is in response to misleading comment made by the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) concerning the cancellation of the Life Link event on Wednesday April 10th.

UFV alleges that the LifeLink event was merely postponed and not cancelled.  However, in correspondence with the club leaders, UFV stated that the “room booking for the 10th of April has been cancelled and we would request that you remove your posters advertising this event.  We also request that you remove the event posting that is located on the weneedaLaw website.”  The university did state that the event could continue on the date booked, but only if it was off campus.

Life Link was told, in the email from Friday April 5th, that “if you wish for your Life Link event to happen at UFV the date will have to be postponed.” Considering, however, that the campus is entering exams and the semester is ending, this still means, in effect, that the event has been completely shut down – at least until the next school year starts in September.

The cancellation also failed to address why a risk management plan could not have been discussed when the event was booked three weeks ago or even in the last few days, after the university became concerned about potential protesters.  Comments made in the  University’s April 5th email to Life Link such as having the event off campus and the need to ensure “an event that provides a balanced view of the issue at hand” also demonstrates the university’s desire to censor the pro-life message.

The university also claims that it does not object to anti-gendercide materials on campus.  Why then were club resources restricted to a classroom? The university has stated to the media that graphic or potentially upsetting/offensive resources may be subject to ‘alternative arrangements for display’ out of public space.  This indicates that UFV considers the resources in question, which show a pregnant women’s belly and state facts on gendercide and which have been used on other Canadian universities, to be ‘graphic’ and, as such, subject to university censorship.

The University’s Friday April 5th email sent to Life Link can be viewed here.

The resources in question can be viewed here.

Read the comments at the University of the Fraser Valley Life Link website.

NCLN on The Arena with Michael Coren: Video Clip

On Friday September 2nd, Rebecca Richmond, NCLN’s Executive Director, appeared briefly as a guest on Michael Coren’s new Sun News Network talk show The Arena.

To watch the video clip, click the link below:

Minority View: The Arena with Michael Coren

Share Button

University of Toronto Students for Life: Michael Coren on the Carleton Arrests

This post was written for University of Toronto Students for Life by Blaise Alleyne. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

Michael Coren discusses the Carleton arrests on his TV show around the 15:30 mark with panelists Laura Babcock, David Menzies, and Matt Gurney (via @NCLN).

We’ve highlighted his excellent coverage of the campus free speech issues that pro-life students face in the past, as he’s often spoken on campuses for pro-life clubs.


Read the comments at the University of Toronto Students for Life website.

Brock Students For Life: What Else Is At Stake?

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

After 5 students were arrested at Carleton while setting up a pro-life display on campus it seems that our knee-jerk reaction is to denounce the university administration for censoring pro-life rhetoric on campus.

Such censorship should be condemned.

A clear message was sent by Carleton University’s administration: abortion is taboo. Don’t mention it. Don’t talk about it. Don’t protest it. And for heaven’s sake don’t show pictures of it!

But something else is going on here, something that bloggers, on-lookers, and protest-participants decried immediately. Carleton University infringed upon the students’ right to exercise their freedom of speech.

I first heard news of the arrests from my sister (president of uOttawa Students for Life) on Monday morning, just before 10am. I was shocked but not surprised. After all, I had just spent the weekend talking about such incidents with a group of incredible pro-life students from across Canada (where I had the privilege to meet 2 of the brave students arrested). But how frustrating to be in St Catharines, dependent upon sporadic text messages for news from the “front,” instead of in Ottawa! 

I couldn’t help but talk to nearly everyone about the arrests. The first friend I encountered on campus got an earful about the goings-on at Carleton. Much to my annoyance (profound annoyance) her support for the students vanished as soon as I mentioned it was a pro-life protest. …so then does the content of the speech/expression determine whether or not it may be freely spoken/displayed?  Or do we live under a stable, democratic, constitutional monarchy that provides for the freedom of expression?

Today Michael Coren invited his panelists to discuss just that question on his TV show. It’s worth a watch: http://www.ctstv.com/michaelcoren/


Read the comments at the Brock Students For Life website.

When you silence the message, it comes back louder

by Sara Hall, Maritime Campus Coordinator

The Irish pro-life organization called “Youth Defense” released a radio ad that was banned by the government because it was “too political”.  They have now released the powerful and challenging video on youtube to spread the message about abortion and life in the womb. Note that instead of allowing themselves to be censored by the government they simply found a new channel to spread the message of life that will now reach a greater population than a single radio show in Ireland.

Share Button