The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada has compiled an amazing report, entitled “Black Holes: Canada’s Missing Abortion Data“.
The report examines the state of abortion data collection and reporting in Canada.
There is a Press Release announcing the report.
EFC Legal Counsel Faye Sonier was interviewed by 100 Huntley Street on Canadian laws which restrict access to abortion data. You can see those interviews here.
Look for some exciting developments in 2013 that will address the issue of abortion data suppression.
Evelyn Gillespie, quoted in Hansard on March 28, 2001, on the POLITICAL reason why entire legislation was enacted in British Columbia to stop the New Democratic Party’s political opponents:
“Information is a very potent tool. Information about abortion services, about the provision of abortion services, particular statistics, is a very potent tool in the hands of people who would wish to limit women’s access to choice.”
Statistics are a danger to the provision of abortion services?
You mean knowing how many complications from the abortion procedure at my local hospital directly “threatens” the status quo?
Just for fun, let’s change the wording of Gillespie’s speech…and see how folks would tolerate it:
“Information is a very potent tool. Information about logging, about the provision of logging, particular statistics, is a very potent tool in the hands of people who would wish to limit a logger’s access to forests.”
Or how about:
“Information is a very potent tool. Information about Port Alberni Union violence, about the provision of construction services, particular statistics, is a very potent tool in the hands of people who would wish to limit a trade worker’s access to their job site.”
Or my favorite:
“Information is a very potent tool. Information about day care services, about the provision of day care services, particular statistics, is a very potent tool in the hands of people who would wish to limit women’s access to day care.”
Somehow, somewhere, I cannot imagine the media or anyone else for that matter tolerating this slap in the face to the democratic process.
(NOTE: This recent article by the MSM overlooks one important point: that when government was allowed to make a topic off-limits, without outcry, without dissent, it was only a matter of time before that betrayal of access to information was extended to all.)
The public’s right to know: Battered and eviscerated
Citizens, non-governmental organizations and journalists face delays and huge fees to get access to our government’s information
By Stephen Hume, Vancouver Sun April 10, 2010
Can it really be 18 years since that golden moment in 1992 when an NDP government and its Liberal opposition set aside partisan differences to unanimously pass what would be celebrated as the most advanced freedom of information legislation in Canada?
Yes, it can.
Unfortunately, British Columbia’s once vaunted Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act has come to represent not a triumph of transparency but a legacy of betrayed promises, corrupted ideals, cynicism, sophistry and just plain rotten values on the part of the people we elected to govern us.
The NDP began undermining the spirit of the information access law almost before the ink had dried on the statute. The Liberals, who used it to hold government accountable -almost a third of requests filed under the act came from the Liberal benches -then went to extraordinary lengths to thwart the process once they held power and the NDP was back in opposition. Continue Reading
The secret meeting that took place on June 17, 1993 between members of BC’s pro-choice movement and the Ministry of Attorney General, confirmed one important item: that the topic of Freedom of Information, and it’s use by pro-life activists, was an important discussion point.
In the notes of the secret meeting, Joan Young states:
“AG suggests meeting with Murray Rankin re: FOI concerns“. The name of Rob Botterell has been struck out.
Rankin has advised governments on the issue of Freedom of Information.
Also present at the meeting were: David Bellamy, counsel for Elizabeth Bagshaw Clinic; BC Attorney General Colin Gabelmann; Brian Neal, Bill Scigliano, Michael McEvoy and Joan Young also of the AG’s Ministry; Marg Panton, Will Offley, Barbara Westwood and Caroline Murphy of the Everywoman’s Health Clinic; Bethan Everett, Nita Iyer and Gwen Brodsky of the Elizabeth Bagshaw Clinic; and Joy Thompson and Katherine Ferguson of the B.C. Coalition for Abortion Clinics.
What happened after this meeting? Did Rankin meet with the pro-choice political reps? Were there many secret meetings discussing the use of freedom of information? None? What advice was given to government, if any?
This week’s column has been written by Ted Gerk. Ted works at Heritage Christian Online School and is a member of Kelowna Christian Center. This column appeared on the Castanet News site, Oh Canada! by Dave Kalamen
In the 1990’s, British Columbia introduced and passed into law one of the most open Freedom of Information laws in the world.
Colin Gabelmann, considered the “Father of FOI”, stated when the legislation was introduced, that the law would: “…empower citizens so that they can fully exercise their democratic rights. The reality is that if government has information which is denied to citizens, it becomes extremely difficult to make informed judgments about government policy or to endeavour to influence public policy.”
Most people would agree.
Professor Donald Rowat, once stated: “Parliament and the public cannot hope to call the Government to account without an adequate knowledge of what is going on nor can they hope to participate in the decision-making process and contribute their talents to the formation of policy and legislation if that process is hidden from view.”
But what if I told you that government actually made a law to ban one subject? One topic has been declared off-limits to the public. Would you be outraged? Suspicious?
What if that topic was the environment? What if you were not allowed to know the impact of certain chemicals on the health of children? What if you were forbidden from knowing who was lobbying government on various issues….and banned from finding out what they were presenting as fact?
Citizens would feel disenfranchised. They would, I hope, feel outraged. After all, we are a democracy. ALL topics are open for discussion. Right?
We protest when books are banned, but what about information? Do we censor information, just so we stifle debate? Continue Reading
“Clearly the perception is that the attorney general’s office is no longer independent, but political as hell.” – Broadcaster Rafe Mair – Georgia Straight (July 8-15, 1994):
The time was 1993. Then B.C. Attorney General, and top law enforcement officer for the province, Colin Gabelmann, held a secret meeting with pro-choice groups – specifically to discuss their concerns about the mounting political opposition to abortion in the Province. The main organizer of the meeting, the BC Coalition for Abortion Clinics, was an abortion advocacy organization that had mounted through the years a number of political rallies and events, including an illegal sit-in.
That’s right, each week we will detail and provide background information on how the British Columbia Provincial Government has been embarassed by the release of abortion-related information.
Why? The ONLY reason British Columbia is the only government in the Western world to make a topic totally OFF LIMITS, is because of the numerous times they have been embarassed by the release of such info.
Readers will quickly see that government officials in British Columbia have made a mockery of the legal system by secret meetings, false documents and moves to stamp out political opposition to abortion. We will look specifically at the British Columbia Ministry of Attorney General, where officials actively took a position on one side of a political issue – culminating in the Freedom of Information ban on all things abortion – ironically one of the first items on a pro-choice wish list.
Stay Tuned and Remember….if they can get away with banning it here….you’re next!