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Emily Price

Opinion,

Ontario’s new leader should restore free speech to pro-life advocates

Emily Price

October 5, 2018 (Campaign Life Coalition) – In just under a month, it will have been a full year since Bill 163, also known as the abortion bubble zone law, came crashing down on human freedom across Ontario with dictatorial finesse. While Ontario’s government under Kathleen Wynne stripped pro-lifers of free speech, the UK government, however, recently refused to walk down that same road. 

The reasons given by the UK government for not enacting an abortion bubble zone law is something that new Ontario leader Doug Ford may want to take note of. After all, Ford has stressed that protecting free speech from the ongoing assault by liberal ideologues is a high priority for his administration.

A pivotal moment in Ontario’s history, the passing of the Safe Access to Abortion Services Act on October 25, 2017, dealt a threefold blow to the so-called ‘protected’ democratic freedoms of pro-life Canadians by directly infringing upon their rights to free speech, expression, and assembly. 

The bill, which was fast-tracked through the legislature in two weeks, established zones of 50 to 150 meters around abortion facilities where protesters are not permitted to stand — sorry, let’s be honest — where pro-life protesters are not allowed to stand. 

The bill was ushered in on exaggerated accounts of violence and harassment that were supposedly experienced by clients and staff entering the facilities. Most activists don’t say even a single word while they stand on the cement sidewalks all across the country in whatever weather nature decides to send their way. In fact, a request for information back in October of 2017 revealed that, at the Morgentaler abortion Facility in Ottawa, (the abortuary at the center of the debate), there were a total of 64 police reports between January 1, 2014 and June 1, 2017. 

Most of them “were false alarms, canceled calls, administrative issues, and other minor issues.” 

The report goes on to say that “in this three year, five month period, there were exactly two level 1 assaults" (Police confirmed that these level 1 assaults had no injuries and no one was charged) Furthermore, not only were there only two reported cases of level 1 assaults but it was “unknown if the assaults were perpetrated against pro-life or against pro-choice people.” 

The desperate “need” that Bill 163 apparently sought to rectify was a blatant lie. 

Therefore, it was a chilling blow indeed for pro-life advocates to have their right to disagree suddenly stripped from them.

While pro-lifers are having their freedoms removed in Canada, it’s a different story unfolding in the United Kingdom – a story that just might be powerful enough to give Ontario Premier Doug Ford a box to stand on in the fight to regain the democratic right of free speech in Ontario and set a precedent for the rest of Canada.

Last month, pro-lifers and free speech advocates in the UK had a great reason to celebrate: The Home Secretary of the United Kingdom rejected demands to impose a buffer zone on pro-life protesters outside of abortion facilities. Had the request been approved, the buffer zones would have been applicable all across England and Wales. 

But it wasn’t approved. 

And the irony of the whole situation is that the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, rejected the proposal for much the same reasons that pro-lifers in Canada had used to argue against the same legislative proposal that was passed in Ontario on October 25th of last year.

While a review in the UK had allegedly reported some cases of harassment or other inappropriate behavior at pro-life vigils, Javid was adamant that they were “not the norm” and that “introducing national buffer zones would not be a proportionate response, considering the experiences of the majority of hospitals and clinics, and considering that the majority of activities are more passive in nature." 

Furthermore, as was also argued by Campaign Life Coalition and other groups that appeared before the Standing Committee discussing Bill 163, Javid pointed out that current legislation already had existing mechanisms to “restrict activities that cause harm to others.” 

For pro-life residents in Ontario, the timing of this monumental victory in the UK could not be better. With Doug Ford as the newly elected premier of Ontario, they have an opportunity to make a difference in the defense of free speech not just for themselves, but for all of Canada. 

If pro-life speech, expression, and assembly can be defended in the UK, then why not in Canada?

To this end, Campaign Life Coalition has created a petition to encourage the Premier to fulfill his promise to defend free speech.

The bubble zones are a keen example of just how undemocratic the previous Liberal government had become, especially in their disregard for true and authentic human rights. The “no free speech zones” outside of abortion facilities fly directly in the face of the fundamental freedoms of Canadian citizens that are listed in the Charter as follows:

(a) freedom of conscience and religion;

(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and

(d) freedom of association.

With the totalitarian Wynne Liberal government out of commission, now is time to reclaim freedom of speech in this province and around the country. 

Please sign Campaign Life Coalition’s petition urging Doug Ford to undo his predecessor’s wrong. 

What kind of country do you envision for your children? Does it involve having the right to disagree with the majority opinion without the fear of punishment, discrimination or retribution? Then start building that future today. Sometimes it’s the smallest acts that make the biggest difference. In this case, all free speech needs is a signature. 

Sign here.

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