Peter Baklinski

An unlikely story

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
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The unlikely story of how the boy who ‘wanted to become a teacher’ came to work for LifeSiteNews

COMBERMERE, Ontario, 19 December, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – “You will come to thank us one day for doing this to you,” my boss said reassuringly, trying to ease the blow from what he had just told me.

Yup, the words of my boss practically slammed me to the ground. In not offering me a contract for the next year, not only was I becoming officially unemployed, but I was actually being told that I would come to “thank” him for it one day.

“Yeah right,” I thought at the time. “I’m going to ‘thank you’ for taking away my ability to provide for my wife and four children, one of whom was born just yesterday? I’m going to ‘thank you’ for practically dashing to the ground my dreams of being a teacher? I’m going to ‘thank-you’ for literally throwing me and my family on the street with no prospect of work?”

I had just finished my first year of teaching at a small private school. It had always been my dream to be a teacher. Having just finished a year of studies in Australia where I was working towards a PhD degree I thought that a teaching job at a small school would be a perfect opportunity to get my ‘feet wet’ in the lifelong teaching career that I eagerly anticipated.

Boy, did I get a little more than my feet wet. But let me back up and tell you a little more of my story.

The truth will set you free

I had wanted to be a teacher since the day I became convinced that truth existed and that people would do better in life if they lived by it. That was in 1996 when I was 16. It was Euclidian geometry that did it for me.

I remember having worked through one of Euclid’s demonstrations on the blackboard and my teacher exclaiming enthusiastically: “Gaze upon this truth, let it soak into your soul. You may not find anything else in life that you know with such certainty.”

Yup, I was sold. If this was what truth was all about, then “lead me to the water,” I thought at the time. If I had been an atheist at the time, I’m sure I’d have started worshiping Mathematics as god, just like the Pythagoreans.

My newly ignited passion for truth led me to Thomas Aquinas College (TAC) in California. TAC is a small liberal arts college where students actually read and discuss the original works of the movers and shakers of western civilization, from Aristotle to Einstein. Students discussed these works in class around a big solid oak table (how awesome is that!). I encountered truths known through science, math, philosophy, and theology. I delighted in the Copernican proofs for the heliocentric nature of our solar system as much as I delighted in Aquinas’ five proofs for the existence of God.

I was intrigued by how the great thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas understood marriage and the family. I even wrote my senior thesis against an idea proposed by Plato in his work The Republic where he organizes his ideal state so that women were to be held in common by all men, men and women were to live openly together, and children were to be raised by the State, not by parents.

Around this time my future spouse Erin and I began to see that secular society was waging a serious war against marriage and family and everything that stemmed from them. We wondered how society had arrived at the point of treating unborn children as expendable commodities that could simply be discarded through abortion.

We married in 2004 (the year we graduated from TAC) and went on to study theology at the International Theological Institute in Austria. The only place I saw all this education leading was to a teaching position at some college or university or working with a diocese in the marriage and family department.

Blind faith

Now, flash forward to my boss telling me on that fateful day that I would be ‘thankful’ he had let me go. Well, I went…quietly and without making a scene. I prayed that God would give me the kind of faith that I needed to walk wherever he wanted me and my family to go. But I felt somewhat abandoned by God.

A wise holy woman told me around this time: “Pete, have a little more faith in God…He has a good plan for you up his sleeve. You just gotta trust him.” Well, I decided to take her words to heart and let ‘God take the wheel’.

Not soon after losing my job, I learned that LifeSiteNews was looking for a full time Canadian journalist. “It’s too bad I’m not a journalist,” I thought. “I’ve written a mountain of papers for school, but journalism is something I know nothing about.” I had been a LifeSiteNews addict for years but I didn’t think I had what it took to do the job.

But someone at LifeSiteNews thought otherwise. This person saw something in me that I did not see in myself and convinced me to apply for the position. I remember being somewhat incredulous about anything panning out. As part of the application process, I was asked to write a few news reports. A little training went a long way and my editors liked what they read. I got the job.

It was exciting to cover breaking reports from the worldwide pro-life front. I began to see how these reports were making a difference. But very often there were ugly things happening in the culture that nobody was giving an opinion about from a pro-life, pro-traditional family perspective. My new boss gave me permission to write editorials to get the missing perspective out there. So, I wrote a number of opinion pieces. One was about nuns on the pill. Another was about the growing number of acronyms that express ‘sexual liberation’ (LGBTTIQQ2SMAPAVMZ). One was about the real war on women. Another was about the connection between the pro-life movement and the fight for traditional marriage.

It’s kinda like teaching

It dawned on me recently that while I had lost my classroom and my students, I had gained a newsroom and a readership. Students who struggled to complete assignments were replaced by readers who eagerly demanded straight facts and the truth without compromise. I realized in a moment of epiphany that my desire to teach was strangely being fulfilled through my work at LifeSiteNews — albeit in a way that I never would have ever conceived. And furthermore, I realized that I absolutely loved doing it.

The other day I was thinking about my former boss who told me that I would ‘thank’ him for letting me go. Darn it all, if he wasn’t right after all. It sure took me a long time to admit it though.

