Pro-life ban about free speech, not comfort

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Re: “CFS-Ontario passes pro-life ban”
Feb. 5, 2007

To the editor:
The article about the Canadian Federaton of Students’ motion against pro-life groups in universities is extremely biased in our opinion.

Of the quotes that are in the article, all of them are about how negative pro-life groups are, and how they should be disbanded. The one quote from a member of the pro-life group at King’s University College was about the reviewing of the application.

Nowhere in the article does it state what our group does. We do not discriminate or try to convert others " we simply educate. We are showing the educated masses there are other options.

Recently, we had members of the Silent No More campaign come to speak at our school about their regrets about their abortions. This was not forced on anyone " it was open for anyone to come and hear both sides of the situation.

We have the right to free speech, and specifically in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as Canadian citizens we have the right to “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression.”

Banning our right to express our beliefs and opinions in a peaceful manner is banning our civil rights. If we remove this group centered around our beliefs, will other beliefs be next?
"Katie Bechard
History I
and Katie O’Rourke
Social Work I

To the editor:
Throughout the same-sex marriage debate a couple of years ago, the common theme among supporters of legalizing the practice was that the human rights of the minority could not be subjected to the will of the majority.

Where are these same guardians of free speech on a day when the CFS votes to support student unions in banning pro-life groups from campus based solely on their beliefs?

This is not a pro-life or pro-choice argument, but rather a sombre look at what is actually happening here: the removal of the rights of students to express their beliefs on campus.

Whether one agrees with the values of the group in question is simply not a factor. Freedom of speech and expression are integral pillars on which a free society is built and does not consist of the right to say nice things acceptable to the majority.

Institutions of higher education must serve as examples of these principles if they are to maintain their place in society as havens for free thought and discourse.

It is not the role of the CFS to act as an ideological compass. Its role is to represent all students. In passing this motion, the CFS is breaking the spirit of this role.

It is a sad state of affairs when any student’s right to express his or her opinion is effectively silenced by a group claiming to act in students’ interests.

This violation of rights must be taken as a call to action for all students to stand up, as painful as it may be, for an individual’s right to speak and offend.

If we fail to address the mockery of justice now, free speech will quickly become a mere privilege doled out on a whim by an unaccountable group such as CFS.
"Ryan Metcalfe
Vice-President
UWO Tories

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