Sunday, December 10, 2006

Abortion Debate at Carlton Shows Conservative Hypocrisy

I realize that abortion is a touchy subject, and therefore emotions can get in the way of looking objectively at what is going on. That is why it is unsurprising to see certain individuals raising such a fuss over the Carlton University Student Association's refusal to fund pro-life groups.

Most of the people who are opposed to CUSA's decision are conservatives, and they're crying "free speech" and the like. The irony is, it is usually conservatives who are opposed to taking money from the unwilling and giving it to the demanding. Yet that is exactly what CUSA voted to do. Do I agree with their decision? Not 100%, no. But then, let's look at it this way. A majority of Carlton students do not want their student levies being used to support groups that are essentially attacking the rights of women. One may disagree with the position of those students, but conservatives, I thought, would certainly support a move to stop money from being transferred from and unwilling majority to a minority. I guess where I erred was in assuming that conservatives value the principles they claim to value.

I am willing to allow for some leeway here; surely there must be some principled conservatives out there who would be willing to re-examine the facts of the case, and to them, I would put forward one other example:

When I was at the University of Toronto, the student council there voted to deny funding to campus gay rights groups. I didn't hear conservatives making a stink about that. I don't think anyone needs to guess at the reason for that.

20 Comments:

At 12/10/2006 11:06 AM, Blogger imacynic said...

Seeing the words conservative and principles, in the same sentence, almost gives one a sense of vertigo.

Conservatives, at least the current brand that we have in Ottawa right now, don't care about principles, they care about winning. They don't care what the electorate think, they are not there to govern, they are there to collect favors for when they retire.

Our current government has no vision other than seeing themselves as 'winners'.

What a bunch of losers!

 
At 12/10/2006 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to break ranks here but I find CUSA's decision completely absurd. I support a woman's right to choose as much as the next liberal, but I would like to see that right sink and swim on its merits; not by effectively silencing the opposition under the guise some principled opposition to forced charity. This is about an extreme view that the pro-life perspective (or anti-choice or whatever you want to call it) is illegitimate. No matter how CUSA tries to frame this issue, this is wrong. We're all forced to fund a lot of organizations we dont approve of at at school, but all of a sudden CUSA decides that a certain ideological perspective isnt deserving of those funds? Whats next? Pro-Israeli groups? Campus Conservatives? Anyone who doesnt agree with the far-left socialism so typical of the majority involved in university politics?

And one last thing... the "anti-choice"/"pro-life" distinction is complete and utter nonsense. A group that raison d'etre is opposing abortion is doing so under the (mistaken) perception that they are standing up for "life". They arent doing it for the fun of it.

As I said, I am 100% behind a woman's right to choose, as I think the vast majority of this country is. But I dont think we advance that cause--or the cause of liberalism generally--by bullying those with a different point of view.

 
At 12/10/2006 12:16 PM, Blogger Dr. Dawg said...

I blogged on this earlier. I, too, am interested in the consrvatives' sudden departure from their traditional views on matters of taxation and representtation. Now a student government, committed through policy to a human rights stance, is "totalitatiran," according to these luminaries. Will someone please remind Stephen Harper to restore funding to SoW, and, while you're at it, get a pro-choice club up and running at St. Paul's University?

Incidentally, the "pro-life crowd hasn't been silenced--merely not subsidized. There's a difference.

 
At 12/10/2006 12:17 PM, Blogger Fraser Macdonald said...

This is absolutely ridiculous. It doesn't matter if most of the people who want the funding are conservatives. Conservatives are most of the people (other than Green Party leader Elizabeth May) who question abortion. Do they not have a right to funding, or free speech? This is one of the most egregious breaches of human rights I have seen in modern Canada.

Obviously "Clear Grit" is no fan of Conservatives, but saying that they didn't mind when gay groups had their funding cut is exactly the same as the pro-choice liberals not minding when pro-life funding is cut. Most people aren't going to march in the streets in defense of their enemy's right to free speech, just to make their life harder. I don't believe for a second that most of Canadians, or even many Conservatives want to limit abortion, but that is irrelevant. Minority rights still apply to conservatives, despite their reputation of being expungers of human rights.