So, to my former boss I say: “Thank you for closing a door in my face so that I would see the real door that God wanted me to walk through. I bear no grudges.” I also thank the holy woman who encouraged me to walk by faith, not by sight, through those dark times. I am sure that if it wasn’t for her, I would’ve looked in all the wrong places for the way forward. I’m also grateful to my wife Erin who never doubted that God had something good in store for our family, as long as we allowed ourselves to become like ‘lilies of the field’. “You were right darling, God had a plan.”

And a big thanks to my bosses at LifeSiteNews for gathering together what I believe is a most inspiring team of people who have dedicated their lives to shining the light of truth in the darkest recesses of our culture. I have been blessed and honored to be part of this amazing pro-life venture.

There you have it folks, the unlikely story of how the boy who dreamed of being a teacher came to work for the most unique news reporting endeavor in the world.

And let me tell you, he wouldn’t change it for anything.

And dear reader, please help LifeSiteNews reach its Christmas fundraising goal. We have such a long way to go to meet our needs. Your donation today puts much needed gasoline in one of the best media-engines of truth out there.

So please, stop whatever you’re doing right now and give the LifeSiteNews media-engine-of-truth a little gasoline donation. Believe me, any help you can give, whether it’s $5,$20, $1,000, or $10,000 dollars, helps keep this work going. I invite you right now, through your support, to join with me and the LSN team in bringing truth back to the media. It is only together that we can make a difference. Yup, I’m talking to YOU.

Join with us now!

Merry Christmas dear readers,

Peter Baklinski
Journalist
LifeSiteNews.com

To make a donation by phone or mail, click here.


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Quebec groups launch court challenge to euthanasia bill

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

As announced when the Quebec legislature adopted Bill 52, An Act respecting end-of-life care, the citizen movement Living with Dignity and the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia, representing together over 650 physicians and 17,000 citizens, filed a lawsuit before the Superior Court of Quebec in the District of Montreal on Thursday.

The lawsuit requests that the Court declare invalid all the provisions of the Act that deal with “medical aid in dying”, a term the groups say is a euphemism for euthanasia. This Act not only allows certain patients to demand that a physician provoke their death, but also grants physicians the right to cause the death of these patients by the administration of a lethal substance.

The two organizations are challenging the constitutionality of those provisions in the Act which are aimed at decriminalizing euthanasia under the euphemism “medical aid in dying”. Euthanasia constitutes a culpable homicide under Canada’s Criminal Code, and the organizations maintain that it is at the core of the exclusive federal legislative power in relation to criminal law and Quebec therefore does not have the power to adopt these provisions.

The organizations also say the impugned provisions unjustifiably infringe the rights to life and to security of patients guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. They further infringe the right to the safeguard of the dignity of the person, which is also protected by the Quebec Charter.

In view of the gravity of the situation and the urgent need to protect all vulnerable persons in Quebec, they are requesting an accelerated management of the case in order to obtain a judgment before the Act is expected to come into force on December 10, 2015.


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Colorado baker appeals gvmt ‘re-education’ order

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By LifeSiteNews staff

A Colorado cake artist who declined to use his creative talents to promote and endorse a same-sex ceremony appealed a May 30 order from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission to the Colorado Court of Appeals Wednesday.

The commission’s order requires cake artist Jack Phillips and his staff at Masterpiece Cakeshop to create cakes for same-sex celebrations, forces him to re-educate his staff that Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act means that artists must endorse all views, compels him to implement new policies to comply with the commission’s order, and requires him to file quarterly “compliance” reports for two years. The reports must include the number of patrons declined a wedding cake or any other product and state the reason for doing so to ensure he has fully eliminated his religious beliefs from his business.

“Americans should not be forced by the government – or by another citizen – to endorse or promote ideas with which they disagree,” said the cake artist’s lead counsel Nicolle Martin, an attorney allied with Alliance Defending Freedom. “This is not about the people who asked for a cake; it’s about the message the cake communicates. Just as Jack doesn’t create baked works of art for other events with which he disagrees, he doesn’t create cake art for same-sex ceremonies regardless of who walks in the door to place the order.”

“In America, we don’t force artists to create expression that is contrary to their convictions,” added Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “A paint artist who identifies as homosexual shouldn’t be intimidated into creating a painting that celebrates one-man, one-woman marriage. A pro-life photographer shouldn’t be forced to work a pro-abortion rally. And Christian cake artists shouldn’t be punished for declining to participate in a same-sex ceremony or promote its message.”

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

In July 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins asked Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to make a wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex ceremony. In an exchange lasting about 30 seconds, Phillips politely declined, explaining that he would gladly make them any other type of baked item they wanted but that he could not make a cake promoting a same-sex ceremony because of his faith. Craig and Mullins, now represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, immediately left the shop and later filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. The case now goes to the Colorado Court of Appeals as Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Craig.

“Jack, and other cake artists like him – such as those seen on TV shows like ‘Ace of Cakes’ and ‘Cake Boss’ – prepare unique creations that are inherently expressive,” Tedesco explained. “Jack invests many hours in the wedding cake creative process, which includes meeting the clients, designing and sketching the cake, and then baking, sculpting, and decorating it. The ACLU calls Jack a mere ‘retail service provider,’ but, in fact, he is an artist who uses his talents and abilities to create expression that the First Amendment fully protects."

