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Steve Weatherbe

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British Columbia gvmt drops its approval of Christian law school

Steve Weatherbe

The British Columbia government has reneged on its approval of Trinity Western University’s plan to start a law school at its campus just outside Vancouver in 2016. TWU, a private Christian university that already trains teachers for the province’s public schools, may have to go to court against the government to get that approval back, as it already has against the legal professions in Ontario and Nova Scotia.

These have voted to reject its law graduates in advance because in their view Trinity Western, as Canada’s only Christian, full-blown university, discriminates against homosexuals by insisting all students adhere to Christian sexual morality while enrolled.

“It was certainly anticipated that this could happen,” TWU spokesman Guy Saffold told LifeSiteNews. “But it is still disappointing.”  Asked if the university was contemplating a lawsuit against the government, he responded, “We are looking at what needs to be done to go forward.”

B.C.’s approval of TWU’s proposed faculty, standards, and curriculum was the legal foundation of its plan. But yesterday Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk withdrew it, explaining the initial approval had been contingent on the school starting operations in the fall of 2016. This, however, had been thrown into doubt by the refusal to admit TWU law grads by the legal professions of several provinces, especially British Columbia, Ontario, and Nova Scotia.

TWU had already launched lawsuits against the latter two, with the Nova Scotia suit to go on trial on December 16.  Saffold said he was sure that TWU would ultimately have to sue the British Columbia Law Society too, so adamantly was it opposed to the law school.

In the meantime, however, Saffold also said, the eastern cases might be postponed given the September 2016 deadline for starting operations had been removed.

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TWU remains confident of victory, Saffold said, because the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in the university’s favor in a similar case in 2001. Back then, it was the provincial College of Teachers, the body regulating the profession, that decided it could not issue teaching licenses to TWU’s education grads, on the grounds they would be biased against homosexual students. The Supreme Court overruled the College because TWU graduates had never shown any evidence of bias. But the high court did not considered the question of whether the school was protected under the Charter’s provisions for freedom of religion.

The three law societies that have rejected TWU argue that times have changed: homosexuality is more important, more prevalent and, therefore, oddly, needs more protection. Even a single law school in Canada holding a distinct view of religious freedom and minority rights cannot be allowed to survive.

Rod Taylor, the head of the Christian Heritage Party of British Columbia, accused British Columbia’s Liberal government of caving in to the homosexual lobby. “They should stand up for democracy, not side with the law societies,” he told LifeSiteNews.

Noting that Christians generally voted for the Liberals rather than the New Democratic opposition party, Taylor urged them, and all voters who believed in democracy, to protest to their MLAs, and even to threaten to move their vote to the CHP. “People should have a right to choose their own world view,” he said.

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