Local ARPA groups:join us in Ottawa on May 6 and 7 for meetings with MPs, a presentation to MPs and Senators about Restorative Justice, and a conference. The March for Life is the next day (May 8).
A brief legal analysis has been added as an attachment to this article (below). In short, the Court has tightly reigned in the hate speech prohibitions in Human Rights Codes but has ruled that, as long as they are carefully and strictly applied, they are justifiable and constitutional limits on freedom of expression. The entire decision is 98 pages long, so there is more to this case than that. Check out the analysis for more.
Update: Watch ARPA's Legal Counsel on Global News discussing the case here.
The Bill Whatcott case is back in the news. Many years ago, Whatcott delivered hundreds of flyers to his neighbourhood. Using those flyers, he argued forcefully, even offensively, against the promotion of homosexuality by the government in schools. Four individuals complained to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission. The Commission prosecuted Mr. Whatcott at the Human Rights Tribunal and he was found guilty of hate speech, fined $17,500 and ordered never to distribute such flyers again.
After three appeals, on October 12, 2011 the Supreme Court of Canada heard arguments from Mr. Whatcott's lawyers, from the Saskatchewan Commission's lawyers and from 25 interveners, a list that included seven government agencies, all seven of which argued for government censorship.
The day before the hearing, ARPA's legal counsel explained what is at stake in this case in a short three minute video (linked here). We encourage you to watch it to refresh your memory on what's at stake. The Supreme Court has deliberated on this case for over 16 months now. When the decision is released, we will review it and comment. In the meantime, pray for a positive result, so that the gospel can be preached without compromise.
Update: Addendum added - But what does the Bible say?
Bill 119 amended the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act in 2008, making the government-managed WSIB insurance coverage mandatory for certain categories of people in the construction industry including independent operators and sole proprietors. The fact that a self-employed, independent contractor may already have private insurance at a better rate, insuring him or her on and off the job (WSIB only insures on-site accidents) is no substitute: the law says such contractors MUST buy into the government run system.
This announcement took a long time in coming; the Office is both humanitarian and political and the appointment of an ambassador took nearly two years to finalize. ARPA participated in the initial consultations by providing a short statement on what the office should look like. You can see a PDF copy of that linked below.
Bill C-279 needs concerted action before the February 27 vote!
We have reported extensively on Bill C-279. Here is the final update and call to action: Although 15 Conservative MPs supported the bill at an earlier vote, they did so under the condition that amendments be made when the bill was studied by the Justice Committee. That Committee was unable to agree on amendments, and the bill was sent back to the House without being changed, meaning that it would probably have been defeated.
However, this week Member of Parliament Randall Garrison, the bill's sponsor, submitted a package of amendments to his bill, which will be reintroduced in the House of Commons at report stage on February 27.
The Evangelical Christian community (of which the Reformed community is a subset), together with the Conservative government is under fire again, and not just from the mainstream media.
A Christian organization that recognizes homosexual acts as "sin" (is that really news?) is under investigation because it receives federal funds for its aid projects in Uganda.
As our friend Don Hutchinson explains, "The story seeks to draw an insidious and non-existent link between an evangelical Christian ministry providing necessities of life – clean water, latrines and hygiene awareness – for the impoverished in Uganda (and several other countries), CIDA funding (spread over multiple years) and Ugandan government policy against homosexuality." (Don's entire piece is well worth reading!)
André Schutten - February 1, 2013 - (update appended, February 12, 2013) - Last week marked a new low for Canadian journalism. Three Members of Parliament were made aware of a credible allegation of 491 homicides. They sent a request to the RCMP to investigate. After they issued a press release, the Canadian Press turned the story about multiple homicides into a headline about abortion. For example, the National Post simply ran the Canadian Press story with this headline: Three Tory MPs want police to investigate abortions after 19 weeks as homicides.
I read the news release from the three MPs. There is nothing in the release suggesting that the MPs were asking the RCMP to investigate abortions. They called specifically for a criminal investigation into the deaths of children already born - babies born alive and left to die.
Between 2000 and 2009, 491 medical procedures were carried out which resulted in the live births of 491 infants. These infants were left to die. This information has been recorded by Statistics Canada. It's accurate. It's horrific. It's criminal.
Two days ago, Joyce Arthur, Executive Director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, published an open letter to Abbotsford City Council demanding the retraction of a permit. The permit allowed a pro-life group in the area to set up a memorial displaying the number of abortions in Canada every week. ARPA's legal counsel responded today with a two-page open letter, drawing attention to Ms. Arthur's mischaracterization of the law and encouraging the City Council to continue to stand up for freedom of expression. The letter is attached below.
ARPA suggests that our readers, especially in the Fraser Valley, to send words of support to the City Council.
The following letter was sent from Members of Parliament Leon Benoit, Wladyslaw Lizon, and Maurice Vellacott to the RCMP Commissioner on January 23, 2013:
Dear Commissioner Paulson,
Recent public reports have revealed the possibility of numerous breaches of the Criminal Code - to be specific, homicides - in Canada which need to be investigated.
These killings appear to have started out as attempted abortions, but the babies were born alive. At the blog, Run With Life, you will learn: "From 2000 to 2009 in Canada, there were 491 abortions, of 20 weeks gestation and greater, that resulted in live births. This means that the aborted child died after it was born.
“Legalization” of Education - Part 1: Christian Schools and Disconcerting Legal Developments
By Ted Postma, Principal of Calvin Christian School in Hamilton, ON and member of the Free Reformed Church Ethics and Public Relations Committee. (First published in the FRC Messenger, Jan 2013)
The Christian school landscape has seen an abundance of far reaching changes during the past decade. Some of the changes were welcomed and some remain quite undesirable. At one time, the call, “let schools be schools,” was a reaction to matters pertaining to a school’s pedagogy or philosophy of education. This same call has now become a reaction to a plethora of legislation and court decisions. We are living in an era which fosters the “legalization” of education. There is an intimidating body of law that deals with students, parents and teachers. Certain regulations are touching and stirring Christian school officials and parents. To ignore or cherry- pick various regulations is risky. Christian school personnel need to exercise a considerable measure of awareness and careful compliance in response to changes ushered in by applicable legislation and judicial decisions. Since I reside in the province of Ontario, my comments will mainly relate to the Ontario scene.[i]
Update: Legal talking points are attached. Please use these when meeting with your MLA. Three EasyMail letters are linked below. Let your MLA, the Education Minister, and the Premier know your concerns in minutes.
Manitoba is attempting to implement an anti-bullying law that is similar to Ontario's infamous Bill 13. The Education Minister, Ms. Nancy Allan, has presented Bill 18 in the Manitoba Legislature. Such legislation is top-down, one-size-fits-all, heavy-handed law and has little regard for local initiatives. Bill 18 also includes a requirement that all schools must accept 'gay-straight' alliance clubs and lacks any protection for religious students. It's definition of bullying is so broad that it would include policing students when they are at home and even defines the possibility of accidentally hurting someones feelings as "bullying". This approach is the wrong approach to making schools safer. The better approach is to allow local initiatives to flourish by encouraging parental involvement and school-level responsibility. To read the actual language of Bill 18, click here.
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