Celebrity cake artists have written publicly about their art and the significant expressive work that goes into the artistic design process for wedding cakes.


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Prisoner of conscience Mary Wagner appeals her conviction

Tony Gosgnach
By Tony Gosgnach

TORONTO -- As promised, Mary Wagner has, through her counsel Dr. Charles Lugosi, filed a formal notice of appeal on numerous points regarding her recent, almost two-year-long court case that ended on June 12.

Justice Fergus O’Donnell of the Ontario Court of Justice rejected every application made by the defence – including for access to abortion center records, public funding, standing for a constitutional challenge and for expert witnesses to be heard – before he found Wagner guilty and sentenced her to five months in jail on a charge of mischief and four months on four counts of failing to comply with probation orders.

He further levied two years of probation, with terms that she stay at least 100 metres away from any abortion site. However, because Wagner had spent a greater time in jail than the sentence, she was freed immediately. She had been arrested at the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site on Lawrence Avenue West in Toronto on August 15, 2012 after attempting to speak to abortion-bound women there. She then spent the duration of the trial in prison for refusing to sign bail conditions requiring her to stay away from abortion sites.

Wagner is using the matter as a test case to challenge the current definition of a human being in Canadian law – that is, that a human being is legally recognized as such only after he or she has fully emerged from the birth canal in a breathing state.

Wagner’s notice states the appeal is regarding:

  • Her conviction and sentence on a single count of mischief (interference with property),
  • Her conviction and sentence on four counts of breach of probation,
  • The order denying public funding,
  • The order denying the disclosure of third-party records,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts on the applicant’s constitutional challenge concerning the constitutional validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts concerning the construction of Section 37 of the Criminal Code,
  • The probation order denying Wagner her constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion on all public sidewalks and public areas within 100 metres of places where abortions are committed,
  • And each conviction and sentence and all orders and rulings made by O’Donnell.

In the notice of appeal, Lugosi cites numerous points on which O’Donnell erred:

  • He denied Wagner her constitutional right to make full answer and defence.
  • He denied Wagner her right to rely on Section 37 of the Criminal Code, which permits “everyone” to come to the third-party defence and rescue of any human being (in this case, the preborn) facing imminent assault.
  • He decided the factual basis of Wagner’s constitutional arguments was a waste of the court’s time and that no purpose would have been served by having an evidentiary hearing on her Charter application because, in the current state of Canadian law, it had no possibility of success.
  • He misapplied case law and prejudged the case, “giving rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias and impeding the legal evolution of the law to adapt to new circumstances, knowledge and changed societal values and morals.”
  • He accepted the Crown’s submission that it is beyond the jurisdiction of the courts to question the jurisdiction of Parliament legally to define “human being” in any manner Parliament sees fit.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code is not beyond the powers of Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code does not violate the Preamble to, as well as Sections 7, 11(d), 15 and 26, of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • He denied Wagner standing to raise a constitutional challenge to the validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code.
  • He ruled that Section 223 of the Criminal Code applied generally throughout the entire Criminal Code and used it to deny unborn human beings the benefit of equal protection as born human beings under Section 37 of the Criminal Code.
  • He denied the production and disclosure of third-party records in the possession of the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site, although the records were required to prove Wagner was justified in using reasonable force in the form of oral and written words to try to persuade pregnant mothers from killing their unborn children by abortion.
  • He denied Wagner the defence of Section 37 of the Criminal Code by ruling unborn children did not come within the scope of human beings eligible to be protected by a third party.
  • He ruled Wagner did not come within the scope of Section 37 because she was found to be non-violent (in that she did not use physical force).
  • He ruled the unborn children Wagner was trying to rescue were not under her protection.
  • He denied Wagner the common-law defences of necessity and the rescue of third parties in need of protection.
  • He denied Wagner public funding to make full answer and defence for a constitutional test case of great public importance and national significance.
  • He imposed an unconstitutional sentence upon Wagner by, in effect, imposing an injunction as a condition of probation, contrary to her constitutional rights of free speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.

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Among the orders Lugosi is seeking are:

  • That an appeal be allowed against conviction on all counts and that a verdict of acquittal be entered on all counts,
  • That Section 223 of the Criminal Code be found unconstitutional  and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, as well as the unwritten constitution of Canada,
  • That the sentence be declared unconstitutional and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and the unwritten constitution of Canada or that a new trial be conducted, with Wagner permitted to make full answer and defence, be given standing to make a constitutional attack on Section 223 of the Criminal Code, with the admission of expert witnesses,
  • That the Women’s Care Clinic abortion site be made to produce third-party records pertaining to patients seen on August 15, 2012 (when Wagner entered the site),
  • And that there be public funding for two defence counsels at any retrial and for any appeal related to the case.

No date has yet been established for a decision on the appeal or hearings.

A defence fund for Wagner’s case is still raising money. Details on how to contribute to it can be found here.


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