50 years ago, pro-choice supporters were (rightly) fighting for their right to free speech, funding, and the change that they desired. Now that they have achieved that, they are shutting down the other side. What message does that send? This reminds me of any third world coup in the name of "democracy", one dictator replacing another. Free speech has to come first, and CUSA is setting a terrible precedent.

Kyle Carruthers, you aren't breaking ranks. The Liberal party has always stood for free speech, and those who don't stand for it should really think about what they are saying.

 
At 12/10/2006 12:29 PM, Blogger Clear Grit said...

This is one of the most egregious breaches of human rights I have seen in modern Canada.

I don't think I can emphasize this enough: OH PLEASE. Surely you can think of something better than a pro-life group not getting (other peoples') money. Hey, incidentally, do you think a Catholic school would allow a pro-choice group on campus, much less give it funding? Yeah, that's what I thought. If Catholic organizations not allowing that kind of dissent doesn't constitute a human rights abuse, than neither does this. No one is limiting the right of pro-life advocates to make their position known and advocate for it. They're simply not allowed to do it using money taken from students who don't agree with them. I see nothing wrong with this.

 
At 12/10/2006 12:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If CUSA is going to take student's money to fund groups they should give it to all groups regardless of the view they are putting forward. Universities play a crucial role in facilitating debate and this doesnt help one bit. Im really quite shocked that you see nothing wrong with this.

Maybe you will understand when CUSA or some other student union wants to cut off funding to some other cause. Im sure the far lefties in these groups are just salivating at the thought of cutting off pro-Israel student groups.

The fact that Conservatives are being hypocritical on this issue doesnt make it right.

 
At 12/10/2006 12:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ryan,

That is why it is unsurprising to see certain individuals raising such a fuss over the Carlton University Student Association's refusal to fund pro-life groups.

I'm sorry to see that I'm so predictable. Sigh...

One may disagree with the position of those students, but conservatives, I thought, would certainly support a move to stop money from being transferred from and unwilling majority to a minority

So long as it doesn't continue to fund other opposing groups. Like I said, I have no problem with CUSA deciding not to fund pro-choice or pro-life groups, it's when they fund one and not the other based on their ideological leanings that it becomes a problem for me.

Just as if the University of Calgary decided to fund a anti-gay marriage group and not a pro-gay marriage group (this would never happen, even at the U of C, but for the sake of argument). That decision would be an equally big problem for me.

When I was at the University of Toronto, the student council there voted to deny funding to campus gay rights groups. I didn't hear conservatives making a stink about that.

You're gonna have to take my word for it, cause I wasn't there, but I would have caused a stink. My post had nothing to do with being pro-life, and had everything to do with the fact that I don't think that student unions should be arbiters of political viewpoints on campus. If you're gonna fund them at all, fund both sides.

If the majority of campus students were, God forbid, NDP supporters, should the NDP be the only political party funded by the student union?

 
At 12/10/2006 12:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ryan,

That is why it is unsurprising to see certain individuals raising such a fuss over the Carlton University Student Association's refusal to fund pro-life groups.

I'm sorry to see that I'm so predictable. Sigh...

One may disagree with the position of those students, but conservatives, I thought, would certainly support a move to stop money from being transferred from and unwilling majority to a minority

So long as it doesn't continue to fund other opposing groups. Like I said, I have no problem with CUSA deciding not to fund pro-choice or pro-life groups, it's when they fund one and not the other based on their ideological leanings that it becomes a problem for me.

Just as if the University of Calgary decided to fund a anti-gay marriage group and not a pro-gay marriage group (this would never happen, even at the U of C, but for the sake of argument). That decision would be an equally big problem for me.

When I was at the University of Toronto, the student council there voted to deny funding to campus gay rights groups. I didn't hear conservatives making a stink about that.

You're gonna have to take my word for it, cause I wasn't there, but I would have caused a stink. My post had nothing to do with being pro-life, and had everything to do with the fact that I don't think that student unions should be arbiters of political viewpoints on campus. If you're gonna fund them at all, fund both sides.

If the majority of campus students were, God forbid, NDP supporters, should the NDP be the only political party funded by the student union?

