ARPA Files Court Arguments Against City Censorship
In late January, ARPA filed its written arguments, also called a factum, in a court case against the City of Hamilton. ARPA Canada and ARPA Hamilton are challenging the city’s refusal to allow them to post an advertisement promoting ARPA’s Defend Girls campaign.
ARPA Hamilton first tried to post the ad, pictured below, when MP Cathay Wagantall’s bill to ban sex-selective abortion was before Parliament in the spring of 2021. The City of Hamilton turned down the ad, contending that it was “misleading” because the ad used the personal pronoun “her” in reference to a child in utero.
How is that “misleading”? Well, according to the city, a pre-born child is not technically a “human being” within the meaning of the homicide provisions of the Criminal Code, so a pre-born child is thus also not a “person.” Therefore, using a personal pronoun is misleading because it wrongly “implies personhood.”
Confused? That’s understandable. The city’s reasoning is contrived. It might be too generous to call it sophistry (i.e. a superficially plausible line of reasoning). But sadly, municipalities in Canada have a history of relying on this argument that pro-life ads are misleading merely because they imply that unborn children are human beings or persons. Either city staff and even lawyers see this as plausible, or they simply use it to conveniently censor ads they dislike.
It is therefore necessary to challenge these decisions and break down why this “reasoning” is so deeply flawed. That is what ARPA’s factum does, in considerable detail. If you’re interested in seeing how we do that, you might start by reading the first couple pages of the factum, which provide an overview of our arguments.
The City of Hamilton must file its responding arguments by late February. The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC), which lobbies cities to reject all pro-life advertising and which has been given status as an intervener in our case, has until early March to submit their arguments. With ARCC’s involvement, this court battle is effectively a two-on-one battle. But we are confident that, with God’s help and with fair-minded judges, our arguments will be well received. Keep an eye out for updates from us as this case moves through the court.