The GRIP team wishes to express our complete condemnation of all forms of politically-motivated hatred and violence. On October 1st, a pro-choice activist assaulted a pro-life activist at Ryerson University, that was captured on video by Toronto Against Abortion (TAA), two days after a similar incident occurred, also in Toronto. There have been reports of intimidation and harassment near abortion clinics like the Morgentaler Clinic in Ottawa.
The National Abortion Federation (NAF) found that acts of trespassing, instances of obstruction, threats of death or other harm towards those seeking abortions increased between 2016-17. Specifically, anti-abortion activity such as trespassing and obstruction towrads clinics increased about 190%.
Such incidents are not isolated, nor can they be ignored. In Canada particularly, there has been a growing polarization between pro-life and pro-choice Canadians since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau inadvertently re-opened the abortion debate with his new Summer Jobs policy. This policy discriminates against organizations in Canada, whose members hold the moral belief that abortion is wrong.
It must be acknowledged that while abortion remains legal and unrestricted in Canada, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (“Charter”) s. 2(a) provides that “everyone has the right of freedom of conscience and religion." Canadians are entitled to freedom of association and the right to nonviolently protest in places designated for public demonstrations. These rights are afforded to any Canadian who believes anything at all. In order to remain a free and democratic society, we must be willing to protect the fundamental freedoms of those who have different views and ideologies from us.
Therefore, we call upon PM Justin Trudeau, members of parliament, politicians, and civic leaders to join us in specifically condemning these forms of criminal activity such as intimidation, harassment and violence. We wholeheartedly appreciate all those who have already released statements regarding this issue, that include repealing the Summer jobs policy to prohibit people with certain moral beliefs from participating in Canada's economy. Political hatred and violence have no place in Canada or anywhere else, where freedom of thought, freedom of speech, and freedom of association must always be guaranteed.
Authors: Jashan Singh Randhawa & Gabrielle Koetsier Date: November 10, 2018