Justice Centre defends freedom of association in three court actions

Jun 1st, 2015

CALGARY: The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom has been granted intervener status in three different court actions which will impact the freedom of all Canadians to create, join and maintain the voluntary associations of their own choosing.

The law societies of B.C., Ontario and Nova Scotia have ruled against recognizing the law program of Trinity Western University (TWU), a private Evangelical Christian university in Langley, B.C.

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada has approved the law program of TWU as meeting academic and professional standards.  The three Law Societies admit there is nothing wrong with TWU’s law program, but claim that TWU’s Community Covenant discriminates against the LGBTQ+ community.  The Community Covenant prohibits numerous legal activities such as vulgar or obscene language, drunkenness, viewing pornography, gossip, and sexual activity outside of the marriage of one man and one woman.  TWU’s expectations discriminate against the majority of Canadians, for a myriad of reasons, all of which boil down to an unwillingness to practice an Evangelical Christian lifestyle.

On May 14, 2015, the Supreme Court of British Columbia granted the Justice Centre leave to intervene in Trinity Western University v. Law Society of British Columbia, scheduled for August 25, 2015.

The Justice Centre also intervened at the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, in Trinity Western University v. Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society.  In January 2015, the Court ruled in favour of freedom of association and religion for TWU grads.  This ruling is being appealed by the Barristers Society, and the Justice Centre now seeks to intervene before the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal to defend freedom of association for all Canadians.

In all three court actions, the Justice Centre argues for the Charter section 2(d) right to freedom of association, including the right of every charity, temple, church, ethnic and cultural association, sports club, and political group to establish its own rules and membership requirements.

“A court ruling against TWU’s freedom of association would undermine the freedom of association of every other group in Canada as well,” stated John Carpay, lawyer and president of the Justice Centre

“Tolerance for unpopular groups, practices, and beliefs – not popular ones – is what separates the free society from the totalitarian state.  The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that the view of the majority has no need of constitutional protection, because it is tolerated in any event,” continued Carpay.

“For a free society to remain free, its citizens must accept that other people can and do have radically different conceptions of reality, including unpopular ideas about sexuality.  A legal right to be free from hurt feelings, if it existed, would destroy freedom of expression as well as freedom of association,” added Carpay.