I halfway figured it was a foregone conclusion anyway, but after five hours of debate last night, in the name of women’s rights, CUSA voted to pass the infamous "anti-choice" motion limiting the rights of pro-life groups to assemble and speak on the Carleton University campus by denying them equal access to resources. The vote was 26-6, with one abstention and one absence.
I was not present myself (didn’t realize until later that the meeting was open to the public), but Suzanne of Big Blue Wave and Deborah Gyapong were. You can read their reports of the night here and here, respectively.
The young-adult pastor of my church was also in attendance (along with a few of our Carleton students). He stayed a little longer than Suzanne or Deborah, and so I heard from him something about the presentation made by Don Hutchison, legal counsel for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. As a former constitutional lawyer himself, he shredded every argument CUSA could make in favour of the motion, and chastised them for taking it upon themselves to interpret the law (which, he argued, was the purview of the higher courts).
Ironically, Hutchison also said that during the 1970s, as a lawyer, he had argued in favour of of pro-choice groups receiving CUSA funding on the basis of freedom of speech. Too bad the present incarnation of the student Politburo has their heads too far up their "collective" rear (pun intended) to return the courtesy.
Another part of the discussion supposedly hinged on CUSA’s defining themselves as a "political organization" rather than a student government. Someone asked how he/she could opt out of membership in the "political organization" and having to pay fees to it. That didn’t go over too well with the CUSA people. (So much for "pro-choice"!)
All in all, this has been a disgusting episode, and one that current students, employees, and alumni of Carleton University should be ashamed of. In the name of "free speech," CUSA has presumed to define the limits of what you can say about abortion as a dues-paying club member. You can now say that a woman should carry a baby to term, or that abortion on demand is immoral, but if you dare to suggest that it should be illegal, the Kampus KGB will be coming for you.
I have no doubt that the long, public debate was nothing but lip service to public opinion; the outcome of the vote was a foregone conclusion. Meanwhile, of course, their PR machine has been vilifying the pro-life movement, calling it "discriminatory," "violence against women," and ‘hate speech," and drawing comparisons to the KKK and other white-supremacy groups; CUSA president Shawn Menard actually falsely accused the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (which sponsors the Genocide Awareness Project and employs pro-life debater Jojo Ruba) of Holocaust denial. This bit of slander has resulted in the threat of legal action against CUSA, and I hope CCBR carries through with that.
Anyway, on that sour note, I’m officially wrapping up my commentary on this particular issue and moving on, though if anything interesting further transpires, I might come back to it now and again.
Note on the image: The original propaganda poster shows Stalin pointing to a map of Russia, which I have replaced with an aerial photo of the Carleton campus. The original motto was along the lines of, “Under the leadership of Stalin, Communism moves forward!” I have used Carleton’s official motto, “Ours the Eternal Task” – or, at least, as close as I could get using Babelfish‘s English-to-Russian filter, as I don’t speak Russian. (The trick was to find an English equivalent that translated into Russian, then back into English halfway sensibly. The closest I came was “We own the eternal task.”)