Press Release: Student Trespass Charges Withdrawn in Carleton University Free Expression Case

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Student Trespass Charges Withdrawn in Carleton University Free Expression Case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charges that were filed against members of Carleton Lifeline, the pro-life student club at Carleton University, were withdrawn by the Crown yesterday.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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400 Protestors Expected at UBC’s Abortion Display

Press Release: Controversy Erupts at UBC

Bloody Abortion Signs Confront Students and Mob Responds
 
Vancouver, BC. On Thursday, March 10, a UBC student pro-life club, Lifeline, will re-open the abortion debate—-and it will be hard to ignore them.  The students will display eight 4×8-foot bloody images from the controversial Genocide Awareness Project (GAP: www.unmaskingchoice.ca/gap.html). The GAP graphically compares abortion to historical atrocities, such as the Holocaust, and his been met with resistance across North America.  In fact, a Facebook group (http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/event.php?eid=167649023284651&index=1) opposing Lifeline’s display at UBC reports over 400 people plan to protest the event.

GAP will be displayed from 10am to 2pm at the SUB Lower Plaza, by East Mall Road (close to University Boulevard).  Lifeline president Ania Kasprzak says she hopes UBC won’t allow protesters to censor her group’s display:
“UBC’s own policy on academic freedom supports our right to express ourselves through GAP,” stated Kasprzak.  She quoted their policy which states, “Behaviour that obstructs free and full discussion, not only of ideas that
are safe and accepted, but of those which may be unpopular or even
abhorrent, vitally threatens the integrity of the University’s forum. Such behaviour cannot be tolerated.” 

Kasprzak continued, “A university is the marketplace of ideas and we want to use that platform to show that abortion is an act of violence that kills a baby.  We know this exhibit is effective at changing peoples’ minds because they’ve told us that.” 

In a 2008 Globe and Mail interview, UBC President Dr. Stephen Toope lamented that “in Canada we have seen many examples of students trying to
shut down speakers with whom they disagree.” Dr. Toope asserted that “the
role of the university is to encourage tough questioning, and clear expressions of disagreement, but not the ‘silencing’ of alternative views.”

 But one of the opponent’s to GAP, Anna Wärje, doesn’t want Lifeline’s message to be seen.  She posted the following on the growing “Protest GAP” Facebook group: “UBC is requiring us [Students for Reproductive Rights (SRR)] to stay 30 feet from the display and not block or impede the display in any way. Last year, UBC tried to make SRR admin responsible for outside parties blocking the display, but I am not taking that sh** this year. There is nothing illegal about blocking that display, and only UBC students are susceptible to ‘university discipline.’ So…if you’re not a UBC student, don’t even pay attention to this bullsh**. Or if you’re a UBC student who doesn’t care about the university’s disapproval of your conduct.” 

It remains to be seen whether UBC will intervene to stop the planned censorship-through-physical-obstruction of Lifeline’s display.  In March of last year when abortion advocates blocked Lifeline’s display, UBC security did not directly remove the censures; instead, they called in the RCMP.  But a video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89QICRBJ65o&feature=channel_video_title) shows police informing Lifeline’s opponents that they could continue to engage in this physical obstruction and suppress Lifeline’s speech. 

The GAP has been exhibited on or near campuses in BC, Alberta, Manitoba,
and Ontario.  Last October, Carleton Lifeline students were arrested when
they attempted to set the display up.
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeJkBQn1-r8&feature=channel_video_title).

GAP first appeared in Canada at UBC in November 1999 and it was violently
attacked by 3 UBC student leaders of the Alma Mater Society. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dv7OCW1G0-M&feature=channel_video_title).

For further information contact Ania Kasprzak, Lifeline president, 778-982-1117 (cell). 

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LifeCanada Supports Carleton Lifeline

Our friends at LifeCanada just sent out the following press release:

 

LifeCanada/VieCanada

310 – 376 Churchill Ave. N.

Ottawa, ON  K1Z 5C3

Tel: 1-866-780-5433 Fax: 613-722-2201

lifecanada@bellnet.ca

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 23, 2011

LifeCanada supports freedom of speech for campus pro-life groups

Carleton Lifeline, a pro-life student group at Carleton University, announced today that it is suing the University over discriminatory treatment following the arrest of some of its members this past fall. LifeCanada, a national organization educating on the value of human life, supports the group’s legal challenge and their right to freedom of speech.

Freedom of speech is guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but undemocratic actions in recent years against pro-life organizations demonstrate an effort to suppress any and all opposition to abortion in this country.

“It is shocking that the truth cannot be expressed in this country, especially when it is through a peaceful demonstration at a post-secondary institution,” said LifeCanada president, Monica Roddis. “LifeCanada experienced a similar suppression of facts in our 2008 media campaign about abortion and the law. It is unconscionable that peaceful and law-abiding citizens are not allowed to express their views simply because a handful of individuals don’t approve of what they have to say. LifeCanada fully supports Carleton Lifeline in this legal challenge for their democratic right to freedom of speech.”

