Friday, May 19, 2017

Ottawa Citizen agrees to change policy regarding pro-life letters

I think it's time we insist that newspapers use the word "pro-life" to describe us. Newspapers usually call us "anti-abortion". I took issue with this policy last week when I wrote a letter to the Ottawa Citizen after they changed a letter I wrote where I used "pro-life" to "anti-abortion"

I then contacted the Citizen and explained that I had a big problem with this change.

Then ensued a correspondence between myself and Christina Spencer, the editorial pages editor. She said they would review their policy of using the word "anti-abortion" instead of pro-life" after I explained how unfair this policy was to us, since we call ourselves "pro-life". And that, just like how editors call themselves editors and not "word-changers", we like to be called "pro-life" and not "anti-abortion".

In putting forth our position on calling ourselves "pro-life" I then explained:
"Cardinal Collins never used the word abortion in his homily. He used the words "Sanctity of Life", Gift of Life", "Cause of Life", "March for Life", etc. He also spoke about euthanasia and assisted suicide: our view is much broader than anti-abortion, it is about the sanctity of ALL life: 
"anti-abortion" is not what I wrote and definitely not what I meant. If it is the Citizens policy to use that word instead of the word we use ourselves--and the word I always use--the Citizen is manipulating my/our message. 
For someone to read my letter as it stands, who knows little or nothing about life issues, will believe that I/we call ourselves "anti-abortion" when this is simply untrue, misleading to readers, and unfair to us. 
Surely it is not the Citizen's goal to mislead/misrepresent their readers/letter writers? 
...another argument is this: It is one thing for the OC to use the word "anti-abortion" in articles written by staff members (and I don't agree with this either), but it is another thing entirely to change a letter that I have written to use the word "anti-abortion", when clearly the letter should be in my voice, not in the voice of the OC. And the same goes for Cardinal Collins: I was writing about what he said, it wasn't OC staff writing about what he said."
The Citizen has now agreed that:
"letter-writers should be given their own voices as much as possible, regardless of our other style protocols around the issue. As a result, I’ve gone in to our web file and updated your letter to use the term “pro life” where you used it."
I think this is very good news for us at the Ottawa Citizen. Now we need to educate other newspapers in Canada where this policy is practiced.

Really boring videos - prelude to Ontario election

Do you want to be bored silly? If yes then watch this video. Kathleen Wynne and company recently discovered youtube. Now she is posting really boring videos on youtube.



Somehow I ended up on a mailing list to tell me that Kathleen is live broadcasting these really boring videos.

Today's installment is about light rail in London.

The first 23 minutes of the video consists of a sign, a microphone and some trees. Blowing in the wind. 23 minutes of this. Like I said. Really boring. I am not kidding.


I wonder if there were any actual people at the announcement other than politicians?

Of course we aren't idiots in Ontario. We all know the point of these really bring videos: the Ontario election is next year. Oh, and the best part? You paid for this really boring video. Along with all those Liberal commercials the Ontario government is airing on the radio. Also paid for by your tax dollars.

Liberal strategy: Announce spending of tax dollars. Tell taxpayer how great we are. Force taxpayer to pay for us to tell them how great we are. Really boring. But effective. Brilliant really.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Jim Watson - Why did you divert our March for Life?

Jim Watson's response to my letter about his decision to take down the pro-life flag.

If you wrote, you probably received the same form letter response.

And notice how he doesn't answer my question about why the March for Life was diverted from its approved route.

I've now asked him this question three times.

Dear Ms. Maloney,
Thank you for your email with respect to the March for Life flag raising. 
The process for issuing proclamations and approving flag raisings is overseen by the Office of Protocol to ensure that the City’s policies are interpreted without a political lens and in keeping with the Ontario Human Rights Code.  As the request from the March for Life group met the test of both policies, the proclamation was issued, as it has been for many years.  This is the first year the request has been made for a flag raising.  It was granted on the same basis as the proclamation. 
While the City’s Flag Protocol Procedures mirror the City’s Proclamation Policy in many ways, a review of this matter by the City Clerk has determined that the request for the flag raising was made by an individual.  This does not meet the criteria and, when this was discovered, the flag was taken down under the authority of the City Clerk. 
With respect to proclamations, all proclamations issued by the City of Ottawa are in accordance with a Policy adopted in 2002.  The provisions in this policy reflect the law in Ontario with respect to proclamations, which ensures that the City’s practices are in line with Ontario’s Human Rights Code.  The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has ruled that, because proclamations issued by Mayors in Ontario are a service subject to the provisions of the Human Rights Code, the refusal of a Mayor to issue a proclamation may constitute a contravention of the Human Rights Code if the decision of the Mayor was based on any reason that is protected in the Code or by case law related to the Code. 
Therefore, based on the requirements of human rights law, most municipalities in Ontario have chosen to either eliminate the use of proclamations altogether or issue them using broad criteria.  For this reason, the City of Ottawa’s Policy specifically indicates a Proclamation “should not be interpreted as an endorsement by either the Mayor or the City of Ottawa.’’ 
I have requested that the City Clerk review the Flag Protocol Procedures and the City’s Proclamation Policy, and report back. 
Thank you for your feedback, 
Jim Watson 
Mayor
City of Ottawa

