Sunday, July 12, 2009

Supreme Court of Canada: Buses Cannot Refuse Political Ads

OTTAWA, July 10, 2009 ( - In an important defense of freedom of expression, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled today that busses cannot refuse ads of a political nature, rejecting the appeal of the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority (Translink) and B.C. Transit in a case brought against them by the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) and the B.C. Teachers' Federation (BCTF).

Legal experts have suggested that this decision will be important in the pro-life cause, as the principles of the case will be transferable for advertising of pro-life and other related issues on busses, bus stops, and other areas.

There has been controversy over pro-life advertising in Canada during the past year after LifeCanada launched a national education campaign in over 50 communities using a pro-life ad on busses. The ad featured a pregnant woman with the line: "Nine months. The length of time abortion is allowed in Canada. Abortion: Have we gone too far?" reported in January 2008 that the ad had been pulled by city officials in Hamilton, Fredericton, and St. John's, claiming inaccuracies in the ad, and "controversy."
Logically speaking - if those political ads comply with all the applicable laws (be that the laws that restrict campaign spending by political parties and lobby groups or the laws and by-laws that prohibit obscenity, hate mongering, libel, copyright violations etc) - what reason could there be for an advertising agency to refuse them?

And, if it's ok for the unions and student groups to use bus advertising in their campaign - why should the same service be denied to pro-lifers? After all - if, according to the OHRC decision, a Christian printer does not have the right to refuse a printing job that violates his conscience - shouldn't the same rule apply to other businesses as well?

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