Hamilton Area ARPA, a volunteer-run group that promotes grassroots political engagement, had their women’s rights ad rejected by the city of Hamilton because it included women at the earliest stages of life. The ad created by We Need a Law read, “We’re for women’s rights” and included pictures of women ranging from a child to an adult with the caption “Hers.” It also included an ultrasound scan of a child in utero with the caption “And hers.”
It was this last caption that the city of Hamilton took issue with, and it is in response to this that Hamilton Area ARPA filed a Notice of Application with the court earlier this month. Representatives for the city claimed, “the phrase ‘And Hers.’ would need to be revised so as to not reflect personhood in relation to the image on the far right.”
The Hamilton Area ARPA group is challenging the city’s decision in an effort to preserve the freedom to express the basic pro-life message: that every human being is a person.
The ad, which included the URL for defendgirls.com, was meant to correspond with Parliament’s debate of Bill C-233, the Sex Selective Abortion Act. The city’s rejection of the ad meant this bill moved through Parliament with less public awareness and dialogue than it could have had. Political expression is at the core of our Charter guarantee of freedom of expression.
“The purpose of rejecting the Advertisement, was, further, to suppress a moral, philosophical, and political viewpoint with which the City disagreed. The decision serves merely to enforce ideological conformity to the City’s moral and political opinion, or to majority opinion.” the Notice of Application explains. Our Charter is protects this freedom and Hamilton Area ARPA will be asking the court to recognize this.
Our legal counsel, Tabitha, explains the case in a video made for the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) Canada.