Right to Life Group Files Complaint with Ontario Human Rights Commission
By Thaddeus M. Baklinski
HAMILTON, ONTARIO, April 2, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Hamilton Right to Life has taken the city of Hamilton to task for pulling a series of pro-life advertisements from its bus shelters. The pro-life group has filed a complaint with the OHRC stating that the city violated the right to freedom of expression and denied equal treatment and the right to contract on equal terms because of discrimination against its position on abortion.
The ads are part of a nation-wide pro-life campaign coordinated by Life Canada and depict a pregnant woman in profile. 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?"
Dozens of cities across Canada have the ads prominently displayed on buses and bus shelters, in newspapers and on billboards. Hamilton is one of only three cities in the country that have refused to run the ads.
According to a Hamilton Spectator report, the complaint filed with the OHRC names the City of Hamilton, transit director Don Hull, general manager of public works Scott Stewart and Councillor Brian McHattie, who personally submitted a request for the ads to be removed, saying that they were "offensive," and "totally inappropriate."
Father Ted Slaman, president of Hamilton Right to Life said that transit director Hull made the decision to pull the ads after Hamilton’s transit office received three complaints, and one of the ads was vandalized with pro-abortion graffiti.
"We don’t think it’s appropriate for that medium (bus shelters) to be used for controversial community messaging," explained Mr. Hull.
An informal poll conducted by the Spectator revealed that 70 of 92 responses said that the city should not have removed the pro-life posters.
Peter Boushy, a Hamilton lawyer and Right to Life board member, told the Spectator that "the silencing of advertising on the abortion issue is patently undemocratic. The posters are simply trying to inform the public that the unborn have a right, a human right, to life."
"If the city doesn’t reverse its decision, I can promise you we will legally pursue this issue with the utmost vigour. The process will be long, and it will be costly, but we are prepared, in the words of St. Paul, to ‘fight the good fight,’" Mr. Boushy said.
Barry Mombourquette, Hamilton Right to Life Executive Member, told LifeSiteNews, "The posters were stating a fact. Abortions are legal in this country right up to the moment a child is born. If this were not the case we would be lying. But if the facts are true, as they are, then the question posed on the poster demands consideration." "Have we gone too far?"
To contact the mayor:
Mayor Fred Eisenberger
Office of the Mayor
Hamilton City Centre
77 James Street North, Suite 230
Hamilton, ON L8R 2K3
Telephone: 905.574.FRED (3733)
Email: [email protected]
Contact information for all councilors
Hamilton transit (Hamilton Street Railway) contact information:
The Hamilton Street Railway Company
2200 Upper James Street South, R.R. #1
Mount Hope, ON L0R 1W0
Administration Telephone (905) 528-4200
Administration Fax (905) 679-7305
To send comments to the Hamilton Spectator:
The Hamilton Spectator
44 Frid Street