U of A Issues $17,500 Free Speech Fine

UAlberta Pro-Life, a registered student club, called off their on-campus demonstration after the university demanded a $17,500 security fee …

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U of A Issues $17,500 Free Speech Fine
Free speech under attack at the University of Alberta - $17,500 price tag attached to speaking on abortion issues.
Article Source: CBC News

The University of Alberta, this so called "institution of higher learning". Is once again demonstrating how backwards and how against free speech they really are. They indicated that their levy of the outrageous $17,500 "Security Fee" is necessary for any event that takes place at the chosen location on campus. How absurd. Do the math, you could hire a small private army for a day for that amount of money and the Prime Minister of Canada doesn't even walk around with that many soldiers at his side. In fact, if you take Justin Trudeau's example, on most occasions when you see him in public you would wonder if he even has a security detail, considering how he mingles amongst the masses freely.

It makes one wonder what on earth the University of Alberta thinks they are doing with imposing this heavy fine on free speech. These kinds of tactics, being implemented by "educational" institutions and local governments alike, are totalitarian nanny state politics, nothing more and nothing less. With the millions of dollars that the campus receives every year through tuition fees and government support, the university can afford to pay for insurance for their property. Apart from that, university policies, of fairness for all and the instilled view that open sharing of views without attack or violence is expected on university campuses, along with fines, expulsion, or police involvement, whichever is appropriate for the a given matter, for those students who will not abide by university policies. Oh, and by the way, one should remember that university policies are subject to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, not the other way around.

For those who have forgotten, or who perhaps have never read it to begin with, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states clearly that we are guaranteed fundamental freedoms, which should never be denied by any government or institution in Canada. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a constitutional document and is fundamental to our free society. The destruction of our rights doesn't merely affect one group, it affects us all. Take a moment and read the Charter here, and know your rights and stand up for them.

Let me quote one key section from the Charter and then I will share the cbc news article that covered this disgraceful conduct of the University of Alberta (their tactics, and their darkened minds clearly need to change):

Rights and freedoms in Canada

 The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

Fundamental Freedoms

 Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

  • (a) freedom of conscience and religion;

  • (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

  • (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and

  • (d) freedom of association.

Pretty self explanatory and clear. The university is denying the Charter rights of their students for political and, very likely, ideological reasons. Take a moment and read the CBC News article below and feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below:

University of Alberta anti-abortion group faces $17,500 security tab

A University of Alberta anti-abortion group says it's being asked to pay a high price for free speech.

UAlberta Pro-Life, a registered student club, called off their on-campus demonstration after the university asked for a $17,500 security fee.

The group held a similar protest in March 2015, which included graphic images of aborted fetuses. Their display provoked a pro-choice counter-protest, during which dissenting students tried to forcibly cover the images.

Amberlee Nicol, president of UAlberta Pro-Life, said this year's demonstration was planned from Feb. 22 to 23  and would have been almost identical to the one in 2015. She said the security fee effectively killed the event.

"They might as well have just denied us approval, because they had to have known that we wouldn't be able to pay that much money," she said.

Nicol said the images are educational and an integral part of the demonstration.

"If abortion is disturbing to look at, it raises questions — maybe we should talk about the nature of abortion itself," she said. 

"The entire point of university is to engage with controversy in a respectful and thoughtful way, and so if we cannot confront the difficult things in society in our places of higher learning, where can we confront them?"

The University of Alberta can ask student groups to pay security fees, according to the office of the dean of students. Events that involve alcohol or potential conflict between groups, such as a sporting event, are often subject to such fees.

"It's their own budget that's reducing their ability to express their views, and not something that's being imposed by the university," said Wendy Rodgers, the deputy provost of the University of Alberta.

"It's their own budget that's reducing their ability to express their views, and not something that's being imposed by the university." - Wendy Rodgers, University of Alberta deputy provost 

Every university event is analysed by a security team to decide what kind of safety measures are necessary. Rodgers said the public backlash at last year's UAlberta Pro-Life event likely factored into this year's high fee.

But Nicol said her group can't control other students' behaviour. She said her club followed procedure when registering the event, and the security fee surprised them just 11 days before they planned to protest.

"Because these people decided not to follow the rules, even though we did, we're the ones being punished for it," she said.

According to Rodgers, the university tried to work with UAlberta Pro-Life to reduce the fee by finding a less public venue for the demonstration. She said the same fee would have been applied to a pro-choice group that planned a similar event in the same location. 

"One of the purposes of the university is to promote free expression of ideas, but we do have to ensure that all of those expressions are done in safety as respectfully as possible," Rodgers said.

Group challenging security fee

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms in Calgary is now challenging the hefty security fee. John Carpay, the centre's president, said the university has trampled on the group's freedom of expression.

"If we have freedom of expression, but only as long as nobody feels hurt or offended, then we don't have freedom of expression," he said.

Carpay said pro-choice students need to acknowledge that anti-abortion students have an equal right to freedom of expression, as long as they express their views peacefully.

"If you don't stand up for somebody else's free expression rights, you're undermining your own free-expression rights."

UAlberta Pro-Life sued the university for failing to uphold freedom of speech during the 2015 demonstration. That lawsuit is ongoing.

Carpay said the security fee will be added to the same lawsuit.


Jim Blake

All glory goes to the living God, maker of the heavens and the earth, for He alone is worthy of all glory and honor and praise. I consider the sufferings of this age not worthy to be compared to what is to come for those who place their faith in the King of kings and persevere in faith, day by day, until the end.

For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.

For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.

For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.

But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;

To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.

Psalm 103:11-18

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