Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Ottawa FOI Part 1 - Not raising the pro-life flag was a concern for city lawyer

I recently made a freedom of Information request to the city of Ottawa for all the internal emails at the city regarding the city's decision to lower the pro-life flag last year on May 11, the same day as the March for Life.

Below is an email Rick O'Connor sent to council after falling on his sword about the "error" that was made in raising the flag.
Members of Council,
A number of Members of Council have contacted me with respect to the Proclamation and flag raising for today's March for Life.
First, I want to apologize to Members of Council with respect to today's flag raising. While the City's Flag Protocol Procedures mirror the City's Proclamation Policy in many ways, a review of this matter has determined that the request for the flag raising was made by an individual. This does not meet the criteria and, when this was discovered, the flag was taken down under my authority. The Mayor has requested a review of the Flag Protocol Procedures and the City's Proclamation Policy, which will be reported back. 
With respect to proclamations, all proclamations issued by the City of Ottawa are in accordance with a Policy adopted in 2002. The provisions in this policy reflect the law in Ontario with respect to proclamations, which ensures that the City's practices are in line with Ontario's Human Rights Code. The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has ruled that, because proclamations issued by Mayors in Ontario are a service subject to the provisions of the Human Rights Code, the refusal of a Mayor to issue a proclamation may constitute a contravention of the Human Rights Code if the decision of the Mayor was based on any reason that is protected in the Code or by case law related to the Code. Therefore, based on the requirements of human rights law, most municipalities in Ontario have chosen to either eliminate the use of proclamations altogether or issue them using broad criteria. For this reason, the City of Ottawa's Policy specifically indicates a Proclamation "should not be interpreted as an endorsement by either the Mayor or the City of Ottawa." 
Because the City of Ottawa chooses to issue proclamations, they are provided on request to groups where the request does not violate the Ontario Human Rights Code. Only proclamations that are contrary to the City of Ottawa's policies or bylaws, discriminatory, espousing hatred, violence or racism, illegal, not located within the boundaries of the City of Ottawa, politically or religiously motivated or intended for profit-making purposes may be refused. It should be noted that "politically or religiously motivated" means affiliated for or against specific political parties or candidates or religions. 
I am attaching below an email on this topic issued by my office in 2011 to Members of Council to assist them in responding to resident inquiries for your information. 
The process for issuing proclamations and approving flag raisings is overseen by the Office of Protocol to ensure that the City's policies are interpreted without a political lens and in keeping with the Ontario Human Rights Code. As the request from this anti-choice group met the test of both policies, the proclamation was issued, as it has been for many years. This is the first year the request has been made for a flag raising. It was granted on the same basis as the proclamation.
Notice how the city is quite concerned with the Human Rights Code: 
"the refusal of a Mayor to issue a proclamation may constitute a contravention of the Human Rights Code if the decision of the Mayor was based on any reason that is protected in the Code or by case law related to the Code. Therefore, based on the requirements of human rights law, most municipalities in Ontario have chosen to either eliminate the use of proclamations altogether or issue them using broad criteria."
And also notice that the flag was raised based because of the same concern with the Human Rights Code.
This is the first year the request has been made for a flag raising. It was granted on the same basis as the proclamation.
You can also read the 2011 letter that O'Connor speaks about at the link above.

More on this later.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Why Abortion is not a Right

Reprinted with permission

Citing the Supreme Court’s historic Morgentaler decision, Andrea Mrozek and Faye Sonier show why Prime Minister Trudeau gets so-called abortion rights so wrong.

January 23, 2018  |  By Andrea Mrozek with Faye Sonier

In listening to our political leaders, you’d be hard pressed to know there is no right to abortion in Canada. Take the Prime Minister’s recent comments regarding the Canada Summer Jobs program, which now requires prospective employers, from soup kitchens to summer camps, to declare support for abortion to receive a government grant to hire students. In his justification of this new policy at a recent townhall,  the Prime Minister certainly used the word “rights” often. He ardently defends “rights”—even unpopular ones (just not so unpopular as the rights of the preborn child); we can’t “restrict women’s rights” by “removing rights to abortion” as this is a “really important right that we have established.” Except that we, how to put this, haven’t.

How did the Prime Minister come to defend rights that don’t exist? He can’t make this claim on the basis of R v. Morgentaler. Yes, the 1988 decision threw out Canada’s existing abortion laws, which required the issuance of a certificate by a therapeutic abortion committee at a hospital for an abortion to be legally provided. Since not every hospital had a committee, it resulted in unequal access to abortion for women who would otherwise meet the necessary criteria.


