Couple posts online ad to sell baby

VANCOUVER – The parents of the 7-day-old baby put up for sale on Craigslist, an online community that lists classified advertisements, have been released from police custody. Jeremy Pete, 26, posted an ad for $10,000 for his and 23-year-old Bethany Granholm’s newborn daughter. The child was listed as “very cute,” “healthy” and “unexpected.” On the website, Pete said he could not afford the child and urged interested buyers to “call ASAP.” Police were notified of the ad and tracked the cell phone number to the couple’s residence. The child was removed from the couple’s home and remains in the custody of the provincial Ministry of Children and Family Development. The couple could not be held due to a lack of evidence and insist that it was all a hoax. “I was never planning to give her to anybody. She is more valuable than anything,” Granholm said. A police investigation into the case is ongoing.

Religious rights case lost in federal court

TORONTO – Susan Comstock’s appeal of her Canadian Human Rights Commission complaint over forced union dues used to pay for causes that violate her conscience has been dismissed by the Federal Court of Appeal. Comstock had sought to divert her $800 in union dues to charity instead of to the union, based on her moral objections to the union’s advocacy of homosexual “marriage.” The Treasury Board of Canada, Comstock’s employer, denied her request in 2004, which prompted her to bring a human rights application to the federal level. That was rejected in 2006. A judicial review was refused the following year. Comstock argued that her freedoms of conscience and religion are being violated when mandatory union dues go to moral causes with which she disagrees and which have nothing to do with her work. There is an option by which the union does permit the diversion of union dues to charity only to those whose religions are opposed to employee organizations. The Federal Court said that since the Catholic Church is not opposed to unions in practice, Comstock cannot divert her dues.

Ontario renews HPV vaccine campaign

TORONTO – Public health officials at the municipal and provincial level are hoping to increase the number of pre-teen girls who take advantage of free anti-HPV vaccines, which are being billed as vaccines against cervical cancer. Last year, 54 per cent of Ontario parents gave approval for their Grade 8 daughters to receive the three-shot regimen and public health is hoping to increase that with advertising at movie theatres, glossy pamphlets and public information sessions for parents. Rates of vaccine approval ranged from 40 per cent in London to 60 per cent in Toronto.

Whatcott wins picketing case

OTTAWA – The Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear an appeal of a lower court decision that upheld pro-life activist Bill Whatcott’s right to picket against abortion without facing professional penalties. In 2002, Planned Parenthood complained to the Saskatchewan Association of Licensed Nurses about Whatcott, then a nurse working in Regina, over his pro-life activism. The association found him guilty of professional misconduct, revoked his licence and ordered him to pay $15,000 in legal costs. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association defended Whatcott, reiterating its support for both legal abortion and the right to debate the issue. A Saskatchewan trial court upheld the association’s punishment, but the province’s appeal court overturned the decision. The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the case affirms Whatcott’s right to pro-life activism without being punished by the professional body under which he is licensed. Whatcott now lives in Edmonton.

Crucifix to stay in Quebec legislature
QUEBEC – Quebec Premier Jean Charest rejected a proposal calling for the removal of the crucifix from Quebec’s National Assembly. “We cannot erase our history,” said Charest. “The crucifix is 350 years of history in Quebec that none of (us) are ever going to erase and of a very strong presence; in particular, the Catholic church.” The decision followed a Quebec commission’s report on reasonable accommodation that said the province should expect to change due to the low birthrate among native Quebecois and the rising number of immigrants moving to Quebec. Charest launched the commission in 2007 to study the issues springing from controversies surrounding the integration of immigrants and minority groups into Quebec society. The commission recommended the removal of the crucifix in the spirit of the report, but the Assembly voted unanimously against the idea.