19 November 2008

The Death of Free Speech in Canada

A few weeks ago, I blogged about the problem of university campuses denying pro-life groups club status. Today's post is about a new twist on the denial of free speech on university campuses. The University of Calgary is threatening to arrest or sanction members of the Campus Pro-Life (CPL) group next week when they bring GAP (Genocide Awareness Project) to the U of C. GAP is a graphic visual display comparing abortion to other genocides around the world by showing pictures of aborted children, and pictures of other genocides around the world. The U of C says that CPL can only display the GAP boards if they face them inward so no one can see them unless they choose to walk into the circle. Read the full story here. However, the U of C doesn't make any other group turn its display boards inward. Several local media outlets have picked up this story, including the Calgary Herald who wrote an editorial on the issue.

The U of C is denying the members of CPL their Charter right to freely express their opinion. CPL has done the GAP project before, but it has always been a peaceful display. That hasn't stopped the U of C from claiming that the display might insight violence, and that is reason enough to shut it down. University campuses are supposed to be a bastion of free speech, but if my 6 years on campus has taught me anything, it's that free speech is only allowed if it is speech that the campus administrators approve of. If they don't approve, it's no longer free speech, it's hate speech. And, shocking, that's exactly what the U of C is claiming.

If the U of C is truly pro-choice (not pro-abortion) then they should have no problem with a display that shows the consequences of abortion. However, you and I both know that pro-choice really means pro-abortion in the world today, but pro-choice is a less charged term than pro-abortion. It's as though they do not trust the students, faculty and staff of the U of C to actually evaluate the issue of abortion. What are they afraid of if people see this display? Yes, it is graphic, but the truth often is. The U of C is a public institution, funded by taxpayer dollars. As such, they are bound by the Charter, and their students have the right to free speech that they do not have the right to censor.

I want to congratulate all the members of CPL who believe so much in the duty to protect the unborn that they are willing to face arrest and possible academic sanctions. That is a courageous action, and an action that will increasingly need to be taken if campuses continue down the path of denying free speech. May God Bless them and give them the strength they need next week to stand up for free speech, and more importantly the unborn.

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