The only justice to declare a positive right to abortion was Justice Bertha Wilson, writing in a minority dissent. Still, she didn’t declare this right unfettered throughout all nine months of pregnancy. She wrote:
The question is: at what point in the pregnancy does the protection of the foetus become such a pressing and substantial concern as to outweigh the fundamental right of the woman to decide whether or not to carry the foetus to term? At what point does the state’s interest in the protection of the foetus become “compelling” and justify state intervention in what is otherwise a matter of purely personal and private concern?
Pro-choice professor Shelley A.M. Gavigan of Osgoode Hall Law School echoes the idea that the Morgentaler decision did not create a right: “The Supreme Court’s decision, profound as it was, did not create a right to abortion for Canadian women, nor did it offer any resolution of the abortion issue.”

How is it so many believe there is a right to abortion then? It could be the language of abortion activists is becoming entrenched. Many who support “abortion rights” take exception to the term “pro-choice.” A recent book, Without Apology, Writings on Abortion in Canada identifies “pro-choice” as too conciliatory, lending credence to the notion there are good and bad reasons for abortion. “Pro-choice” does not promote the absolute entitlement of women to access abortion. When Hillary Clinton said abortions should be “safe, legal and rare” some pro-choice activists were critical. For if abortion access is necessary or a cultural good, why should the procedure be rare?

In identifying an abortion right, Canadians may also wrongly be drawing from the U.S. situation. The rough U.S. equivalent to the Morgentaler decision, Roe v. Wade of 1973 did invent, albeit on spurious grounds, the right to abortion via a “right to privacy.” But the American context is vastly different from ours.

The chasm between abortion politics, our bold “women’s rights” campaigner of a Prime Minister, and the reality of women’s experiences is very wide.
Our Supreme Court left a legislative void by striking down our law, unanimously finding that the Canadian government had a legitimate interest in creating a better law to protect the pre-born child.  Going even further than that, they stated that the Charter authorizes laws limiting abortion access. For example, Justices Beetz and Estey, both of whom concurred with the striking down of the abortion provision, wrote:
I am of the view that the protection of the foetus is and, as the Court of Appeal observed, always has been, a valid objective in Canadian criminal law... I think s. 1 of the Charter authorizes reasonable limits to be put on a woman’s right having regard to the state interest in the protection of the foetus. 
Let that sink in for a moment. In Morgentaler, the Supreme Court stated that the Charter itself justifies the legislature limiting abortion access. This is a far cry from the claim that the Morgentaler decision established a right to abortion or that advocating for legislators to develop laws to protect the pre-born child is somehow anti-Charter.

In watching the Prime Minister defend “abortion rights” it may appear as though the pro-choice side is winning a great victory these days. But democratic winds can shift, which is what justifies democratic debate in the first place. We have seen what might be a first inkling of such a shift. There’s been a rare show of media support for pro-life groups remaining eligible to receive Canada Summer Jobs. Even a Globe and Mail editorial last week said, “[c]onflating opposition to abortion with bigotry is simplistic, and no better than demagoguery.”

There are, in fact, numerous democratically legitimate arguments against declaring abortion a right. Several chapters in the above-mentioned book, Without Apology, share women’s abortion stories so their voices can be heard. So many of those stories could be lifted almost word for word and told into the next pro-life book. One woman tells her abortion doctor, “I don’t feel I have any choice;” not exactly a resounding endorsement for a positive right.

The chasm between abortion politics, our bold “women’s rights” campaigner of a Prime Minister, and the reality of women’s experiences is very wide. For every politician with bold political rhetoric defending abortion, there is a woman, mourning a basic lack of support. Falsely claiming abortion is a right won’t improve that.

Andrea Mrozek is program director of Cardus Family and founder of Faye Sonier is executive director and general legal counsel for Canadian Physicians for Life.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

2016/2017 abortion numbers for Ontario are down slightly

I've received the 2016/2017 abortion numbers for Ontario from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care: 44,109.

That's down from 44,430 in 2015/2016 by 321 abortions. That's the good news. The bad news is that there were 44,109 abortions in Ontario this past year.