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

March for Life 2017 - a letter to Jim Watson

I'm pretty sure a lot of people have written to our mayor about his decision to remove the pro-life flag from City Hall. Here is one such letter that was sent to me.

To: Jim Watson, Mayor, City of Ottawa

cc: Michael Qaqish, Councillor Ward 22 - Gloucester - South Nepean

Dear Mr. Watson (copy to my City Councillor, Mr. Qaqish),

I was so proud of you and the City of Ottawa last week when I heard that the Pro-Life flag would be flying at Ottawa City Hall on the day of the National March for Life.

At the pro-life rally on Parliament Hill, again, I was so proud of you and the City when your proclamation in honour of Respect for Life Day was read out loud to the cheering crowd of Canadians who came from across our great country to stand up for all those in our society who are too vulnerable to stand up for themselves.

That pride and joy I experienced turned into confusion and disbelief when the police blocked us from continuing down our pre-approved route past the Human Rights Monument. The police chose instead to give in to the demands of a few protesters (probably less than 100 from what I could tell) and refused to let us proceed towards the Human Rights Monument. This happened last year, and so I thought for sure the police would be prepared to not let this happen again this year. (And I know that the police were warned that protesters would be there.)

Then later, when I read the letter of complaint signed by seven city Councillors (Catherine McKenney, Diane Deans, Marianne Wilkinson, Tobi Nussbaum, Jeff Leiper, Jan Harder, and Mathieu Fleury) and learned that you had actually apologized for allowing the pro-life flag to be raised and ordered it taken down, I felt like I had been punched in the gut. 

Mr. Watson, why do you (and the signatories to that offensive letter) hate us so much?

Why won't you defend the rights of those who support laws that would protect vulnerable human beings such as preborn children? (Even if you don't personally agree with that viewpoint, it is a valid one to have in a free and democratic society.) Why do you allow a handful of protesters to take away our freedom to peacefully walk along a pre-approved route in solidarity with the women who have been harmed by abortion? Why do you fly the flag for those who are proud of their LGBTQ lifestyle, but treat with contempt those who are proud of their belief in the sanctity of human life? Why the double standard?

Mr. Watson, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Human Rights Codes apply to all Canadians. Why are you treating us like second-class citizens?

I do not know if you failed last Thursday to uphold our freedoms because you personally agree with the pro-abortion/anarchist protesters who intimidated the police into diverting our March. And maybe you personally agree with the seven Councillors who signed the discriminatory letter that contained the lie that access to abortion in Canada is a constitutionally protected right, demanding the pro-life flag be taken down. (In fact, all seven Supreme Court justices in the 1988 Morgentaler decision agreed that the state has an interest in protecting the fetus; they all agreed Parliament could come up with a new abortion law to balance the interests of both women and unborn children). 

Or maybe you acted as you did because you did not have the courage to defend our democratic freedoms in the face of controversy. If that is the case, then, with respect, Mr. Watson, that is not leadership. 

But if the former--if you acted as you did because you agree with the pro-abortion/pro-euthanasia status quo in our country, that is, that there should be no legal protection at all for children in the womb; that abortion must remain fully funded by the taxpayer; that physicians should be coerced into collaborating with abortion, euthanasia, and assisted suicide against their deeply held religious and/or conscientious convictions; that a violent criminal who assaults a pregnant woman and intentionally kills the baby she did NOT choose to abort should face no consequences for killing her beloved child--if you acted as you did because you personally hold such views, then you have allowed your own personal views to cloud your judgment and take priority over your responsibility to uphold the democratic freedoms of a whole segment of Canadian society (the thousands who attended the March, and the millions across the country whom we represent).

Regardless of your motives, Mr. Watson, I'm now asking that you apologize to all who took part in the March last Thursday, and to all Canadians across the country who share our pro-life values, for the discriminatory actions taken by the City of Ottawa: the removal of the pro-life flag, your misplaced apology for allowing the flag to be raised in the first place, and the refusal by police to allow us to proceed along our pre-approved route past the Human Rights Monument.

