Friday, April 25, 2014

One more commentary on Free Speech in the National Post, last weekend / University of Calgary

A law professor sent me this link above.  The University of Calgary has been prosecuting its own students based on no existing rule that should infringe upon their activities, and this repeatedly.  The article is written by:

Calgary lawyer John Carpay is president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms. He represents the students in their court action against the University of Calgary in Wilson v. University of Calgary.

The defense is obviously based on constitutional rights of expression.  Secondly, at a University you would expect an extra measure of room for exploration and deliberation. 

"The court quoted from On Liberty by John Stuart Mill: 'He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that.' 
"In Wilson v. University of Calgary, the court on April 1, 2014, ruled against the U of C for the third time, striking down a decision of the Board of Governors which affirmed that seven students were guilty of non-academic misconduct for having set up a pro-life display on campus."

 A University is taking its own students to court repeatedly over a pro-life display, having lost cases and appeals previously.  What DO you call such measures?

 "U of C students began setting up a controversial and disturbing anti-abortion display on campus, two days each spring and two days each fall. In 2006 and 2007, the U of C posted its own warning signs nearby, stating that the students’ display was extremely graphic but protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, in 2008 the U of C began demanding that the students (on threat of expulsion) set up their display with signs facing inwards, so nobody walking by would be able to see the signs."

We are talking about a display that was up for four days per year with warning signs posted nearby, as an accommodation for the squeamish.  (You would think:  We have nothing but blood and murder presented to us on television and in our movies for our titillation and entertainment, but an aborted fetus we do not want to see, as some sort of constitutional right not to be offended.  Who will defend my right to be free of all the garbage on TV, or at the Walmart check-out stand?)

"In 2009 the U of C had its tuition-paying students charged and prosecuted for trespassing on their own campus, but the Crown withdrew the charges before trial; the university could not point to any rule, policy or regulation that the students had violated."


"Free speech should be respected at universities not because this is legally required, but because it is fundamental to the nature of the enterprise. Shielding students from ideas thought to cause offence is a disgrace. With three court losses (five, if you include unsuccessful appeals) the board of governors of the University of Calgary has some soul-searching to do."

If we were, in any other sense, a genteel and sensitive generation, this might make a little bit of sense.  But we are not.  We are bombarded with disagreeable stories continually.

The other day, a friend of mine--someone with a  rough life and difficult upbringing--and I, were talking about how awful all the shows have become.  We decided we have become so traumatized by them, that we are fleeing to real life to avoid what is presented to us as escape.  You turn on anything, and, no exaggeration, there will be a bloody murder or some adultery, at the rate of about one every 5 minutes.

But we will take our very own young people to COURT because of a graphic pro-life display put up for four days a year.  Unbelievable.


We could obviously post something more grisly.  Just go to Google Images.  There are plenty there.  I checked.

Last year, I saw some preserved fetuses at the Body Worlds Display.  First I missed them.  Somebody told me:  "Did you not see them?"   They were somewhat hidden in a closed off area to the side.  Just like the pro-life display seems to be needing accommodation, the science center exhibit allowed for avoidance, if so sought.

When I did find them, I was stunned by the fact that they all looked different and had faces with unique features.  I was used to holding plastic models that all looked the same.  But here were real people.

It was a shock, even to me.  We are aborting individuals just like each one of us.

But don't tell any one.  It's our dirty little secret, University of Calgary.

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