R v Morgentaler: Reflections After 25 Years, Toronto, Jan 28, UofT

Ontario Humanist Society « R v Morgentaler: Reflections After 25 Years, Toronto, Jan 28, UofT
R v Morgentaler: Reflections After 25 Years

On January 28, 1988, 25 years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down Canada's abortion law using the still new Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The legal battle was long, dramatic and groundbreaking - including a police raid on a clinic, novel constitutional evidence and arguments, an extraordinary criminal jury trial, an acquittal overturned by the Court of Appeal, followed by a week-long hearing and divided decision at the Supreme Court. Today, the case remains one of the most significant decisions in Canadian law. This panel provides a unique opportunity to hear from participants in the case as they reflect on the historic events and the continued significance of the case today.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 5:30-7:30 p.m. (Reception to follow)
Bennett Lecture Hall, Flavelle House
Faculty of Law, University of Toronto


Dr. Robert Scott - Appellant and Co-Accused
Morris Manning, QC - Counsel for the Appellants
Kirk Makin - Justice Reporter with the Globe and Mail
Lorraine Weinrib - Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto
Carolyn Egan - Expert witness at trial

Paul Schabas - Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP and co-counsel for the Appellant
Cheryl Milne - Executive Director, David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights

Please register online for this event here.


Humanist Association of Toronto (HAT): Darwin Day Event: Darwin and Evolutionary Biology, UofT, Feb 7, 8pm,

Darwin Day Event: Darwin and Evolutionary Biology, UofT, Feb 7, 8pm,
Darwin, Lizards, and Evolutionary Biology in the 21st Century
Prof Jonathan Losos

The Annual Darwin Lecture
Thursday, February 7, 2013    8 - 9pm
Co-presented by:
The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology,
University of Toronto and The Royal Ontario Museum

Modern day evolutionary biologists combine DNA studies with field experiments that can detect Darwinian evolution in real time. Lizards are an ideal subject for such research.
Professor Jonathan Losos, Monique and Philip Lehner Professor for the Study of Latin America
Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
FREE admission.   Registration is not required. 

Seating is limited and is on a first-come, first-serve basis. 
Arrive early to ensure a seat.
Location: Earth Science Centre Auditorium, Room 1050. University of Toronto, 22 Russell St. Easiest entrance is off Bancroft Avenue

HAT MONTHLY MEETING: Sat Feb 9, "Slavery: It's history, legacy, and Why it persists"

HAT MONTHLY MEETING: Sat Feb 9, "Slavery: It's history, legal, and Why it persists

DATE:   Sat. Feb 9, 2013   1:30-3pm
TOPIC:   "Slavery: Its History, Legacy and Why It Persists"
SPEAKER:  Dr. Martin Klein
LOCATION:  OISE, 252 Bloor Street W, Room 4-414

Dr. Martin Klein is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Toronto. His books include Slavery and Colonial Rule in French West Africa and the Historical Dictionary of Slavery and Abolition. HAT members also know him as the co-host, for the past four years, of our annual summer party."

All are welcome, free event, no admission fee.


Response from UofT to the Newman anti-lgbtq program

A number of complaints have been received by the University about a program called ‘Courage’, currently operating at the Newman Centre.  In response the University issued the following public statement:

As with any complaints that are received, the University has reviewed the matter and inquired into the “Courage” program at the Newman Centre. The University’s Vice-President, Human Resources and Equity, Angela Hildyard, has informed the Newman Centre that she believes this program to be inconsistent with the University’s values as expressed in the University’s Statement on Prohibited Discrimination and Discriminatory Harassment, along with its Statement on Equity, Diversity, and Excellence. Both these statements express the University’s commitment to ensuring that all programming, services, and educational endeavours accept diversity of identity, whether racial, sexual or based on religion or other statutorily protected attributes.  While the Newman Centre is an organization independent of the University of Toronto, many students are active in it and it sees itself as having a campus-related mandate. Professor Hildyard has urged the Newman Centre to cease offering or promoting this program and to make clear in all its publications that it is not part of or connected to the University of Toronto.

