Where is the outrage? Or does the Canadian society allow for selective prejudice on issues that are “politically incorrect”? Here are two scenarios to consider:
On March 21st, Justice S.F. Clements of the Ontario Court of Justice told pro-life activist Mary Wagner, “Your God is wrong”. The court hearing, which resulted in Ms. Wagner’s conviction of mischief and breach of probation, included the following statement by the judge, “Ms. Wagner is smiling. You don’t get it, do you Ms. Wagner?” Then he continued, “If you think that you have some higher moral authority that allows you to break the rule of law, that allows you to go to that clinic to allow you to disregard the rights of other people to use that clinic to disrespect those people, then you are wrong and your God is wrong, because no God would tolerate that.”
Justice Clements proposes to speak for God, and even more he claims to have knowledge of all religions and deities, as evidenced in the phrase, “no God would tolerate that”. As far as his comment about “the rights of other people”, some of those people are living in their mother’s womb.
Other than an article in the National Post on June 7th, 2012, the national media virtually ignored the story. There has been no hearing into the judge’s conduct, sending the message that flagrant prejudice against pro-life Christians is allowed.
Judge Clements added the following in response to a request from Ms. Wagner’s defense lawyer that she receive no additional prison sentence, considering the time she had already served. “You know, get a grip. She sure wouldn’t like it if somebody was standing on her doorstep every day pushing her around. If I had the power to do that, that is what I would do. I would have somebody in her face every day, go and rattle her door. How would she like that?” Again there was virtually no reaction from the national media about this highly prejudicial statement.
While Ms. Wagner broke the law by conducting a protest within the 500 meter limit imposed by the court for an abortion clinic, this hardly compares with harassing someone in their place of residence. The abortion clinic is publicly funded, and should expect a higher degree of scrutiny than a private home.
Now on to the second scenario:
Picture on the one hand rioters, whether in Quebec, at the Toronto G7 summit, or after the Vancouver Canucks lost the Stanley Cup in 2011. While there are some arrests, most are never prosecuted, and some of the vandals are never held accountable. Contrast this with the 63 year old grandmother Linda Gibbons, another Canadian pro-life activist who has been arrested more than 20 times, and spent a total of ten years in jail over the past two decades. Her crime has been that she violates an 18 year old injunction against waving signs or conducting even a silent protest outside an abortion clinic.
Ms. Gibbons stands unobtrusively on the street corner and prays, while holding a few pamphlets and a palm sized model of a fetus with a sign of a crying baby that reads, “Why mom, when I have so much love to give?” Within 45 minutes, the same police, which at times seem willing to allow protestors a free hand to go on a rampage, are not hesitant to swoop down in large numbers and handcuff the diminutive Ms. Gibbons. Is this because pro-life activism is ‘politically incorrect’, and the police know that Ms. Gibbons will not get the support of civil liberties groups or the media?
Canada stands alongside nations like North Korea, Cuba and Russia, making abortion available, without examination, without explanation and without legal restriction. In our country, the topic is seemingly not allowed in the public agenda, and when prejudices occur, the media turns a blind eye.
This Wagner case is up for appeal probably in the fall, and earlier this month Canada’s Supreme Court sided against Ms. Gibbons with an 8 – 1 vote, when asked to rule on a technical matter, whether it’s right for Ms. Gibbons to be charged criminally for a civil violation. Ms. Gibbons is currently in jail. Apart from citing a higher power supporting her actions, Ms. Gibbons always maintains that she, according to the Canadian Charter of Rights, has the right to peaceful protest, and that she has been unfairly punished because of her unpopular views.
Is the God of Ms. Gibbons and Ms. Wagner wrong? In my opinion, that’s too heady stuff for an Ontario judge.