Justin Trudeau's special advisor screws up

Lovely to see Joyce Arthur back peddling on her call to prevent "certain" groups from receiving funding from the summer jobs program. Clearly Arthur never anticipated the universal condemnation to Justin Trudeau's "attestation" that a qualifying organization must adhere to a mythical right to abortion.
"The employer attestation for CSJ 2018 is consistent with individual human rights in Canada, Charter rights and case law, and the Government of Canada’s commitment to human rights, which include women’s rights and women’s reproductive rights, and the rights of gender-diverse and transgender Canadians. 
The government recognizes that women’s rights are human rights. This includes sexual and reproductive rights — and the right to access safe and legal abortions. These rights are at the core of the Government of Canada’s foreign and domestic policies."
I've also noted that the media are finally pointing out that there is no right to abortion here and here. Because to date Trudeau has based all manner of policies on this mythical right (ie. banning pro-life people from being a Liberal; $650M to abortion in developing countries; etc). Which is discriminatory to say the least and most likely against the Charter he holds so dear.

And best of all the media are finally not giving Trudeau a pass on this anymore.

So my question is this. Will Trudeau finally stop talking about so-called abortion/reproductive rights like these terms actually mean something? Because if he doesn't, he's going to look rather stupid. And if he does stop talking about it, will all those policies based on something that doesn't exist, be Trudeau's house of cards?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Trudeau digs his hole deeper and deeper

Remember this letter I wrote to Justin Trudeau back in 2014?

That letter had more than 400 names on it.

Well yesterday a signatory of that letter asked me if Justin had ever replied to that latter. This is what she said:
"could you please tell me whether Justin Trudeau ever replied to the letter (with many, many signatures, including mine) expressing concern about his requiring his Liberal-party colleagues to vote pro-choice (i.e., abortion). I am curious because I used to write correspondence for Ministers and MPs and it was unheard of, back then, to ignore or not to answer a letter."
Not only did I send Mr Trudeau many subsequent emails reminding him that I was waiting for a reply, but I also sent the letter via snail mail. I guess Trudeau thinks he's a cut above regular MPs, and he doesn't need to follow the same etiquette as other MPs do, because Trudeau never replied to that letter.

Now Trudeau is getting push back on his Federal Job Program which he's disallowed us from using. And he's claiming his standard nonsense that there is a charter right to abortion, aided and abetted by the pro-abortions and their leader, extremist Joyce Arthur.

Arthur also likes to say that there is a Charter right to abortion. Of course they're both wrong but that doesn't stop them from saying it. Over and over again. I guess they think we're stupid.

Even the Americans think Trudeau's anti-pro-life actions are reprehensible.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Sign on TTC subway

"Just like us. Just like our pets. Just like our why do we treat them so badly...They are like us in all ways that matter...Sometimes they are butchered fully conscious...Don't look away from their suffering."
And I'm not talking about cows.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Something for Justin Trudeau's 2018 to do list

Dear Justin Trudeau,

Happy New Year.

Being a new year and all, it's a good time to have new beginnings don't you think? Well I've been thinking about the summer jobs program. You know how you've made pro-life groups ineligible for it? Well here's the thing with that.

Besides the fact it means you are discriminating against pro-lifers; besides the fact that you believe abortion is a Charter right when it isn't; besides the fact you expect these pro-life organizations to adhere to something you call women’s reproductive rights—a made up construct if there ever was one—besides all that, there is another aspect to this that I've been puzzling over.

It's about tax dollars. You know, the money we are forced to give you so you can do things with, on our behalf?

You see the thing is, by not allowing these organizations to get these subsidies—read taxes—you are withholding money that doesn't even belong to you. Taxes belong to the taxpayer. To me. You may be surprised at this, but pro-life organizations also pay taxes. Yes they do. And so do the people who work for them. They also pay taxes. All that money in the summer job program is ours. It's not there for your pet issues like "reproductive rights". No it's not.

These tax dollars are for the benefit for all Canadians, even those crazy Canadians who believe abortion is wrong and unethical. Those taxes are for our benefit too.

So you see, this is not even your call to discriminate against us with our own tax dollars. Because taxes don't belong to you.

I have a question for you. Since we are against abortion, and don't agree with your made up construct “women’s reproductive rights”, shouldn't we pro-life people hence forth be exempt from paying those taxes that go to the summer jobs program? This is only logical. And fair. You do understand logic don't you?

Come to think of it. You know that $650M you are sending to Africa for “reproductive rights”? Oh and all those millions and millions of dollars you spend in Canada killing pre-born children every year? Well we don't want to fund those things either.

To make your job easier, I suggest a tax credit on our income taxes is an acceptable form of reimbursement. So can you get Bill Morneau on this right away? This project will give you and Mr. Morneau a bit of a breather from all those nasty ethics investigations into the pair of you.

Patricia Maloney