After anti-abortion ads on buses, what will be next for Canada?

The city of Peterborough is planning on having anti-abortion advertisements for its city buses.

The ads, which are planned to start in March, will show two enlarged photos of a fetus at seven weeks, and then at 16 weeks, along with a smear of blood. The slogan reads “Growing, growing, gone. ABORTION KILLS CHILDREN.”

Canada needs to prepare itself for American-style misogyny to creep and sink its teeth in our country. Hateful messages on buses may sound like a small step but widespread hate starts innocently.

Peterborough’s City Council failed to stop the efforts of an anti-abortion group known as the Canadian Center for Bio-Ethical Reform. Back in January 2015, the group applied to the City to purchase advertising space for the pro-life ads on the back of city buses. The City refused to post the ads, claiming it was “divisive” and “controversial.” After the initial refusal, CCBR filed a Charter of Rights complaint against the City in February 2016.

“The City of Peterborough violated our Charter rights, plain and simple,” according to a February media release on the CCBR’s website.

In August 2016, the CCBR got what they wanted. After the Charter complaint was filed, the City reversed its decision.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled the decision had interfered with CCBR’s freedom of expression.

According to a statement released by the City of Peterborough, “The City must respect the freedom of expression rights of those seeking to advertise on City property, including on City buses.”

These ads will be seen by every resident in Peterborough: children, women or couples who have gone through miscarriages and abortions, and never mind the ones trying to get pregnant.

According to CCBR, pro-life ads have been removed or banned in Hamilton, Guelph, Sarnia, Fredericton, N.B., and St. John’s, N.L. But is seems Canada is not well prepared for these types of American-style tactics. Peterborough wasn’t. The City currently has no standard advertising policy in place.

This isn’t the first time this group has tried to purchase advertising space in a Canadian city.

In February 2015, the group tried to put the ads on buses in Grand Prairie, Alberta. The city denied their request, claiming it would “disturb commuters.”

They tried to appeal the decision in December 2016, but the court agreed with the original decision to refuse the advertisements.

Justice C.S. Anderson of Court of Queen’s Bench ruled against CCBR’s application. Anderson claimed the ads would cause “psychological harm” to women who have had an abortion or who are considering one.

These groups could be feeding off their encouragement from another source.

U.S. abortion rights are currently up in the air, especially after the 2016 presidential election campaign. These anti-abortion ads could be the start of the strong influence the election has made on Canada.

President Donald Trump made strong anti-abortion comments during his campaign. Then there was last month’s late night U.S. Senate vote against keeping health-care coverage for contraceptives. How long will it take trump tactics to migrate north of the border?

Canada is already seeing Conservative leadership hopefuls like Kevin O’Leary and Kellie Leitch praising the President of the United States and his controversial ideas.

“They’re bringing these American-style tactics to Canada,” Joyce Arthur, executive director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, told the Washington Post. “I think Canadians have this stereotype of being polite. We don’t like having this propaganda shoved down our throats.”

Trump has only been in office a short time, but it seems like his influence is already spreading. Will this sit well with Canadians? Maybe not. We believe in the freedom of expression but not the right torment and humiliate people- or indeed be rude. Let’s put that on a bus.

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Nicole O'Brien is a second year journalist student at Durham College. She enjoys writing about the campus, entertainment and sports for The Chronicle. Her work can also be seen on her entertainment blog, www.entertainmentgirl.wordpress.com and also on the lifestyle blog Godigio. In her spare time, Nicole enjoys watching movies and listening to music. She hopes to one day work for an entertainment news network on either radio or television.

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