In 2008, LifeCanada launched a nation-wide media campaign promoting awareness of the lack of legal restrictions on abortion in Canada. The campaign ads depicted a pregnant woman and the words, “Have We Gone Too Far? 9 Months: The Length of Time Abortion is Legal in Canada. www.AbortioninCanada.ca.” Shortly after the campaign launch, Advertising Standards Canada (ASC), a self-regulatory body overseeing the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards, deemed the ads “deceptive”.  An unnamed Appeal Panel made a final, closed decision and the ads have not been displayed on public property since. The ASC claimed the ads were ‘false’ and ‘deceptive’ despite the fact that abortion IS fully legal for the full gestation of a pregnancy in Canada.

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Contact: Monica Roddis, President, 604-853-7985

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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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PRESS RELEASE: Students’ Pro-Life Club Status Revoked

NOVEMBER 15th, 2010: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

STUDENTS’ PRO-LIFE CLUB STATUS REVOKED

Carleton Lifeline told by Student Union it must change its Constitution

OTTAWA – The Carleton University Student Association (CUSA) has notified Carleton Lifeline, Carleton University’s pro-life student group, that the club will not be given club status or funding unless the group renounces its pro-life beliefs in a revised and resubmitted Club Constitution.

This comes on the heels of the arrest of several Carleton Lifeline club members’ arrest last month when they attempted to set up a pro-life exhibit on campus.

“There are two major issues at hand here,” stated Ruth Lobo, president of Carleton Lifeline. “First, is that we are being discriminated against because of our political and ideological values. Second, CUSA has taken our club status away in a way that has violated their own procedural policies regarding re-certification and decertification. We have been a club for 3 years, so why now?”

The club was notified of the denial of status via e-mail from Khaldoon A. Bushnaq, Vice-President of Internal Affairs for CUSA. The email states that Carleton Lifeline’s club constitution is in violation of CUSA’s Discrimination on Campus Policy, which expressly states that CUSA supports “a woman’s right to choose” and will not support any student group that holds a different viewpoint. Carleton Lifeline’s constitution reads “Carleton Lifeline believes in the equal rights of the unborn and firmly believes that abortion is a moral and legal wrong, not a constitutional right. Therefore, Carleton Lifeline shall work to promote the legal protection of the unborn and their basic human rights to life.”

“Our constitution has not changed since our club was first certified in 2007,” said James Shaw, vice-president of Carleton Lifeline. “We have always received funding and status whenever we applied, and were always re-certified as a club from year to year.” Shaw adds that even if other students disagree with their views, a student’s association must respect the diversity of opinion within their own membership.

On November 15, 2010, Carleton Lifeline’s legal counsel wrote CUSA pointing out that their Discrimination on Campus Policy is in violation of CUSA’s own constitution and in violation of a number of Carleton University policies. He also pointed out that the manner in which CUSA denied Carleton Lifeline certification was not in line with CUSA’s own policies and procedures.

“We simply want the same status as other clubs without viewpoint discrimination,” stated club member Nicholas Mcleod. “This decision clearly violates CUSA’s own procedures on certification and re-certification.  As a student, I am forced to give money to CUSA when I pay my tuition which means that I am paying CUSA to discriminate against me. Obviously, our group is going to challenge this.”

For further information, contact Carleton Lifeline at (613) 600-4791, or Carleton Lifeline’s legal counsel, Albertos Polizogopoulos at (613) 241-2701. To see copies of the above-noted correspondence, please visit http://carletonlifeline.wordpress.com/

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CUSA’s Shinerama Incident:              http://www.cbc.ca/canada/ottawa/story/2008/11/25/ot-081125-shinerama.html

CUSA’s 2006 attempt to ban Lifeline:  http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/jan/07011004.html

See Pg 33 for Discrimination Policy:  http://cusaonline.com/Downloads/cusa_policies_2010.pdf

See Pg 13 Sections 4.1 and 4.2 regarding Certification/Recertification Differences and Section 5.0 for Decertification:                            http://cusaonline.com/Downloads/bylaw_dec_09.pdf

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New Poll: Canadians worry about vulnerable people if euthanasia is legalized

Life Canada, a national educational organization, has released a new poll of Canadians’ attitudes concerning euthanasia.

Below, their Press Release summarizes their findings.

For Immediate Release

Nov. 3, 2010


Canadians worry about vulnerable people if euthanasia is legalized: Poll

A year of public debate about legal euthanasia has left Canadians with concerns about how vulnerable people—those who are elderly, depressed, disabled or chronically ill—will fare if the law changes.

