Kristine Kruszelnicki

Canada, the land of diversity! (But keep your beliefs on abortion to yourself)

Kristine Kruszelnicki
By Kristine Kruszelnicki

October 3, 2012 (SecularProlife.org) - Welcome to Canada. We’re a land of freedom and democracy. Unless you want to discuss the question of when human life begins. We don’t debate abortion. 

Oh it’s not that we’re all agreed on abortion. Depending on the polls and the phraseology of the questions, a significant percent of the population disagrees with status-quo - once they are made aware that abortion is legal here throughout all nine months, for any and all reasons, and is paid for by Canadian tax dollars. Since 1988, when the Supreme Court struck down the unevenly applied abortion laws that had been introduced in Prime Minister Trudeau’s 1969 Omnibus bill, Canada has remained one of few countries in the world to have absolutely no laws on abortion. Most Canadians don’t know this is our dark reality, because we’re Canadians - we’re polite.  We will kill 115,000 preborn boys and girls annually, but please don’t ask us to talk about or even question it. We don’t do that.

When the Supreme Court struck down the faulty laws in 1988, every last one of its judges said that there should be a law governing abortion in Canada, and that it was up to parliament to determine what this law should be. Nearly twenty-five years later, Canadian parliament has remained largely silent on the issue of abortion. A handful of private member’s bills have been introduced, (including an unborn victims of violence bill that would have made it a separate crime to kill a woman’s wanted fetus in an act of violence against her) but none have ever been moved into law.

This year, a private member’s bill (motion 312) was introduced by conservative MP Stephen Woodworth. The bill merely asked that a committee be put into place to study modern prenatal knowledge and re-examine Canada’s 400 year-old definition of a human being.  While the motion does not directly address abortion, the findings of such a committee would be of utter importance, due to the fact that the Canadian Charter of Rights grants life and personhood to all human beings. Currently, the Criminal Code of Canada states that a child becomes a human being only at the moment of complete birth. Who needs to study science when we have magical lines like these? 

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Motion 312 has now been defeated twice. On September 26 2012, Woodworth’s final appeal was rejected again, with 91 Members of Parliament voting in favour of allowing debate on the question of when human life begins, and 203 asking that the issue not be reopened at all. While one MP, Rona Ambrose, Minister For The Status Of Women, has caught a lot of flak for having dared to vote in favour of a debate on fetal rights (apparently she’s “unfit to defend the rights of women” if she questions sex selection abortions in Canada), other MP’s have argued that “society has moved on” and decried the “blatant attack on a woman’s right to choose.”   

The decision hardly comes as a surprise. In fact, it’s almost certainly an admission of guilt. Opponents of the bill seem to already know that an inquiry into the science of fetal development will threaten “the right to choose.” After all, if supporters of abortion were confident that life began at birth and that nothing new has been added to scientific understanding of human fetal life in 400 years, why should this inquiry frighten them?   

Parliament is not the only place that refuses to debate abortion in Canada. In 2008, the Canadian Federation of Students, a body that represents all student federations across the country, enacted a pro-choice policy that enables campus student federations to ban pro-life clubs from even existing. One after another, universities from coast to coast have denied and revoked tuition-paying pro-life students their right to assemble as official clubs on campus, while abortion advocates, like Canadian Abortion Rights Action League Joyce Arthur, compare pro-life clubs to “neo-Nazis and white supremacists”. Pro-life presentations that do take place are drowned out with shouts or daycare songs (video: St Mary’s University in Halifax, video: McGill University in Montreal) or brazenly vandalized (video: University of British Columbia), with campus police intervening by shutting down the presentation (not the violent protestors) as the source of conflict. 

Student groups that continue to run pro-life events without the official sanction of their student union, find themselves silenced by formal complaints, and further restricted by official university orders and legal threat. Pro-life students at Carleton University and at the University of Calgary were arrested and charged with trespassing on their own campuses, after violating orders to cease their presentations (video: Carleton University, video: U of Calgary). This is Canada, where the majority’s “right to not be offended” or challenged with an opposing view trumps a minority’s right to free speech. At least on this issue.

More arrests are made outside of Canada’s abortion clinics, where 500 foot bubble-zones in several provinces make it illegal to protest, stand or pray within blocks of an abortion clinic. The elderly Linda Gibbons has spent more than nine years in jail over the past couple decades, for repeatedly standing outside a Toronto clinic with a simple sign featuring a baby and the words: “Why Mom, when I have so much love to give?” Young adult Mary Wagner has also done jail time for interacting with abortion-minded clients or for handing women roses as they entered the clinic. Canadian protestors can stop traffic, get angry, even get violent without necessarily facing charges. The right to protest is a highlight of Canadian democracy! Unless you’re asking for fetal rights. That’s not cool. Off to jail you go!   

So welcome to Canada. Please feel free to express yourself here, for we are proud of our diversity. We will boast of Canada as a mosaic, a beautiful blend of cultures, values and beliefs. We will herald our democratic government where we are free to petition our representatives and trust that all our voices will be heard. But please be sure your beliefs toe the majority line and that your views aren’t controversial or offensive to anyone else. Because this is Canada. We don’t debate abortion here. 

“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong…  This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.”
— John Diefenbaker;  13th Prime Minister of Canada.

Reprinted with permission from Secular Pro-life.


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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.”

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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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