File photo. Pro-Life bench advertisement in west Lethbridge. Photo Credit to MyLethbridgeNow.com (Pat Siedlecki)
A local pro-life group has won a court decision over the City of Lethbridge in a dispute over some controversial advertising.
Two years ago, the ads popped up on city buses, bus shelters and on benches, one reading “Pre-born babies feel pain another said “Life should be the most fundamental human right.”
The ads sparked a lot of negative feedback in the community and City Council later decided a few weeks later in 2018 to ban them after receiving dozens of complaints.
The Lethbridge and District Pro-Life Association (LPL) though said the ban by the City infringed on their rights of freedom of expression.
In Facebook post, the group says the court judgement stated the City’s decision to ban the ads was unreasonable.
“The Court also ruled that it was unreasonable to ban the ads on the basis of the LPL’s website and that rejecting the ads on the basis of inaccuracy does not accord with the right to freedom of expression because, “the fight to freedom of expression does not support the contention that the expression must be widely accepted, accurate or scientifically verifiable,” stated the Pro-Life Facebook post on Thursday.
Carol Crosson, a constitutional lawyer representing the pro-life group says this decision is a win for every Canadian who prizes the right to share an opinion free of government taking a biased position on one side while neglecting the duty to protect freedom of expression for all.
“The City should have considered our right to freedom of expression, and while the City contended that it did so, the Court found the opposite,” commented LPL.
The Pro-Choice Society of Lethbridge and Southern Alberta also issued a statement saying it does not support the recent decision made in the case between the Lethbridge Pro-Life Association and the City of Lethbridge, adding the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards allows advertisers, such as the City, to reject inaccurate ads.
Spokesperson for the Pro-Choice Society, Kallie Desruisseaux, says “we hope the City of Lethbridge will appeal this decision” adding “the residents of Lethbridge deserve better than being subjected to harmful and inaccurate messaging on government property.”
Mayor Chris Spearman stated on Friday, that the City would be looking over the decision.