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News release: Motion to Ban University of Manitoba Pro-Life Club Defeated But Concerns Regarding Future Censorship Remain

News Release

MOTION TO BAN UNIVERSITY OF MANITOBA PRO-LIFE CLUB DEFEATED BUT CONCERNS REGARDING FUTURE CENSORSHIP REMAIN

WINNIPEG, MB (October 9 2013) – On the evening of October 7th, the University of Manitoba Students for a Culture of Life (UMSCL) were glad to witness the defeat of a motion calling for the revocation of their club status. However, they are continuing to express concern about two other motions passed by the University of Manitoba Student Union (UMSU).

“We were encouraged to hear members of the council defend free speech on campus and see the motion to revoke our student group status defeated soundly,” states Cara Ginter, vice-president of UMSCL. “Unfortunately, two other motions were passed that could be used to censor our student group and others in the future.”

The first motion was put forward by two students as a response to a pro-life display hosted by the club September 23-25. This display, called the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP), uses large posters with pictures of aborted fetuses and victims of historical genocides to argue that abortion is a human rights violation. Council members, including Nursing, Law, and Education representatives, spoke against the motion and it was ultimately defeated.

Two other motions were also presented by the council’s Student Group Promotions and Affairs Committee (SGPAC), which express concern over the content of the display and resolving that (1) the council meet with the university administration “to push for a reconsideration of the review and approval process for public displays” and (2) that the policies governing the penalization of clubs and revocation of club status be reviewed and clarified.

“We applaud the student union’s defeat of the first motion and hope they will use that good sense moving forward,” states Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator for National Campus Life Network (NCLN), an organization that supports pro-life students in Canada. “UMSU is certainly within its rights to review its own policies and even discuss the display approval process with the administration – as long as they don’t attempt to hinder the club’s right to exist and exercise its freedom of expression on campus.”

“The display was a great opportunity to dialogue with students about the issue of abortion,” says Ginter. “We’re looking forward to continuing this conversation over the course of the year, educating our peers about this important human rights issue.”

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For more information please contact:

Cara Ginter, vice-president, University of Manitoba Students for a Culture of Life: caraginter@hotmail.com

Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator for National Campus Life Network: westerncanada@ncln.ca

John Carpay, JCCF President and lawyer acting for the students: 403-619-8014, jcarpay@jccf.ca.

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What Have We Gotten Ourselves Into?

By Rebecca Richmond

I was new on the job and only a recent grad myself on October 4th, 2010. The NCLN Symposium had just finished and we caught a train to Ottawa to help out Carleton Lifeline as they put on the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP).  Well, as they tried to anyway.

Carleton arrests resizedMy job that morning was to take photos just in case.  And take photos I did, recording moments that seem more like a dream than a memory: friends being handcuffed and driven away in police vans.

What had I gotten myself into?

Three years later, as I enter my fourth year on staff with NCLN, I often find myself wondering the same thing. As do, I know, too many students who may not have to face handcuffs, but still have to fight long and hard for their rights on campus.

Since joining staff with NCLN I have worked with clubs coast-to-coast as they face discrimination. This fall is no different. Just one month has passed since school has started and already clubs are fighting opposition.

In Winnipeg this coming Monday, the University of Manitoba Student Union will vote on a motion to ban the pro-life club on campus – University of Manitoba Students for a Culture of Life – because the club ran the Genocide Awareness Project  (GAP) last week.  While the university acknowledged the free speech rights of the students to run the display, the student union members appear to require a bit more education on what freedom of expression entails.

In Victoria the legal representative and former president of the University of Victoria’s pro-life club, Youth Protecting Youth, is suing the university because of the censorship of the club’s “Choice” Chain event last winter and the restrictions placed on the club to prevent them from hosting similar events. 

And these are just the recent developments. It would take longer than one article to go through everything students went through last year – or even last semester.

So what have we gotten ourselves into?

We’re in a human rights movement, a culture war, a battle for the soul of a nation.   We fight for the very principle that holds – or ought to hold – our society together: that human life is valuable and that all humans, no matter what their abilities or circumstances might be, have a right to life.  We are counter-cultural and, as such, we challenge our society.  When we speak truth, it unsettles, disturbs and offends those who would rather remain in denial. When we speak up, others may try to shout us down or shut us down.  It has always been this way; why should we expect any different?  But we must also ask ourselves, what cause was won without sacrifice?  What victory was secured without a price?

No, it’s not fair.  And we will fight for fair and equal treatment for pro-life students.  But we do so, or at least the students and NCLN do so, because of the cause that got us into trouble in the first place.  When we fight for our rights, we do so not for ourselves, but for those we fight for: the preborn children who are being slaughtered every day in our country and for their wounded moms and dads.

It would be easy to say that we’ll take up the challenge after our education, when we have a steady job and a few more letters behind our name, when we have more time and aren’t constrained by midterms, papers or our course schedule.  But we cannot wait until tomorrow when we are presently in such a critically important environment.  Being a university pro-life activist might cost us something but I also believe, like Martin Luther King Jr. did, that it is worth the cost.

“Make a career of humanity,” he said, “Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.”