 
At 12/10/2006 12:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ryan,

That is why it is unsurprising to see certain individuals raising such a fuss over the Carlton University Student Association's refusal to fund pro-life groups.

I'm sorry to see that I'm so predictable. Sigh...

One may disagree with the position of those students, but conservatives, I thought, would certainly support a move to stop money from being transferred from and unwilling majority to a minority

So long as it doesn't continue to fund other opposing groups. Like I said, I have no problem with CUSA deciding not to fund pro-choice or pro-life groups, it's when they fund one and not the other based on their ideological leanings that it becomes a problem for me.

Just as if the University of Calgary decided to fund a anti-gay marriage group and not a pro-gay marriage group (this would never happen, even at the U of C, but for the sake of argument). That decision would be an equally big problem for me.

When I was at the University of Toronto, the student council there voted to deny funding to campus gay rights groups. I didn't hear conservatives making a stink about that.

You're gonna have to take my word for it, cause I wasn't there, but I would have caused a stink. My post had nothing to do with being pro-life, and had everything to do with the fact that I don't think that student unions should be arbiters of political viewpoints on campus. If you're gonna fund them at all, fund both sides.

If the majority of campus students were, God forbid, NDP supporters, should the NDP be the only political party funded by the student union?

 
At 12/10/2006 12:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ryan,

That is why it is unsurprising to see certain individuals raising such a fuss over the Carlton University Student Association's refusal to fund pro-life groups.

I'm sorry to see that I'm so predictable. Sigh...

One may disagree with the position of those students, but conservatives, I thought, would certainly support a move to stop money from being transferred from and unwilling majority to a minority

So long as it doesn't continue to fund other opposing groups. Like I said, I have no problem with CUSA deciding not to fund pro-choice or pro-life groups, it's when they fund one and not the other based on their ideological leanings that it becomes a problem for me.

Just as if the University of Calgary decided to fund a anti-gay marriage group and not a pro-gay marriage group (this would never happen, even at the U of C, but for the sake of argument). That decision would be an equally big problem for me.

When I was at the University of Toronto, the student council there voted to deny funding to campus gay rights groups. I didn't hear conservatives making a stink about that.

You're gonna have to take my word for it, cause I wasn't there, but I would have caused a stink. My post had nothing to do with being pro-life, and had everything to do with the fact that I don't think that student unions should be arbiters of political viewpoints on campus. If you're gonna fund them at all, fund both sides.

If the majority of campus students were, God forbid, NDP supporters, should the NDP be the only political party funded by the student union?

 
At 12/10/2006 1:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ryan,

That is why it is unsurprising to see certain individuals raising such a fuss over the Carlton University Student Association's refusal to fund pro-life groups.

I'm sorry to see that I'm so predictable. Sigh...

One may disagree with the position of those students, but conservatives, I thought, would certainly support a move to stop money from being transferred from and unwilling majority to a minority

So long as it doesn't continue to fund other opposing groups. Like I said, I have no problem with CUSA deciding not to fund pro-choice or pro-life groups, it's when they fund one and not the other based on their ideological leanings that it becomes a problem for me.

Just as if the University of Calgary decided to fund a anti-gay marriage group and not a pro-gay marriage group (this would never happen, even at the U of C, but for the sake of argument). That decision would be an equally big problem for me.

When I was at the University of Toronto, the student council there voted to deny funding to campus gay rights groups. I didn't hear conservatives making a stink about that.

You're gonna have to take my word for it, cause I wasn't there, but I would have caused a stink. My post had nothing to do with being pro-life, and had everything to do with the fact that I don't think that student unions should be arbiters of political viewpoints on campus. If you're gonna fund them at all, fund both sides.

If the majority of campus students were, God forbid, NDP supporters, should the NDP be the only political party funded by the student union?

 
At 12/10/2006 1:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do Catholic schools fund pro-choice groups? Of course they do. I go to St. FX University which is owned by the local diocese. The majority of the students here are Christian and the majority of the students here are pro-life.

The 2-3 women's societies are considered to be radicals and are usually ignored. However, no one has ever tabled a motion to deny funding explicitely to groups with anti-abortion mandates. No one has ever considered it. It just seems rather absurd that we're going to limit the debate on particular topics... especially one that is so contentious and so actively debated.

