NewsThu Jan 17, 2008 - 12:15 pm EST
Canadian City Pulls Pro-Life Bus Shelter Ads Citing “Offensiveness”
By John Jalsevac
HAMILTON, Ontario, January 17, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The city of Hamilton Ontario has decided to pull a series of pro-life advertisements from its bus-shelters, saying that they were "offensive" and too "controversial."
The ads, which are part of a nation-wide pro-life campaign coordinated by Life Canada, depict a pregnant woman. At the top of the ad are the words, "Nine months: the length of time abortion is allowed in Canada. No medical reason needed." At the bottom is the question, "Abortion, have we gone too far?"
The ads, which include bus, transit shelter, newspaper, radio, billboard and postcard ads, are being run in dozens of cities across Canada. Fredericton, New Brunswick, and Kelowna, British Columbia are the only other cities in the country that have refused to run the ads. Kelowna Right to Life, however, has arranged for the ad to be displayed on a large billboard overlooking a main artery running into the city.
Don Hull, the city’s director of transit, explained the city’s reasons for pulling the ads, saying "We don’t think it’s appropriate for that medium to be used for controversial community messaging."
The Hamilton Spectator reports that the decision was made to pull the ads after Hamilton’s transit office received three complaints, and one of the ads was vandalized with pro-abortion graffiti. A city councilor, Brian McHattie, also personally submitted a request for the ads to be removed, saying that they were "offensive," and "totally inappropriate."
Gudrun Schultz, the executive director of LifeCanada told LifeSiteNews.com that her organization found it "disturbing" that the city would have pulled the ads based upon a mere handful of complaints.
"We find that very disturbing that that’s all it takes to remove a very innocuous pro-life ad. We’re not talking about graphic images, any of the usual complaints about pro-life ads, that they’re too visually disturbing. It’s quite a gentle image. It asks a question and states a fact."
"I’m not clear on what part of that is so offensive that it has to be taken down," she said. "It’s very unfortunate when a small part of the public raises an objection and effectively silences the rest of the community, that might very well be supportive of the issue. It’s important to note as well that our Life Canada poll has consistently shown that 2/3s of Canadians don’t support unrestricted abortion. 2/3s of Canadians can relate to our ad. That’s a pretty strong majority."
Joanne Byfield, the president of LifeCanada responded to the city’s decision, saying, "Councillor McHattie asked for the ads to be pulled because he says, ‘For me personally, it definitely was offensive.’ I wish he was more specific. Was it the image of the pregnant woman that so offended him? Was it the statement of fact in the ad: ‘Nine months: The length of time abortion is allowed in Canada. No medical reason needed’ Or was it the tag line, ‘Abortion: Have we gone too far?’"
"I’d like to thank Councillor Brian McHattie and the City of Hamilton for illustrating the point we are making in our LifeCanada ad campaign…It seems it is unacceptable to him that we are allowed to pay for advertising inviting Canadians to think about alternatives. The current climate in Canada is so abortion-friendly that a politician finds it acceptable to shut down our right to question the policy."
"We’ve definitely gone too far".
Calls to Don Hull and Brian McHattie’s offices were not returned by press time.
To contact Hamilton’s transit office:
2200 Upper James Street, R.R. #1
Mount Hope, ON
Fax: (905) 679-7305
To contact Counsellor Brian McHattie:
City Hall - 2nd Floor
71 Main Street West
Hamilton, ON L8P 4Y5
Business Phone: (905) 546-2416
Fax: (905) 546-2535
Email: [email protected]
Visit the "Abortion, have we gone too far?" ad campaign website at:
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