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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uOttawa Students For Life: Urgent: Speak Up for M408!

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

See We Need A Law for background, links and their action items.

From NCLN:

Motion 408 Needs YOU!

M408-pmharper

 

Mark Warawa’s Motion 408 has been deemed non-votable, even though it met all the criteria for votability, as the impartial analyst from the Library of Parliament repeatedly said. This decision was “shocking and undemocratic” and will be appealed. But your help is urgently needed!

As you slave away on your computer, finishing up those final term assignments, take a break to Tweet and e-mail Prime Minister Harper and the committee members who will be involved with this appeal. Encourage your friends to do likewise!

Our politicians NEED to hear an OUTCRY from the public.

PM Harper can be contacted via:
Email: pm@pm.gc.ca
Twitter: @pmharper
Phone: 613-992-4211

Here are the committee members who will hear Mark Warawa’s appeal!
@CraigScottNDP
@nathancullen
@NycoleTurmelNPD
@Armstrong_MP
@ParmGill
@TomLukiwski
@CostasMenegakis
@ScottReidCPC

Every time you Tweet about this, be sure to include @pmharper and hashtag #M408 !

Give those thumbs some extra exercise and Tweet Tweet Tweet!

E-mail these committee members who deemed Motion 408 non-votable:

Dave MacKenzie – dave.mackenzie@parl.gc.ca
Scott Armstrong – scott.armstrong@parl.gc.ca
Stephane Dion – stephane.dion@parl.gc.ca
Philip Toone – philip.toone@parl.gc.ca

Remember that this is not about voting for #M408, but about deeming the motion VOTABLE so that it can be debated in the House of Commons.

Can’t think of a Tweet to Tweet? Here’s some examples:

@pmharper Listen to the 92%! #M408 should be deemed votable!

The library of parliament analyst said #M408 passed the criteria. Will you respect procedure? Allow M408 to go to the House! @pmharper

Canada needs to condemn ALL discrimination against women! @pmharper Allow #M408 to be debated!

92% of Canadians want to see sex-selective abortion banned. Why is the debate being banned? Where’s the democracy? @pmharper? #M408

Disappointed with @armstrong_MP for ignoring the need to protect women with #M408! @pmharper

@ParmGill Be a voice for Canadian women and support the vote for #M408 @pmharper

Support #M408! @TomLukiwski @CostasMenegakis @ScottReidCPC @ParmGill @Armstrong_MP @NycoleTurmelNDP @nathancullen @CraigScottNDP

Be sure to Tweet @MPMarkWarawa to show him your support and encouragement!

Don’t forget to follow NCLN on Twitter to stay updated!

@NCLN
@NCLNwestern
@RebeccaFaustina
@Clarlulu
@Kathleen_Dunn

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

In addition, Carleton University is hosting a screening of the award-winning documentary It’s A Girl this Thursday. See the Facebook event for more details and attend to learn more about this international and deadly form of discrimination.


Read the comments at the uOttawa Students For Life website.

uOttawa Students For Life: DefendGirls

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

by Kate

DefendGirls is a new campaign to provide information and raise awareness about sex-selective abortion. I recommend taking a look at the DefendGirls Facebook page or at the website defendgirls.ca. The site offers information about the issue and about Motion 408, the motion recently filed in the House of Commons asking parliamentarians to condemn sex-selective abortions as discrimination against girls. The site also provides suggestions and links for further action and has a very interesting blog. DefendGirls stickers, postcards, business cards and t-shirts can be purchased through the NCLN website.

DefendGirls

 


Read the comments at the uOttawa Students For Life website.

The Resolve We Need for Our Resolutions

By Rebecca Richmond, NCLN Executive Director

I’m not really one for New Year’s resolutions. This year I didn’t even bother thinking about them but in the end, the newness of the year and the semester got to me. After spending the break at home with my family, I returned to Toronto and thoroughly reorganized my room, cleaned my pantry, and planned out a few meals and lunches to start the year off right. It’s almost on the subconscious level that the New Year brings the conviction that I need to read more (the classics), sleep more (but not sleep in), eat better (and regularly. i.e. breakfast and lunch), get more work done (i.e. magically create more hours in the day), and the list goes on.

As much as there is comfort in the familiar, our society seems drawn towards fresh starts and using them to commit to doing something good or giving up something bad. The problem we run into is the follow through.

I recently heard a speaker address this in a talk on New Year’s resolutions: many people make good and important decisions but lack the energy to follow through. This resonated with me as a problem that we, as pro-lifers, can encounter. We make a good and important decision – to work to end abortion – and we set short-term goals such as starting a club, hosting events, and having an impact on our campus, but we struggle to accomplish these. Falling short can then demoralize us, depress us, overwhelm us and ultimately impede us from accomplishing anything at all.

