Press Release: ARPA Canada intervenes in TWU case this week



November 30, 2017

For immediate release from the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) Canada

November 29, 2017

ARPA Canada intervenes in TWU case this week

OTTAWA – On Thursday and Friday the Supreme Court of Canada will hear the Trinity Western University case. The law societies in British Columbia and Ontario refused to accept graduates from the Christian university’s proposed law school because of TWU’s Community Covenant, which requires students, among other things, to refrain from sexual intimacy outside of a heterosexual marriage. Trinity Western has asked the courts to overturn these decisions, arguing they violate the Charter section 2(a) guarantee of freedom of religion and section 2(d) guarantee of freedom of association.The law societies have justified their decisions by claiming it is not in the public interest to allow a school to effectively exclude most LGBTQ students, evoking the equality language from section 15 of the Charter.

André Schutten, ARPA Canada’s Director of Law & Policy, will be arguing at the Supreme Court of Canada. He will argue that the Charter’s section 15 equality right is infringed, not by Trinity Western, but by the law societies against Trinity Western students. “In order to determine whether something is discrimination we rely not on hurt feelings, but on legal test.” Schutten said. The reality is, while there may be those who disagree with Trinity Western’s covenant – it is legally and constitutionally protected.

And there is good reason to protect it. One of Canada’s fundamental freedoms is that of association. “Association, by definition, requires the freedom for members of a community to define for themselves who they are.”

While Trinity Western is exercising their freedom of association, the law societies as government actors are bound by the Charter not to discriminate on the basis of religion against Trinity Western students. And yet their sole reason for rejecting them is because of the religious views espoused in Trinity Western’s Covenant.

The Supreme Court of Canada needs to hold the law societies to account for their discrimination and overturn their decisions.

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Interview requests:

ARPA Canada’s Director of Law & Policy, André Schutten, is available for comment via phone/email or in person in Ottawa. To arrange an interview contact Hannah Sikkema, media facilitator at 1-866-691-2772, ext. 1 or [email protected].

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