OTTAWA, November 28, 2006 The Catholic Civil Rights League today criticized proposals by Canadian university students to ban pro-life groups from attaining club status on campus. The Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) debated such a motion last week, and it will be voted on December 5.
This proposal would be troubling enough in isolation, but the League knows of several similar incidents on other campuses. Students at the University of British Columbia are also being invited to vote on whether all campus clubs should be pro-choice. Information about a pro-life club was not accepted for frosh kits at University of Toronto this year, and there have been proposals to ban student Christian clubs at some universities in England.
And as League President Phil Horgan recalled, Who can forget the example set by instructors themselves at Ryersons convocation last spring, when some of the faculty turned their back on Margaret Somerville during an honorary degree presentation because they dont agree with her on the redefinition of marriage? This was a plain attempt to inhibit freedom of speech and probably sent a powerful message to students about what viewpoints to bring to class.
Freedom of religion and conscience, as well as freedom of expression, are Charter values that all universities should uphold.
The League has had many university professors among its membership since its founding over 20 years ago. We have always encouraged the courteous but vigorous and open exchange of ideas on our campuses. This proposal, which would in effect provide recognition to only one side of a contentious issue, is a proposal to limit that very freedom. It could also have implications for various religious groups that, while not focused on the abortion issue, support a pro-life philosophy.
Catholic Civil Rights League (www.ccrl.ca) assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization. The Catholic Civil Rights League is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.
For further information: Joanne McGarry, Executive Director, 416-466-8244; firstname.lastname@example.org