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Defend your freedoms, lawyer tells pro-lifers

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John Carpay encourages marchers to continue exercising freedom of expression
By Agnieszka Krawczynski

VICTORIA

The rights of Canadians are being threatened, says the president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.

“Freedom of expression is under aggressive attack,” John Carpay told about 2,000 demonstrators at the March for Life in Victoria, May 11.

He told the crowd of pro-life marchers that by being present with their signs they were exercising their rights to freedom of expression, conscience, and association.

“Freedom of expression is like a muscle. If you don’t exercise your muscle, it’s going to wither and atrophy and get weaker and weaker. If you exercise your muscles, they get stronger and stronger,” he said.

“Today you are exercising your muscles, and that’s what makes a difference in a democracy.”

Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly difficult to exercise those muscles, said Carpay, who has been practising law since 1999.

“Exercising freedom of expression in 2017 is harder than it was 30 or 20 years ago,” he said at the B.C. Legislature. In fact, just minutes earlier two men on bicycles rode past the march yelling “burn the fascists” as other passersby booed the crowd. Police also pulled over the driver of a vehicle that was honking loudly as he drove past police onto the temporarily closed street.

Photo: Two counter-protestors are seen at the March for Life.

 “We face an army of social justice warriors who are always preaching tolerance but never practise it themselves,” said Carpay.

“Many Canadians will say: ‘I’m in favour of free expression, as long as it’s not offensive.’ That’s a complete contradiction in terms,” along with “dry water or cool sunshine,” he said.

“If I have a right not to be offended, then you don’t have a right to freedom of expression.”

The JCCF has ongoing court cases in B.C., Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Nova Scotia, all of which relate to the religious, association, or expression rights of citizens.

Many of their past and present cases involve pro-life university students who have faced censorship or exorbitant fees, or have had their student clubs shut down because of their positions on abortion.

Carpay continued his remarks about freedom of expression later that evening at a fundraising dinner put on by National Campus Life Network.

He said “social justice warriors” claim to promote “diversity, equality, tolerance, progress, and inclusiveness,” which, properly understood, are good things.

“Diversity was created by God! When social justice warriors talk about it, it’s quite narrow … If you’re for diversity, that means you agree with their worldview and their narrative. If you disagree with them, you’re against diversity. It’s a complete corruption of what diversity means.”

He commented on a recent situation at an Alberta Catholic high school that came under fire for showing a pro-life video that referred to abortion in the context of the Holocaust.

Alberta Education Minister David Eggen called the video “hateful propaganda” and said it was problematic the presentation was permitted. The school apologized and promised not to show the video again.

According to Carpay, that was the “worst possible response” the school could have made. “It empowers the education minister and social justice warriors to poke further on rights.”

Instead, he said the school could have clarified the video’s message, defended its actions, and pointed out that Catholic schools are constitutionally protected.

“Why capitulate to people who are hostile to you, to the pro-life message, and to Catholic education?”

Every year, the JCCF releases a report titled the Campus Freedom Index, which measures the state of free speech at universities across the country. In its most recent report, last November, it said more than 25 out of 60 surveyed universities received a failing grade.

“It’s a battle,” Carpay said.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 May 2017 08:09  

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