HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, February 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-lifers voting for Tara Brinston in the ACTIVE-8 Atlantic Canada leadership competition that closes tonight at midnight may be wondering why their votes and pledges to help the young woman with her goal of improving the rights of persons with an intellectual disability have been rejected. It is because organizers behind the event have decided not to count pledges that bear any mark of being pro-life.

Last week, Matthew Falman of Saskatchewan Youth LifeGroup voted for Brinston with the following pledge:

“I pledge to support my own brother and others with Down Syndrome. I pledge to spread awareness that all Down Syndrome children have the right to live out their beautiful lives. I pledge to end the statistic that 9 out of 10 Down Syndrome children are aborted because of the myth that their’s is a lesser quality of life!”

But Falman’s pledge was rejected. He contacted the organizers of the competition, The Atlantic Council for International Cooperation (ACIC) and asked them why is pledge was not approved.

Rena Kulczycki, Member & Public Engagement Coordinator for ACIC responded as follows:

“Last week Tara was put in the middle of the pro/anti-choice debate without her consent. Once this was brough (sic) to her attention, she indicated to us that she would not welcome any reference to abortion in the list of pledges made on her behalf, which is why your pledge was not accepted. We would welcome your resubmission of a pledge that does not in any way refer to the abortion debate.”

The ACIC, a coalition in the Atlantic region working to achieve what they call “global sustainability encompassing social justice, human dignity, a healthy environment and participation for all” states on the website of the competition that they will review each pledge to ensure that they are “actual commitments to make a positive change in the world”.

“We retain the right to reject pledges that are offensive, harmful or irrelevant to the spirit of the campaign,” they say.

Falman responded to Kulczycki that he was “truly sad” that his pledge would not be honored.

“Like Tara, I have been inspired to support the intellectually disabled with the best gift we can give them, the gift of life where they know that they are valued, beautiful, and worth every breath they breathe! I stand firm with my pledge.”

Falman pointed out the incongruity of ACIC’s “abortion debate” criteria for acknowledging pledges. Front runner Kandace Hagen and her ambition to bring abortion to Prince Edward Island has more than one hundred pledges where the word “abortion” appears. “To support and promote the work and views of a candidate like Kandace is really asking for a debate to happen,” he said.

“Please understand,” continued Falman “that from my perspective, and that of others whose pledges were not approved due to references to abortion, the current results are not only innaccurate (sic), but unfair, as the free voices of young Canadians have been shut out.”

“While Kandace’s voice is loud and strong, my voice is silenced.”

Kulczycki told LifeSiteNews that it is against the spirit of the campaign to “pledge for one of the other ambassadors in an attempt to sabotage what Kandace is doing. Undermining the campaign of another person … is not something we support”.

Alissa Golob, Youth Coordinator for Campaign Life Coalition, told LifeSiteNews however that as a Youth Activist in Canada, she finds it “disgraceful that the Atlantic Council for International Cooperation, along with the candidate herself, have chosen to ignore the voice of the people who have pledged to make a difference in the lives of all people, including people with disabilities in and out of the womb.”

Golob believes that pledges such as Falman’s should appear in the final tally.

“The contest description says this campaign is for young Canadians who are an ‘inspiration for all of us who dream of a better world’. To deny pledges that promise to defend human life, all the while counting votes that pledge to destroy it, goes against the ACIC’s very motto for the contest.”


Contact the Atlantic Council for International Cooperation
E-mail: admin@acic-caci.org
Phone: (902) 431-2311