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So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.—2 Thessalonians 2:15

Saturday, January 17, 2015

University of Victoria denies Charter rights: Côté responds.

Cameron Côté, a former leader of the pro life group Youth Protecting Youth, the group at the centre of the struggle for freedom of expression on the campus of the University of Victoria, has posted an article at The Bridgehead, the blog of the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform website, regarding the recent decision by the BC Supreme Court that found in favour of the University of Victoria Students' Society (UVSS).

The BC Supreme Court decision notwithstanding, the UVSS denied pro-life students their Charter right to freedom of expression. The BC Court's decision should move all freedom loving people to call for the Supreme Court of Canada to categorically reject every attempt to deprive Canadian citizens of their Charter rights!

Côté/CCBR

By Cameron Côté

Having recently received the BC Supreme Court decision involving myself, together with the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) versus the University of Victoria (UVic) and the University of Victoria Students' Society (UVSS) that stated UVic is not subject to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms when it comes to which groups they decide to allow to share their message, I've been asked a few times now if it is exciting to be involved with such a prominent and essential court case. For some reason they are surprised when I say I'm not excited at all.

While some may find it exciting to be in the middle of a controversial court case that may very well end up in the Supreme Court of Canada and have implications for generations of university students to come, I am decidedly not enthusiastic about my predicament for the very simple reason that no student holding the pro-life view should ever have fight in the court of law to have their basic right to freedom of speech and expression ensured.

On January 31st, 2013 when I first received the call from Mr. Jim Dunsdon informing me that UVic had revoked it's approval for our “Choice” Chain event scheduled for the next day, I was blown away that a university would even consider participating in such censorship, especially because of pressure applied by the UVSS, whose position and past censorship of the pro-life club had been discussed by myself and Mr. Dunsdon on numerous occasions. Though initially optimistic that UVic would see their error in directly violating the club's right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by section 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it soon became clear that I was actually going to have to take UVic to court for them to recognize their responsibility to uphold my rights and the rights of all university students. And now this.

A case that many (myself included) considered to be so clear that it could only possibly go one direction, has turned into a case that is only just beginning, signalling to university students across the country that their rights may not be as safe as they thought. Their university might actually have the right to decide whether or not their specific message is compatible with their university's commitment to foster an environment of debate and discussion. Maybe I would be excited if I was in a case that seemed like a great opportunity to expand the freedom or justice in our nation. But as it is, I'm in a case that is trying to prove that universities can't pick and choose at a moment's notice who gets to share their views on campus, and that does not have me excited in the least.
Mr. Côté is a faithful Catholic. He is a thoughtful and considerate young man whose faith and background in the sciences (Bachelor's degree/Biology) have led him into full time pro-life ministry. He and several other alumni I have known by way of the UVic daily Mass have dedicated themselves to full-time pro-life work in BC and abroad. Their witness is inspiring and humbling. They merit every ounce of material and moral support anyone can offer them.


Please say a prayer for Cam and his colleagues at the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform. Pray, too, that the Supreme Court—where the recent decision of the BC Supreme Court is sure to lead—will be granted the wisdom to uphold the inalienable right of all Canadians to speak freely. Pray that we may be able to speak truth to power.

Regardless of the outcome of any court decision that attempts to muzzle the voice of reason, we should be prepared to continue to speak truth to power in order to stop the barbaric injustice of the slaughter of innocent unborn babies.

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We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, He draws us to Himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.