But ultimately it is the lives on the line that keeps us going when the opposition mounts.  It is the witness of friends, like the students arrested at Carleton in 2010, who inspire us.  It is the truth awakened in our own hearts that compels us to end the injustice of abortion and build a Culture of Life – starting with our campuses.

 

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NCLN is here for YOU!

Whether you’re returning to university for another year, starting university for the first time, or watching kids, grandkids or relatives begin their year, it’s an exciting time.  Remember that NCLN is here to support the pro-life message on universities and colleges by supporting the amazing students who are leaders for life on campus.

 Here’s a reminder of what we can do for you:

  •  Personalized Support: Interested in starting a club or nervous about taking on a leadership role? Our Campus Coordinators will meet up for you in-person or by phone/Skype to help you go through the process of starting or running a club. We’re available on Skype, Facebook, Twitter, text message, email and smoke signals. (Okay, maybe not the smoke signals…) KeepCalm
  •  Training: Have you booked an NCLN staff member to provide your club with training this fall?  We will come to your campus to offer presentations on how to dialogue and defend the pro-life position as well as on effective strategies for on-campus activism.
  • Our Annual National Symposium: This is THE essential training event for pro-life students in Canada.  All clubs should be sending leaders to bring back training, resources, connections and inspiration to their campuses.  For more information, check out our website: www.ncln.ca/symposium
  • Resources designed for campus: Need amazing pro-life resources to distribute to your peers?  Take a look at what we offer and let us know what you need.
  • Guides and Manuals: Wondering how to lead your pro-life club or how to run effective activities? Email your campus coordinator to get a copy of our club manual as well as guides such as:

-Hosting Silent No More Awareness Campaign on campus

-Hosting a Guest Speaker or Debate

-Running Clubs Days/Tabling

-and more!

  • Encouragement and Connections: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media so as to stay up to date on events and news and to be connected with the broader Campus Student Movement in Canada and internationally.

 

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest 

 

Don’t hesitate to contact us!:

Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director – director@ncln.ca – Skype: rebecca.grace.richmond

Sara Hall, Maritime Campus Coordinator – maritimes@ncln.ca – Skype: sara.nhall

Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinatorwesterncanada@ncln.ca – Skype: anastasia.pearse

Clarissa Luluquisin, Central Campus Coordinator – central@ncln.ca – Skype: clar.lulu

Kathleen Dunn, Director of Digital Media and Promotions – kathleen@ncln.ca – Skype: kathleen_dunn

We are here for YOU!

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2013 NCLN Symposium: Out of the Shadows

 

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“The Symposium exposed me to many different pro-life networks in Canada. It enabled me to connect with other pro-life students across Canada, sharing ideas and strategies for future work.” – Student Feedback 2011

This January, Canada marked a shameful anniversary: the 25th anniversary of the R. v. Morgentaler Supreme Court decision that struck down all abortion laws in our country, allowing abortion for any reason or no reason, and at any stage of pregnancy.  Since this time, no restrictions and no legislation has ever been enacted to remedy this destructive status quo. 

Henry Morgentaler, whose Supreme Court case forever changed Canada, passed away this spring at 90 years of age.  Much discussion has followed on what his legacy was. The history of abortion is much broader than the life of one iconic abortionist, but we can see that in the quarter century since the R. v. Morgentaler decision, a quarter of our generation has been wiped out.  Our family, neighbours, siblings and our own children have lost their lives to abortion.  

We are the survivors and we have the opportunity and the obligation to speak up for them and spare the next generation from the same fate that ours suffered.  

It starts with you. It starts with your campus.

Ending Abortion, the NCLN Symposium

If we want to end abortion in Canada, we need to start by transforming our own campuses.  It is our peers who belong to the age demographic that undergoes the most abortions and it is our peers who are and will be the leaders of our nation.  But transforming our campuses for life is no easy task.  There are many obstacles and barriers to contend with, both in the classroom and out.48183_482480978450676_595626359_o  

The Symposium equips and empowers students to be leaders for life on their campuses.  The Symposium is much more than a conference. This annual gathering of pro-life student leaders from across Canada is a weekend of learning, skill development; networking and motivation; a potent combination of taking in the knowledge of experts in the Pro-Life Movement and learning practical skills and strategies in order to have an impact on campus. More information on this year’s speakers can be found here.

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For many students, the Symposium is a key moment in their pro-life journeys.  As one student commented, “The Symposium changed the way I approached pro-life campus activism.  It was a pivotal moment.”  A number of Pro-Life leaders in Canada have told us the Symposium was an important moment that spurred them to take on leadership roles within the movement.

This year our Symposium focuses in on the anniversary of the Morgentaler decision and what it has meant for our country, but, more importantly, how we, as students, can emerge out of the shadows to secure a brighter future for our country.

If you are a post-secondary student (university or college) who is involved with a pro-life campus club or interested in becoming involved, this is the training event for you!  

To register for this year’s Symposium, click here.

For regular updates, check out our Facebook event.

Location:  Toronto, ON 

Date: Friday September 27 , 2:30pm –  Sunday September 29th, 1:00pm

Registration opens: July 2nd, 2013

The weekend includes overnight accommodations for Friday and Saturday night as well as meals. 

 

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

This post was written for Kwantlen Protectores Vitae by Kwantlen Protectores Vitae. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

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/

Read the comments at the Kwantlen Protectores Vitae website.

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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