Across Canada

Gay Montreal couple wins $10,000 human rights case

MONTREAL – A gay couple, who live in the Montreal suburb of Pointe Claire, have been awarded $10,000 in a human rights case. The two, Theo Wouters and Roger Thibault, made headlines in 2002 when they became Quebec’s first same-sex couple to be “married” under a Civil Union Act. They claimed they had been harrassed by neighbours ever since they moved to the Montreal suburb. An unidentified youth was accused of threatening them and throwing objects onto their property. He claimed, “I didn’t like their lifestyle, found them arrogant and it bothers me that they make their story so public.”

The couple was denied further claims against other neighbours after it was discovered that they had been videotaping other neighbours, waiting for any sign that they were acting discriminatory. In 2001, the two led an “anti-homophobia” march through their neighbourhood, busing in 1,500 people from Montreal’s gay “community.”

Child welfare agencies granted legal protections

OTTAWA – In a July 27 ruling, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously decided that child welfare agencies have the right to remove children from families where they suspect abuse and treat them as they see fit and are immune from lawsuits from parents or other relatives. The court said that “families are the core social unit and the most private of institutions,” but that does not free them from “the state’s overriding duty to ensure that children are protected.” The case surrounded an incident involving a Sri Lankan immigrant family whose 14-year-old daughter was removed from them in 1995 after she had written a story in school about being sexually abused by her parents. The police found no evidence that this was true and she was taken against her will to several psychiatric institutions.Needle programs recommended
to stop spread of disease among inmates

OTTAWA – A study released by the Canadian Medical Association has found that inmates in selected provincial jails have much higher rates of infections, such as hepatitis C and HIV, than the general population. In Ontario, these rates were 22 and 11 times higher respectively, while the numbers in Quebec were 23 and 19. Richard Elliot wrote a commentary accompanying the report, suggesting that governments provide clean needles to inmates, because the diseases are transmitted mostly through needles used for tattoos or drugs. Cities such as Toronto, Victoria, Vancouver and Montreal have implemented such programs for their prisons. But Stuart McGetrick, spokesman for the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, said that the government has no plans to implement any needle exchange programs in its correctional facilities and federal Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day cancelled such a program last year.

OECTA conference hosted radical feminist

TORONTO – The Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association held its biennial conference August 23-25 in Toronto and was to feature as a main speaker noted abortion advocate Michele Landsberg. While idenfitied in OECTA’s promotional material as “an advocate of social justice,” as a Toronto Star columnist for 25 years, Landsberg consistently promoted abortion, so-called safe sex and the gay agenda and railed against Christian values and those who believed in them. Her comments in a column criticizing evangelical Christian schools led to an official apology from the paper after a successful Ontario Press Council complaint. Landsberg has also attacked the Catholic church’s teaching against condoms and supports the work of the pro-abortion group “Catholics for a Free Choice.”

School funding becoming an issue in Ontario election

TORONTO – It appears that one of the main issues of October’s Ontario election will be funding for religious schools. John Tory has promised to extend government funding to all faith-based schools if they teach the provincial curriculum and meet certain other conditions. He says his plan “addresses the very fundamental issue of fairness,” noting that Catholic schools already receive government funding. His plan would include funding for Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh schools and has been costed at “upwards of $400 million a year.” Tory also says he will appoint former Ontario premier Bill Davis, who extended funding to Catholic schools in the early 1980s, to head an “implementation commission.” Ontario Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty has criticized the plan: “If they want to take a half a billion dollars out of the public system and put that into private schools, they can vote for Mr. Tory. If they want to segregate children in classes according to their faith at home, then they can support Mr. Tory.” McGuinty also said Catholic schools in Ontario are protected by the constitution and that he will not change that.

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