 
At 12/10/2006 1:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the hell... sorry about the double posting, I'm having some trouble over here apparently.

 
At 12/10/2006 1:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow,

Quintuple posting as it turns out... if you could delete at least four of those Ryan I'd appreciate it.

 
At 12/10/2006 1:39 PM, Blogger canuckistanian said...

i'm not even sure why we are funding any of these groups. i'd rather have the prohibitively high student union fees stay in my pocket than go to a bunch of crappy advocacy groups so they can feel self-important. they don't represent me, why do i have to fund them exactly???

 
At 12/10/2006 2:07 PM, Blogger Fraser Macdonald said...

Clear Grit, show me an example of this happening anywhere else the other way around and you may have half a point. The real issue here is:
Does someone being offended by a point make it wrong?
Please do not say "yes", because I live in Canada too, and happen to enjoy equality and free speech.

Also, I posted about this on my blog, http://torontotories.blogspot.com
If you aren't kidding, which I'm starting to think you are, please respond to my blog and prove your point. I can't imagine how you'll defend this one, but consider it an open challenge.

 
At 12/10/2006 3:19 PM, Blogger Angry Beaver said...

Clear-Grit, old chum, you know what I think about abortion. I am no fan of the Conservative philosophy in this regard.

However, I would've thought it wiser for the school to simply say "we want no part of the debate" and stop sending money to groups on EITHER side. I'm sure there are students who don't want to support a pro-life group, but I am equally certain there are students who don't want their money going to pro-choice groups, or to the debate in general.

There is a difference between a Catholic school--founded in the beliefs of a faith--denying the rights of a group to exist, and a public institution choosing sides and using student money to play politics.

I expected something more mature from a university body.

 
At 12/10/2006 6:20 PM, Blogger Fraser Macdonald said...

Care to revise your point of view, Clear Grit?

 
At 12/10/2006 7:02 PM, Anonymous Rowan said...

50 years ago, pro-choice supporters were (rightly) fighting for their right to free speech, funding, and the change that they desired. Now that they have achieved that, they are shutting down the other side.

Your statement doesn't make sense, Fraser. If pro-choice supporters were right to acquire the free speech, funding and change they desired, then it would be wrong to deny them those freedoms now.

Pro-life groups aim to stifle debate. It's disingenuous to say that pro-life and pro-choice are two opposing positions that deserve equal attention, and equal funding.

I think the CSU explained their position very clearly. And I agree with it.

Far more ethical to build resources for mothers so they don't feel forced by their circumstances to have an abortion.

Focus on condom use, and the health and well-being of the mother. If I were a Carleton student, I'd much rather support that kind of a group.

Every woman has the right and responsibilty to answer the abortion question for herself. It's fundamental. Unless you think we should be giving universal suffrage a second look.

 
At 12/10/2006 7:33 PM, Blogger Clear Grit said...

If CUSA is going to take student's money to fund groups they should give it to all groups regardless of the view they are putting forward.

So... if NAMBLA wanted funds from CUSA, it should get them? I don't think so. Sorry, but there are only a limited amount of funds to go around, and considering those funds come from students' tuition, I think students should have at least some say in where they go.

Im really quite shocked that you see nothing wrong with this.

I disagree with the principle of taking student levies and giving them to political groups in the first place. If I'm paying for an education, I want an education, not advocacy for causes I don't agree with. So I consider this issue quite secondary to that, hence why I can't get too up in arms about it. Any scaling back of this kind of advocacy funding is fine by me.

Im sure the far lefties in these groups are just salivating at the thought of cutting off pro-Israel student groups.

As would be their right, but they would certainly have a fun time dealing with the fallout.

Clear Grit, show me an example of this happening anywhere else the other way around and you may have half a point.

I already did; the University of Toronto doesn't use student levies to fund its on-campus gay group, which by the way isn't even a political advocacy group, but a support group.

However, I would've thought it wiser for the school to simply say "we want no part of the debate" and stop sending money to groups on EITHER side.

As would I, and as stated above, this is my position. As I also stated, I don't agree with this position 100%. My point is that
a) It's not a big deal, and
b) It's their right to do so

 

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