…effectively banning these groups is stifling political debate in a way that would ultimately be defeated in court, legal experts say.”I think a freedom-of-expression issue would be raised,” said Nathalie Des Rosiers, general counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
“In my view, probably denying the right to a pro-life group to express themselves would not be acceptable.”
The Carleton anti-abortion club was told their constitution conflicts with the association’s discrimination on campus policy. That policy reads: “any campaign, distribution, solicitation, lobbying effort, display, event etc. that seeks to limit or remove a woman’s right to choose her options in the case of pregnancy will not be supported.”
The group’s lawyer, Albertos Polizogopoulos, said that policy contradicts the association’s own governing bylaws.
Those bylaws outline one of the association’s aims as “maintaining an academic and social environment free from prejudice, exploitation, abuse or violence on the basis of, but not limited to, sex, race, language, religion, age, national or social status, political affiliation or belief, sexual orientation or marital status.”
“CUSA labels themselves as a pro-choice organization,” Polizogopoulos said. “They’re discriminating against pro-life clubs based on those pro-life clubs political beliefs.”
He said his clients plan on fighting their trespassing charges when they go to court.