Canadian swine flu vaccine ethically produced

OTTAWA – Children of God for Life, a pro-life group that provides information on vaccines, confirms that Arepanrix, the HIN1 vaccine produced by GlaxoSmithKline, is produced with chicken embryos and does not use fetal cell lines in its manufacture. Health Canada’s Arepanrix product information leaflet says the “H1N1 antigen is prepared from virus grown in the allantoic cavity of embryonated hen’s eggs.” Debi Vinnedge, executive director of Children of God for Life, said in a press release that her organization is “pleased that the pharmaceutical companies have chosen these (ethical) cell lines for this year’s H1N1 vaccines.” Some flu vaccines, such as Sanofi Pasteur and Vaxin, develop their cell culture vaccines using the aborted fetal cell line, PER C6. Vinnedge says that is “completely unnecessary.” The Ottawa Citizen reports that there are still health concerns related to the swine flu vaccine, because extensive tests on side effects have not been conducted in Canada and Health Canada only examined a study of 160 adult Belgians who took a similar vaccine.

Vote pushed back on Lalonde bill

OTTAWA – Bloc Quebecois MP Francine Lalonde (La Pointe-de-l’Île) has arranged to have a vote on Bill C-384, her private member’s bill which would, if passed, legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide, pushed back to Dec. 2. C-384 received its first two hours of debate on Oct. 2, when two Bloc MPs spoke in favour of it, but six MPs from the Conservatives, Liberals and NDP opposed the bill. The second hour was originally scheduled for Nov. 16, with a vote to follow shortly after. But Lalonde moved the date of the second debate to Nov. 19 by swapping dates with another Bloc MP. On Nov. 6, it was revealed that she traded again, delaying the debate until at least Dec. 1, with a vote expected the next day. Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, said, “I think she’s trying to create support for her bill and I think the only way she can create it is by giving her some time.”

Stanley Haidasz remembered

OTTAWA – On Oct. 29, eight senators – Liberals David Smith, Peter Stollery, Art Eggleton, Sharon Carstairs, Jerry Grafstein, Terry Mercer and Conservative Con Di Nino, as well as independent Anne Cools — paid tribute to one of their former colleagues, Stanley Haidasz, who passed away in August. Most acknowledged his support for multi-culturalism and Senator Grafstein noted Haidasz’s role in the creation of universal health care in Canada. But only Cools referenced Haidasz’s pro-life convictions: “The important thing, as well, to remember about Senator Haidasz was the fierce integrity that he brought to his work. He was a doctor by trade, a scientist by training and a physician by profession. He used to tell me, time and again, that he felt that his first duty as a physician was to save and protect life. Obviously, he was not fan of the pro-choice movement nor the pro-euthanasia movement.” Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition, congratulated Cools for being the sole colleague of Haidasz to recognize the issue most dear to his heart.

Lakehead pro-life club status revoked

THUNDER BAY – Lakehead University Life Support, the pro-life club at Lakehead University, had its club status revoked again by the university’s student union. After a two-year battle with the LUSU, Life Support regained its club status in March 2009. However, LUSU revoked Life Support’s status again in October. According to the National Campus Life Network, club officials were told by the student union that the motion condemning Life Support identified them as “an extremist group.” Josh Kolic, LUSU vice-president of finance, claimed that decertifying Life Support “was a great victory for human rights.” He said the club’s “aggressive and exclusive focus” on abortion was not pro-life and urged Life Support to take a “neutral” stance on abortion. He said they would better promote the pro-life cause by “advocating for increased programs for expectant mothers” and “increased funding for child care services on campus.”

High school student ‘isolated’ for pro-life witness

WIARTON, Ont. – On Oct. 20, Jennifer Rankin, a 16-year-old high school student at Peninsula Shores District School, arrived at school to take part in the Pro-Life Day of Solidarity organized across North America by Stand True Ministries. During the witness, students wear red arm bands and put red duct tape on their mouths, remaining silent while passing out fliers with information about abortion. Principal Patricia Cavan initially prevented Rankin from entering school property, but later compromised by allowing her into the school while separating her from the other students. Rankin told the Owen Sound Sun-Times, :I was taken directly into a small room that was opposite the vice-principal’s office and I was in there all day. I wasn’t allowed to speak with or see any other students and students were not allowed to come and see me and I was isolated in that room for the entire day.” The paper reported that Cavan prohibited the pro-life protest, but that Rankin insisted on standing up for her Charter-protected right to free expression. Cavan told the Sun-Times that the right to free speech does not apply on school property, because, “School property is not a public place.” The principal added that school policy prohibits the dissemination of one-sided information on religious, political or other issues that are controversial. reported that the school does have an annual Gay Pride Day where students are encouraged to wear pink. David Cortman, senior legal counsel with the Alliance Defence Fund, condemned the school’s actions, saying, “The policy and their actions, violate the Charter … I think it’s just another instance of government indoctrination that’s aimed at the suppression of religious speech.” Conservative MP Larry Miller (Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound) wrote a letter to the editor of the Sun-Times condemning the principal’s “promotion of personal agendas” and extending his “support to Jennifer Rankin for standing up for what she believes in.” He added: “All students should feel free to express an opinion through respectful and non-violent means.”

Latimer denied extended parole

VICTORIA – On Nov. 5, the National Parole Board denied Robert Latimer’s appeal of an August 7 ruling that dismissed his request for greater parole freedom. Latimer, 56, was convicted of second-degree murder and given a life sentence after he killed his 12-year-old daughter Tracey in 1993. He has been living in a Victoria, B.C. halfway house since his release on day parole in March 2008. Latimer was seeking the privilege of spending only weekends in the halfway house so he could attend to multiple responsibilities, including holding a job, studying to be an electrician and managing his Saskatchewan family business from a distance. The appeal division found Latimer had “not raised any grounds that would cause us to intervene and modify the board’s decision to not grant your request for expanded leave privileges.” The statement denying the appeal continued: “Day parole is inherently more restrictive than full parole” and noted that Latimer had already been granted leave “beyond the norm for other offenders.” Latimer gets five consecutive days extended leave per month. He has never expressed remorse for the killing and maintains that he acted “out of love” when he killed his disabled daughter by gassing her in the family truck in the garage by running a hose into the cab of the vehicle. He also confessed to having considered other methods of killing Tracy, including Valium overdose and “shooting her in the head.” Latimer will be able to apply for full parole in December 2010.