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Group pushing to bring Edmonton Pro-Life back to K-Days, after Northlands cut ties
Published Monday, June 26, 2017 5:13PM MDT
Last Updated Monday, June 26, 2017 7:01PM MDT
A legal organization says they have formally asked Northlands to reconsider a decision to no longer allow Edmonton Pro-Life to have a booth at K-Days.
In a statement released Monday, the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) said they had issued a letter to Northlands, asking them to reconsider.
In the letter, the JCCF said they had been retained by Edmonton Pro-Life, and said the organization had had a booth at K-Days for 15 years.
Karen Richert, office manager at Edmonton Pro-Life said their booths usually focused on fetal development.
But, on January 6, 2017 Northlands contacted the organization, saying they wouldn’t be allowed to host a booth this year.
“This year we received an email saying ‘we really appreciate your past attendance but unfortunately we are not going to have any “religious or political organizations” attend K-Days this year’,” Karen Richert with Edmonton Pro-Life said.
Richert said the organization contacted JCCF soon after.
“We are fully aware that there are people out there who don’t recognize the humanity of the unborn, so it’s not odd from that point of view, but odd in the sense that this position would be taken now, seemingly without provocation,” Richert said.
“We’ve never had any feedback from K-Days, during or in between the application process or while K-Days is on saying ‘We’ve had a lot of complaints and you guys need to leave.’ We’ve just never encountered that.”
John Carpay, president of JCCF, told CTV News they had tried to obtain the official policy.
“One of our staff members called Northlands in February to request policies and was refused and told they were online, we’ve looked very, very hard and have not found any such policy online,” Carpay said.
The non-profit organization says the decision to not allow Edmonton Pro-Life to host a booth violates Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, because of Northlands’ relationship with the City of Edmonton.
“If it was something private they have every right to make up whatever policies they want, and the Charter doesn’t apply,” Carpay said. “But here, Northlands is very much a government entity in many ways, it does have some private aspects but for the most part it’s a government entity.
“They have no business trying to censor particular views or perspectives so this is a Charter or freedom of expression case where presumably there’s a group that because of its opinions is not allowed to rent out a booth.”
CTV News asked for comment from Northlands on this development, a spokesperson issued the following statement in response:
“Northlands values the rights and freedoms protected under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
It is standard practice for Northlands to review customer feedback and business practices as a tool to ensure we provide the best guest experience to our patrons. On January 6, 2017 Edmonton Pro-Life was advised of our decision to not include their organization in this event and that time they did not express any concerns with our decision.”
JCCF told CTV News they are considering taking the case to court, if they can’t sort it out between the two sides.
With files from Nicole Weisberg