I’m not usually one for criticizing the cops, but I just watched the video of our pro-life friends being arrested. I am not impressed.
In the first 2 minutes, the pro-lifers express solid and valid legal arguments to defend their right to protest on campus:
- The Charter of Rights and Freedoms gives them a general right to freedom of speech.
- The Students Rights and Responsibilities Act gives them specific rights, as tuition paying students at Carleton University, to protest on campus.
- Jurisprudence has confirmed these rights in previous court cases.
Those students were well prepared!
The job of the cops is to enforce the laws, so you’d think these arguments would be important to them. So how does the lead police officer respond to these legal arguments? At 2:05 of the video, when the students have finished presenting their arguments, you see police officer have an awkward pause. Clearly he was stumped and caught off guard by the arguments. Then he flashes a condescending smile and says “Anyway, your choice”. In other words, he’s saying “Whatever!” He’s thus totally ignoring and discarding the argumentation presented to him. In between the lines, he’s essentially saying: “I don’t care about your arguments. The guy in the suit told me to arrest you so I’m gonna haul you away if you don’t obey me.”
That was pathetic. Shame on the Ottawa Police.
As a law-enforcement officer, his duty is to enforce the law and not be the puppet of the guy in the suit. He must show enough independence from both sides to make an honest assessment of the legality of what he’s witnessing. In case of doubt, he must give the defendants the benefit of the doubt (innocent until proven guilty, right?) until he has a chance to call headquarters and verify whether an offense is actually being committed.
Instead, he let himself be manipulated by the suit. Disgraceful.
He doesn’t even hide it! His only “rebuttal” to the students is: “You’ve been advised by the Director of Safety and Security here, uh, we are acting as his support, he has requested the support of the Ottawa Police.” So what? If no crime is being committed, I don’t care if the Prime Minister asked for your assistance. You can’t arrest innocent people.
At this point, Ruth Lobo comes back with her strongest arguments as described above. She actually pulls out a binder and quotes the law in front of the cops! She also quotes the University’s own policies upholding freedom of speech and reiterates her rights to criticize the University and society at large.
How does the cop respond? He becomes more forceful, apparently because he realizes that Ruth is humiliating him badly in front of the cameras. He says: “Okay, that’s fine. So you’ve criticized the university and, okay, we’ve made our point. Again, now, this is over”, as he waves his hand over the signs.
Did you get that? They’ve already had their protest and they’ve already made their point. Their right to protest was limited to the 3 minutes that the cops allowed them until they arrested them. Funny how that works, isn’t it?
And that was the end of it. The handcuffs came out and the goonery began.
We should raise this with the mayoral candidates ASAP and get their reactions to this disgrace. If elected Mayor, what will you do to protect freedom of speech from police abuse? The election is in about 2 weeks. We need to know NOW.