Question: Is there anything the police could do if either side did not abide by that? [agreement to limit picketing]


Scott: We may have other, we may if that eventuality occurs, have to deal with other steps.  But let me just put this to you.  What you’re asking is “What do we do if people do not follow this lead and do not co-operate?”  I want to make clear, first of all, that in my opinion anybody who doesn’t respect this reasonable request exhibits contempt for his neighbourhood, his community, and has responsibility for any injury that may occur.  And I don’t believe the citizens of the city will tolerate that kind of irresponsibility.  I am confident that this will have a result.


Question: The president of Right to Life Association considers this an infringement of democratic rights to assemble peacefully and be in a demonstration.


Scott: I think he’s wrong.


Question:  She.


Scott: She.


Question: What charges would you consider if these suggestions are not obeyed?


Scott: A number of charges have been laid and are proceeding through the courts.  The problem is not one that can be resolved by the simply laying of charges.  The real danger is the number of people who are there who may not by themselves be committing any particular offence.  It is their presence, blocking the street, damaging the businesses, driving away clientele, and in a number of cases interfering with people in their back yards along the lane.  That is the problem.  They’ve got to be stopped if we live in a civilized society.


Question: How do you reconcile this type of announcement with police protection of an already illegal activity at 85 Harbord?


Scott: There’s no police protection of anything.  Police aren’t protecting anybody.  What the police are doing is regulating a demonstration which on more than one occasion has got out of control.


Question: Excuse me, but police told abortionist Nikki Colodny the other day [at the ‘clinic’] that what she was doing was illegal and we know that what Morgentaler is doing is illegal.  Now would it not be easier to shut down the ‘clinic’?


Scott: The important thing to notice is that Dr. Morgentaler has been acquitted and has not been convicted of any crime, although an appeal has been taken by my department.  He has been acquitted.  The job of the police in these circumstances is not to protect any business or any point of view.  The job of the police is to regulate these masses of people.  And it’s a very difficult task, and I regard this initiative by the Cardinal and Mrs. Scarborough as a great public service.


Question: What is the magic of the number five and is there any guarantee that five won’t do what 50 would do?


Scott: There’s no magic in the number five.  The “magic,” if such it is, is in the dimensions.  I believe and I would fiercely advance the right of people to communicate information by picketing.  The buildings are only 15 feet wide or something like that.  That can be achieved by five picketers from each side with their billboards and signs.  Not more than five are needed to communicate democratic right.  What we’re concerned about are the hundreds of people who try to participate in the exercise.


Question: What would you do if 500 people showed up tomorrow?


Scott: We’d have to deal with that tomorrow.  We have laid charges in those cases where the police think they are appropriate.


Question: If people simply show up to picket…will you lay charges?


Scott: There are certain charges available under the Criminal Code with respect to “causing a disturbance.”  There are certain difficulties.  I hope it won’t be necessary to get into that kind of litigation.


Question: If what is being done by either side is not illegal, how can you make this request when there are various groups involved here.  Certainly more than the Catholic Church, and certainly more than the other side…


Scott: The purpose of picketing under our law is to convey information and for no other purpose.  It is not there to bar people from entering, it is not there to impede others from passing by; it is not there to damage business.  It is there under the law to convey information.  That can be done by a modest number of pickets.  I think at this stage we do everything we can to minimize the risk of injury to say nothing of the inconvenience.  Mrs. Harbinson [leader of the Harbord Street Association] has been writing to the government for a long time: “Please do something to save our businesses.”  This is what we are doing.  The problem is that we can’t apply to the courts.  The Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench has said that you can’t get an injunction to enforce the criminal law.  What we are doing now is we are doing this.


Question: Given the strong views that are held on both sides of this issue, do you think you are going to be listened to?


Scott: It is not merely me asking, it is important, widely-respected leadership on both sides and that, it seems, is the significance of what’s happening today.


Question: For some of the groups Cardinal Carter is not the leader, they’re not going to listen.


Scott: That may be.  I believe that any responsible citizen who doesn’t listen to this request of Cardinal Carter and Mrs. Scarborough, and doesn’t give serious consideration to honouring it exhibits contempt for his neighbour and has some responsibility if injury occurs.


Question: What are you going to charge them with?


Scott: Well the problem is that you can’t lay charges until an injury has occurred.  I don’t want an injury to occur because masses of pickets are in that street.  I can’t get an injunction under the present law and I have taken steps with the help of these two leaders not to lay charges after an injury has occurred but to see if we can’t prevent one.


Question: Would you need more police protection?


Scott: There are many police who are monitoring the situation.  They can’t intervene until an offence has occurred.


Question: Doesn’t this ser a precedent that the government can step in whenever there is a demonstration…on any issue?


Scott: The government is not stepping in except to this extent.  The government has invited Cardinal Carter and Mrs. Scarborough to make public this position which they have accepted.  They are the moral leaders in this proceeding and I compliment them for it.  That is no application for any other situation.


Question: The last time that Cardinal Carter made a public appeal it was about the Pope’s visit and the [tape inaudible] that fell on deaf ears…What makes you think pro-lifers will listen?


Scott: I think what we have here…if it’s true that not all the persons who are involved are adherents of the groups that Cardinal Carter leads, or Mrs. Scarborough leads.  But what we have here is the substantial leadership on both sides of the dispute who agree on the nature of the problem and n the nature of the solution, and I find it hard to believe that any sane sensible person could ignore their views.  They should consider them, they might reject them, but I think they have to seriously consider what these two important residents of our city are saying about the consequences of this conduct.


Question: Yes, but Cardinal Carter could have given his own press conference.  What would you do if 200 people show up tomorrow?  What will happen?


Scott: If that occurs we’ll have a press conference and tell you then.  But I can tell you that steps have to be taken to resolve this problem.


Question: I’m wondering why Cardinal Carter?  Did you approach Laura McArthur or Ken Campbell, people who are directly involved in running the protest?


Scott: No.  I did not.  I deliberately sought out to meet the two people I thought represented the high level of responsible moral leadership on both sides.  I met with the two of them separately and I discussed it with them and I again emphasize that, seeing the problem, they both responded quickly, as you would expect.


Question: But why wouldn’t you deal with those directly involved with the protest?


Scott: I was interested in getting two senior responsible moral leaders.  I got two. 


Question: The latest issue of The Interim, Canada’s National Pro-Life Newspaper, says that the Peterson government is planning to open up abortion clinics across Ontario.  Do you have any comment on this?


Scott: I have no comment on that.  We’re not here today to talk about abortion we’re here today to talk about mass demonstration.