We need to have resources to motivate us and to track our progress so that when we are faced with distractions, we can get back on track.

Memories are one such resource. In moments when giving up seems all too attractive, memories can remind me of why I do what I do and why I must continue. Memories of conversations that led to changes of heart and events that impacted our campus can stoke the embers of my heart and reignite the fire. Do you have memories of how passionate you felt after a presentation, conversation, or event? Take a moment to think back to that time.

Imagination and vision can similarly re-energize us. When the present seems unbearable we can escape, for a moment, to the future. What is it that we are working towards anyway? Do you have a picture of that future in your mind? Childish as it sounds, I sometimes imagine my future self talking to colleagues from NCLN in a time when all of these frustrations are blurred by the haze of years gone by.

Future Rebecca: Remember when student unions used to discriminate against pro-life students? It’s hard to believe freedom of expression was not respected on our campuses!
Future Anastasia: You’re telling me! My pro-life club had to sue our student society in order to be treated fairly!

Your fellow club members are another resource. Spend time with them, not just to work on your plans and projects, but also to connect personally. (But this doesn’t take the place of those regular executive meetings!) If you are struggling in certain areas or have an exciting or motivating story or idea, share it with your club members. You are not merely students working on a class project together; you are colleagues fighting for a cause. Emotional support and friendship support your work. I experienced the importance of this as a student leader and continue to on staff with NCLN. Taking a bit of time to come together and discuss how we ourselves are doing – and not just how our work is – has been a powerful motivator for all of us on staff.

On that note, the NCLN staff are also available as a resource. Our organization was established for students by students. While president of uOttawa Students for Life, I benefited from weekly phone calls with Theresa Gilbert, then NCLN’s Executive Director and now president of our board. Our Campus Coordinators are more than happy (delighted, in fact) to chat regularly with you to help you out.

And although being accountable to other people is important (and another reason why weekly exec meetings are so important!), personal accountability is also essential. Take time each night to go over your day. How did you do? In light of how you did, what have you learned and what will you do tomorrow?

We’ve spoken to a couple students who have expressed regret over not accomplishing as much last semester as they had hoped. Learn from this, but remember that last semester was last semester. It’s over. Don’t let this regret paralyze you this semester. A new year is here and presents us with new opportunities. With resolve and good resources, our resolutions can lead us to transform our universities with the pro-life message.

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

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

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

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

Oliver Capko, President Protectores Vitae, kwantlenprotectoresvitae@hotmail.com,

Read the comments at the Kwantlen Protectores Vitae website.

Press Release: B.C. Pro-Life Student Group Denied Right to Exist on their University Campus

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Kwantlen Pro-Life Student Group Denied Right to Exist on their University Campus

LANGLEY, B.C. (November 27 2012) – Students at Kwantlen Polytechnic University have obtained legal representation to fight a recent rejection by the student union of their application to form a pro-life club on campus.

The Kwantlen Student Association (KSA), which represents the students from the university’s four Vancouver Metro area campuses, explained its decision by stating that the creation of the Protectores Vitae club “is clearly against our own standing policy on Abortion and a Woman’s Right to Choose.”

“We’re very disappointed,” said Oliver Capko, president of the pro-life group. “Our student association is supposed to represent us and not censor us for having a different position.”

“They are in violation of their own policies,” stated Anastasia Pearse, the Western Campus Coordinator for National Campus Life Network, an organization which supports pro-life students across Canada. “Their own policy states that the association can’t censor or interfere with a club, even if it disagrees with its beliefs. Free speech and debate, even on controversial issues, should not be stifled at a university simply because those in positions of authority are pro-choice.”

It also appears that the association may have made amendments on October 26 to Article 2 of its Club Procedures Policy in an attempt to create a stronger basis for denying status. The changes significantly increased the ways in which the student association could justify the denial of club recognition.

The club is demanding that the Kwantlen Student Association grant them status. The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) has taken the case and is acting on behalf of Protectores Vitae.

“We sincerely hope that it will not be necessary for Mr. Capko and other students to sue the KSA,” said John Carpay, lawyer and President of the JCCF. “The student union has no legal authority to impose its own views about a moral or political issue on all students by denying club status to students who disagree with the student union. The student union has an obligation to treat all students equally and fairly, without denying the right of students to freely associate on the Kwantlen campus and form the clubs of their own choosing.”

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For media requests, please contact:

Oliver Capko, President Protectores Vitae, kwanlenprotectoresvitae@hotmail.com, 604-772-1156

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

 

Further details can be found on the club’s website.  

To support free speech at Kwantlen, click here.

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