A new poll by Environics Research of 2,025 Canadians has found that although 59% said they support legal euthanasia, the number who “strongly support” has declined by 3 points since last year. Support is highest in Quebec at 69%, down from 75% a year ago, and lowest in Manitoba and Saskatchewan at 49%.

However, subsequent questions about the effect on vulnerable populations reveal strong concerns about the practice. Almost two-thirds, 63% worried that elderly Canadians would feel pressure to accept euthanasia to reduce health care costs, up from 57% in 2009. Interestingly, Quebeckers, whose government recently completed public hearings on legal euthanasia, expressed the highest concern, 75%. Canadians also worried about people being euthanized without their consent: 78% expressed concern about this, compared to 70% last year.

The poll also asked about euthanizing terminally ill or severely disabled infants with a parental request and consent. Almost half, 49% opposed euthanasia in such cases while 44% supported it.

71% of those polled said governments should invest more in palliative and hospice care instead of legalizing euthanasia.

The poll was commissioned by LifeCanada and was conducted in September 2010. It has a margin of error of +/- 2.2%.

LifeCanada’s president, Monica Roddis, said that the current debate has been a healthy one. “Canadians have been confused about euthanasia and what it means. The more they learn through debates at the federal level and this fall during the Quebec hearings, the less comfortable they become.

“There have been many doctors and nurses who specialize in end-of-life care who have spoken openly and passionately against legalizing euthanasia,” said Roddis. “They understand the perils that face patients and medical professionals if such legislation were to pass. We applaud their courage in speaking up and in contributing to the education of Canadians on this issue.”

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Contacts: Primary: Monica Roddis, President, 604-853-7985

Secondary: Anastasia Bowles, Projects Director: 1-866-780-5433

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Media Advisory: Controversial Pro-Life Lecture Comes to UVic

MEDIA ADVISORY:

CONTROVERSIAL PRO-LIFE LECTURE COMES TO UVIC

On October 26th, 2010, Youth Protecting Youth (YPY), the pro-life club at the University of Victoria, and the Victoria Right to Life Society will host Jojo Ruba of the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform to speak on the issue of abortion.

Jojo’s lecture, entitled “Echoes of the Holocaust,” exposes the dehumanization of victims throughout history, and explains the parallels between the unborn children who are killed by abortion today and the victims of historical genocides.

While the presentation has been delivered at many universities across Canada without incident, in early 2009 the presentation was disrupted by unruly protestors at both St. Mary’s University in Halifax and McGill University in Montreal.

In both instances protestors shouted slogans and chants, preventing students from hearing Mr. Ruba’s presentation; campus security failed to stop these protestors from disrupting the lectures (footage of the incidents can be found on Youtube). In each case, the university administration later apologized for the disruptions.

As a club that has recently struggled to be treated with equity on campus, YPY recognizes the absolute importance of freedom of speech. YPY welcomes debate on the issue of abortion, and encourages all who are interested to come to the presentation, and participate in the question period following the lecture.

The “Echoes of the Holocaust” presentation will take place at 5:30pm on Tuesday October 26, in room SCI B150 (in the Bob Wright Centre) at the University of Victoria.


Contact:

Anastasia Pearse, President, YPY &

Catherine Shenton, Vice President, YPY

youthprotectingyouth@gmail.com

www.youthprotectingyouth.com


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Press Release: Following Arrest of Pro-Lifers, Abortion Debate in Ottawa Tonight

For Immediate Release:

FOLLOWING ARREST OF PRO-LIFERS, ABORTION DEBATE IN OTTAWA TONIGHT

Tuesday, October 5. OTTAWA.  Tonight at 6:30pm, uOttawa Students for Life will be hosting an abortion debate titled, “Abortion: A Human Right or a Human Rights Violation?”

The event is free and open to all and will be held in Roger Guindon Hall (RGN) which is located at the Ottawa Health Sciences Centre (Ottawa General Hospital) at 451 Smyth Road.

Romeo Maione, an award-winning debate champion (http://carletondebate.org/index.php?id=137) will represent the side in favour of abortion while Stephanie Gray, executive director of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (http://www.unmaskingchoice.ca/profile_stephanie.html), will represent the side against abortion.

The debate comes in the wake of controversy in Ottawa yesterday as pro-life students at Carleton University were arrested when attempting to set up a pro-life display (video footage of this can be viewed online here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeJkBQn1-r8).

At the last Students for Life abortion debate at uOttawa, a crowd of more than 200 overflowed the room.  Tonight’s debate promises to draw another crowd, as the event is open to the public, and to provide a thoughtful and respectful discussion of both sides of the issue.

For more information contact Stephanie Gray (403-200-0777: cell) or Students for Life president Theresa Stephenson (613-794-4084: cell).

Abortion debate Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=90410224#!/event.php?eid=148176048555861&ref=ts


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