FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Censorship Case at Carleton University Heats Up
Carleton University Applies to Strike Pro-Life Lawsuit a Second Time
December 8, 2011. Carleton University has brought a second motion to strike the lawsuit against them put forward by two pro-life Carleton students, Ruth (Lobo) Shaw and John Nicholas McLeod in February 2010. In October 2011, Carleton University had (Lobo) Shaw and McLeod arrested for attempting to exhibit a pro-life display thereby violating the rights of the students to freedom of expression, freedom from discrimination and freedom of security. The Statement of Claim, which is the document initiating the lawsuit, claims that Carleton University is acting as a delegate of the Province of Ontario in providing post-secondary education to the general public.
The University is attempting to strike the claim that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies to the University and its actions in the context of this litigation. They are also attempting to strike the claim that the University and members of its administration were negligent.
“Carleton University brought a motion to strike our Statement of Claim. If they are successful, our lawsuit will end. Our lawsuit survived their first motion to strike but, as they were unsuccessful in having our entire claim thrown out, they are now bringing this second motion on the same grounds. Their actions give the impression that the University does not want this matter to be addressed by a court.” said Ruth (Lobo) Shaw, former President of Carleton Lifeline and a Plaintiff in the lawsuit. “Are members of Carleton University’s administration concerned that an impartial judge would rule that the university violated the rights of their students?”
If Carleton University is successful in their motion, Carleton Lifeline’s claims of negligence and violation of Charter rights will be dismissed.
“We are dismayed that the University is continuing with this aggressive approach” said John Nicholas McLeod, current President of Carleton Lifeline and a Plaintiff in the lawsuit. “We had our rights violated and our voices censored. We decided to fight for our rights and Carleton University has employed tactics which are delaying a trial and increasing legal costs. In fact, in October, we were ordered to pay over $18,000 towards Carleton University’s legal costs for the first motion they brought.
All relevant information regarding the censorship against Carleton Lifeline by Carleton University, including all court documents and video footage of the arrest, can be found at www.carletonlifeline.wordpress.com.
For more information please visit www.carletonlifeline.wordress.com or contact Lifeline’s lawyer Albertos Polizogopoulos at 613-241-2701.
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Here’s the memo:
The University had argued that the Charter only applied to “government actors and government actions,” not to the University itself since it was a private entity.
But the judge found that the University carried out “specific” governmental work by providing post-secondary education to the public in Alberta, making its actions subject to scrutiny under the Charter.
“The university is the vehicle through which the government offers individuals the opportunity to participate in the post-secondary education system,” the judge said.
“Mr. Whatcott entered the university property with a purpose to distribute his literature to students, staff and public,” said the judge, adding, “Traditionally, universities have been places for the exchange of ideas” and the “concept of free expression is part of the University of Calgary philosophy.”
“His activity was peaceful and presented no harm to the university structures or those who frequented the campus. … Although Mr. Whatcott’s pamphlet is not scholarly, freedom of speech is not limited to academic works.”
In conclusion, Judge Bascom found that “the means used by campus security halted Mr. Whatcott’s distribution of these flyers and violated his right of free expression.”
The judge also lifted the University’s ban against Whatcott that would have indefinitely prohibited him from setting foot on the campus again, stating that the ban was “arbitrary and unfair.”
“Preventing the peaceful distribution of leaflets that an individual attendee finds offensive does not relate to an objective that is pressing and substantial,” said the judge.
Nota bene to the Abortionists at Censorship U.: You are going to lose.