Federal privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien asked the Government Operations Centre to review its tracking of lawful protests in the capital. A statement from the commissioner’s office said “we asked for a more detailed analysis of the privacy risks relating to monitoring of public protests and demonstrations,” and that this be given to Therrien to review. The Toronto Star reported that among the protests tracked by the government was the 2014 National March for Life … After initially rejecting them, the City of Peterborough agreed to run Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform’s pro-life ads on its buses one day before CCBR was scheduled to appear in court to seek a judicial declaration that the city was violating its Charter rights to free speech and expression. CCBR applied to 12 municipal transit authorities to run the ads, which show three circles containing images of unborn babies at seven weeks and 16 weeks over the words, “growing, growing” and finally just a field of red containing the word “Gone.” All 12 cities rejected the ads and CCBR challenged several of them, Peterborough being the first … Students for Life at the University of Toronto Mississauga and Speak for the Weak at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa, filed lawsuits against their school’s respective student unions after they were denied club status due to their pro-life stance. Christian Nagarro, president of Speak for the Weak, said his executive “is aware of the commitment this (legal battle) will take and we’re 100 per cent willing to do whatever it takes for our cause.” The National Campus Life Network and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are supporting the clubs in their free speech fights … The University of Alberta demanded that UAlberta Pro-Life pay $17,500 in security fees to host a stationary pro-life educational display. The fee would cover the cost of security guards, police, barricades, and potential misconduct. Jay Cameron, a lawyer with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, said the fees restricted freedom of speech: “if everyone was required to have security around them in order to say something others might disagree with there would be no free discourse” … Liberal MP Mauril Belanger (Ottawa-Vanier), who recently announced he has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is attempting to alter the lyrics to O Canada to be gender neutral by changing the line about true patriot love “in all thy sons command” to “in all of us command.” Belanger was unsuccessful in the previous Parliament in obtaining a similar change when his private member’s bill was defeated 144-127 … The B.C. Centre for Disease Control says the rate of syphilis among gay men has doubled in a decade to nearly 500 cases last year.

United States

Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia passed away on Feb. 13. The strict originalist – a believer that the U.S. constitution says precisely what its words say and that meaning should not be read into them – repeatedly ruled against the expansion or protection of abortion or any redefinition of family. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans will not confirm any Supreme Court nominee President Barack Obama appoints to the bench, thereby increasing the stakes of the presidential election. Senator Ted Cruz, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, says he will nominate someone like Scalia to fill the high court seat. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who is seeking the Democratic nomination, announced she will only appoint justices that affirm Roe v. Wade. GOP hopeful Donald Trump has said he would appoint someone like his sister Federal Court Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, who has voted pro-abortion on the bench … Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former U.S. president Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton, told that she left the Southern Baptist Convention at the age of six because a Sunday school teacher taught her that abortion is a sin.


The Supreme Court of India has agreed to re-examine the country’s 1861 law banning homosexual sex, just two years after it declared that only India’s parliament could alter the law … A district court in China has agreed to hear a lawsuit brought forth by Sun Wenlin and Hu Mingliang arguing that homosexual couples should be allowed to marry, the first time the issue of same-sex marriage is being heard by the communist country’s courts … The UN Secretary General’s report “One Humanity: Shared Responsibility,” asks governments to include abortion and LGBT rights in their efforts to tackle the humanitarian objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals, a massive new 15-year UN development plan adopted by the General Assembly in 2015, despite such rights being expressly rejected in last year’s negotiations of the goals. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urges that “priority” be given to “providing women and adolescents with comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services without discrimination” and that countries have a “core” obligation to prohibit discrimination on the basis of “sexual identity,” a term never included in UN resolutions.