City nixes pro-life bus shelter ads

HAMILTON – Don Hull, Hamilton’s director of transit, has removed from its bus shelters an ad that says: “9 months. The length of time an abortion is allowed in Canada. Abortion. Have we gone to far?” The Hamilton Spectator reported that there were a handful of complaints from people who found it offensive. Councillor Brian McHattie said he wanted to see the ads come down: “For me personally, it definitely was offensive.” The city will reconsider what messages will be allowed in ads; however, pro-lifers doubt that AIDS awareness or environmental messages would be prohibited even if Hull gets “controversial community messaging” banned. Gudron Shultz of Life Canada said the ads are in no way offensive. She said they were designed to engender “a debate that needs to take place in a public forum.” Shultz notes that the ad campaign is running in cities across Canada, but until Hamilton’s transit system put the kibosh on the ads, only Fredericton had rejected the shelter posters.

Damages awarded over fertility drug

TORONTO – The Ontario Court of Appeal has awarded $8.6 million to a northern Ontario couple after twins conceived with the help of the fertility drug Clomid were born with severe disabilities. It was found that Timmins doctor Dr. Paul Hergott had not sufficiently warned his patient of the dangers of the fertility drug he prescribed. The court ruled that Karley and Kaylin Bovington, now 15, could not sue for damages, because they owe their existence to the fertility treatment, even though Karley was born blind and has cerebral palsy and regular seizures. Kalyin also has cerebral palsy. But the decision also opens the door for judges and juries to henceforth estimate a child’s life expectancy and costs with lifetime care, rather than limit them to estimates of the costs of care until the age of 18.

Not just gays banned from organ donation

OTTAWA – Health Canada released new regulations regarding organ donations that ban active homosexuals, among others, from donating organs. The national media focused on the restrictions on gays and Dr. Gary Levy, director of the multi-organ transplant program at the Health Network in Toronto, said it was wrong to specifically target one group and that Health Canada should have instead restricted individual donors who were at-risk. However, the new regulations, the result of years of consultations, restrict organ donation from individuals at high-risk of HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, including gay “men who have had sex with other men in the preceding five years,” anyone who has engaged in prostitution in the past five years, non-medical intravenous drug users, inmates or anyone incarcerated for more than three days and people who have had tattoos or piercing at facilities where the instruments were shared.

Canada’s mixed-bag moral views

OTTAWA – An Angus Reid Strategies poll found, in the words of the Toronto Sun, that “Canucks can get behind just about anything,” with a majority of respondents having no problem with abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, divorce, contraception, pre-marital sex, embryonic stem cell research or gambling Yet, a majority also opposed pornography, prostitution, child pornography, polygamy, medical testing on animals, using illegal drugs, cloning animals or humans and pedophilia. University of Toronto philosophy professor Wayne Sumner said “people’s moral responses tend to depend on whether they see the activity in question as having any victims.” Said Angus Reid’s chief research officer Andrew Grenville, “Canadians are pretty accepting in general.”

Latimer parole board decision appealed

VANCOUVER – The B.C. Civil Liberties Association has filed an appeal on behalf of Robert Latimer urging the overturning of a December parole board decision that denied early release. Latimer killed his disabled daughter Tracy in 1993 and began serving his life sentence in 2001. The board said they found Latimer displayed no remorse for the killing and a psychological report said he was unlikely to re-offend unless he was in similar circumstances. BCCLA spokesman John Dixon complained that, “The purpose of his sentence was purely and solely to denounce his crime.” The association’s lawyer, Jason Gratl, wrote in his appeal: “Although it has a role at sentencing, the objective of denunciation plays no part in the consideration of whether Mr. Latimer should be granted day parole.” He argues that the Corrections and Conditional Release Act requires that the parole board consider only the offender’s risk of committing an offence while on parole and whether the offender’s release is consistent with his reintegration into the community. Pro-life and disabilities groups note that remorsefulness and rehabilitation are also taken into consideration. Kelly-Ann Speck, a parole board member, said during Latimer’s day parole hearing in December, “We are left with the feeling that you have not developed the kind of sufficient insight and understanding of your actions.”