Last fall, we wrote about ‘the Pridgen Precedent’, or the ruling made by Madam Justice J. Strekaf in Pridgen v. University of Calgary. John Carpay’s recent article gives a good refresher on the case. This ruling was not about pro-life students or even abortion at all, but the ruling would, we wrote, set a positive precedent for our pro-life students. Why? Because the ruling stated that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms DOES, in fact, apply to universities. And this means that the freedom of speech of students is protected on campus.
The University of Calgary appealed the decision but, last week, the Alberta Court of Appeal upheld the ruling.
John Carpay, who is also the lawyer for the University of Calgary’s Campus Pro-Life group, wrote a column in the National Post regarding the decision. He wrote:
If universities were private, they would not be engaging in “government action” so as to invite the Charter’s application. But when the University of Calgary obtains over $600 million from taxpayers each year by claiming to be a forum for free expression for all people and for all views, it forfeits its right to censor speech it dislikes. Holding the U of C to account, as this court ruling does, is good news for students and for taxpayers.
In particular, this precedent will help the students in Ontario and Alberta who have taken Carleton University and the University of Calgary to court in regard to the censorship of pro-life viewpoints. But that is a subject for another column.
This is certainly a victory for not just the Pridgens, but also for students nationwide.