For more information on the University of Toronto’s Statement on Equity, Diversity, and Excellence, please visit here:

The Varsity » Newman Centre courts controversy

The Varsity » Newman Centre courts controversy
The establishment of a group called “Courage” at the Newman Centre on U of T’s St. George campus, which sets out to “provide support for the inclusion of the Catholic homosexual person into the Catholic Church,” has been widely critiqued as offensive since it was first reported by The Globe and Mail earlier this month. Increasing scrutiny has prompted the university to issue an official statement distancing itself from the program.
“I know there are some people who have been going to the Newman Centre, who no longer feel they can participate in parish life because of [the Courage] program, and will either look for another Roman Catholic community, or maybe feel like they have to leave their own faith tradition because it’s yet another instance of the church being inhospitable,” said Reverend Ralph Carl Wushke, ecumenical chaplain at the University of Toronto.
Courage is an apostolate of the Catholic Church which ministers to “persons with same-sex attraction.” It was founded in 1980 by Father John Harvey, and introduced to the city of Toronto six years later.
Though not an official entity of the university, the Newman Centre Courage program was formed at the request of “a number of people [within the university community] aspiring to live chaste lives in accordance with the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality,” said Bill Steinburg, communications manager at the Archdiocese of Toronto.
“Courage is one program available to those in the university community who wish to be involved — only those who wish to be involved have any direct connection with the group,” said Steinburg.
“This is an important ministry to those who have chosen to be involved, and I support their wishes to gather in prayer and discussion,” announced Newman Centre pastor, Chris Cauchi, during Sunday Mass on January 6, at the adjacent St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church.
The controversy surrounding the program stems largely from “the twelve steps of courage” patterned after the twelve steps for recovery from alcoholism, originally proposed by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Inc. (aa).
“The twelve step program is pathologizing same-sex attraction as a sickness, and I think that’s quite hateful,” said Wushke.
“Reparative therapy is harmful and doesn’t help gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people come into their own, to find a healthy, whole life that is spiritually grounded in a positive way,” Wushke continued. “It may look like a positive solution for people suffering from the effects of homophobia, but in the long-run, gender identity is deeper than surface behaviours or passing experiences. I don’t think you can be cured of it. I think you can possibly repress it for a while but it’s going to come out in some other neurosis.”


Seats on the Bus Fri Jan 11 to Ottawa IDLE NO MORE

Call out to University of Toronto Students interested in going on a bus trip to Ottawa to support the IDLE NO MORE movement on Friday, January 11, 2013.

A bus has been arranged by the Native Students' Association at the University of Toronto to support the IDLE NO MORE movement. The bus trip is open to all University of Toronto students and groups.

Departure time: 5am on Friday, January 11th, 2013 Departure location: OISE, 252 Bloor Street West  Toronto, Ontario M5S 1V6 Return time: Before Midnight
 There are only 55 seats available. Serious inquiries only.

Sign up contact:
Sylvia Plain


Avaaz - Harper: Rights for First Nations now!

Avaaz - Harper: Rights for First Nations now!
 ...trying to get a mass of signatures before Friday...

Harper just passed a monster law gutting protection for nearly all lakes and rivers but Chief Theresa Spence stepped up to stop him -- starting a brave hunger strike and galvanizing hundreds of thousands of people across Canada and the world. Now Harper’s caved, agreeing to meet with First Nations leaders this Friday, giving us a once-in-a-generation chance to push for real protection for their land, water and rights.

The government appropriates First Nations' lands, makes their water so toxic it disfigures children’s faces, and brutally underfunds schools and healthcare in their communities. But a real right for First Nations to approve all laws that affect their land and water rights could change this -- and there’s already an unprecedented national movement pushing for it!

Dr Pam Palmater, Lecture Debates Room, Jan 17, 2pm

Lecture by Dr Pam Palmater, Legal and constitutional implications of recent court rulings in relation to Indigenous Identity, from her Book: Beyond Blood: Rethinking Indigenous Identity.

 January 17th at 2:00 pm.
Debates Room, 2nd Floor, Hart House. 7 Hart House Circle . University of Toronto. Sponsored by the Centre for Aboriginal Initiatives, Aboriginal Studies...