I am especially disheartened that this discriminatory behaviour by the City of Ottawa would happen when we are celebrating our great country's 150th Anniversary. I thought we would have reached the point where our governments would treat everyone in Canada (including in Ottawa) equally and respectfully. There's nothing to celebrate about the way the City treated pro-life Canadians last week.

An apology from you, Mr. Watson, and a promise not to allow this to happen again is in the interests of the common good. It will send a clear message that our Nation's Capital is a city that respects freedom and justice, not just for some, but for all. Everyone benefits in that kind of a society.

And it will show true leadership on your part, Mr. Watson.

Thank you, and I look forward to your response.

Sincerely, 
BM

Monday, May 15, 2017

City of Ottawa council - that's what's "outrageous"

I am still waiting for a response from my counsellor Tobi Nussbaum and from Mayor Jm Watson.

Read from the bottom.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Patricia Maloney <maloneyp64@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, May 12, 2017 at 5:11 PM
Subject: Re: Pro-life flag
To: "Nussbaum, Tobi" <Tobi.Nussbaum@ottawa.ca>
Cc: "Watson, Jim (Mayor/Maire)" <Jim.Watson@ottawa.ca>, Patricia Maloney <maloneyp64@gmail.com>


Dear Tobi,

You say it is about personal conviction. This is NOT merely the conviction of one person. This is the conviction of millions of Canadians so it is not a personal conviction at all, but an entire group of people who are pro-life but who are discriminated against continually, and our rights are not protected.

Second, there is no constitutional right to abortion, and the Canada Health act does not demand abortion be covered. Please see http://www.morgentalerdecision.ca/

Third, you have not responded to why we were forced to deviate from our approved route and protected by our police force because of a handful threatening masked counter protesters.

Fourth. Tell me. Who speaks for the personal conviction of the unborn? They can't. So we do it for them. And we are silenced.

Sincerely,
Patricia Maloney



On Fri, May 12, 2017 at 4:15 PM, Nussbaum, Tobi <Tobi.Nussbaum@ottawa.ca> wrote:
Dear Patricia,

Thank you for writing to me about this important issue. I understand that people have different opinions on what happened yesterday, and it’s good to hear from all sides of the issue. I wanted to make my viewpoint clear to you.

The flag raised at city hall yesterday represented a position that includes a conviction that women should not have the right to access legal and safe abortion services in our country. It was the first time this had ever happened on public grounds at City Hall – and it should not have been allowed to happen.

The City of Ottawa’s policy on proclamation which led to the flag-raising yesterday is clear: “a proclamation will not be issued for matters that politically or religiously motivated or represent individual conviction”. The flag and proclamation that led to it clearly represented an individual conviction, and therefore had no place on public grounds.

I was proud to join my colleagues yesterday in demanding that the flag be taken down (see attached). Shortly after we released that statement, the flag was removed. 

I want to be clear that I also strongly support the right to protest and demonstrate on any political or personal issue within the bounds of what is legally permitted - as we saw in Ottawa yesterday with the annual pro-life rally. 

I hope that helps clarify my position.

Signed,

Tobi Nussbaum



Tobi Nussbaum
Councillor/Conseiller, Rideau-Rockcliffe
City of Ottawa | Ville D’Ottawa
Tel/Tél: 613-580-2483

20150115_NUSSBAUM_email-signature_Tobi-v3-150-ppi
  

From: Patricia Maloney [mailto:maloneyp64@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, May 12, 2017 12:00 PM
To: Deans, Diane; Wilkinson, Marianne; Nussbaum, Tobi; Watson, Jim (Mayor/Maire); Leiper, Jeff; jan.harder@ottawa.ca; Fleury, Mathieu
Subject: Pro-life flag

Dear Jim Watson,

I was very disappointed regarding your decision yesterday to lower the pro-life flag over city hall yesterday.

As pro-life people supporting the rights of preborn human beings, we are continually marginalized and discriminated against. This was just one more example of this kind of sanctioned behaviour.

The flag was a small symbol of what we stand for, and you bent to pressure to remove it, after allowing it to be raised. It's bad enough that Mr. Trudeau has banned pro-life people from his party; now you feel you must "apologize" for allowing us to fly our flag.

Your efforts would have been far better used in controlling the aggressive masked counter protesters, who blocked our way during our city approved March for Life. In fact can you please explain to me why these counter protesterswere allowed to block us and not reigned in?

I am so disappointed in this council for these actions, especially you and my own city councillor Tobi Nussbaum.

And please do not tell me that women have a constitutional right to abortion. This is an untruth that has been spread so often that some people still believe it is true.

We speak for preborn children who have no voice and have no protection as long as they are in the womb. These children are not a part of a woman's body and for those who say otherwise are wrong.

Sincerely,
Patricia Maloney