The current Supreme Court challenge undertaken by Linda Gibbons highlights how uneven and mean-spirited the Canadian justice system can be at times. Ms. Gibbons is a 63-year-old grandmother who has been arrested about 20 times and spent more than nine of the past 20 years in jail for protesting peacefully in front of abortion clinics. On Wednesday she appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada in a bid to have her most recent conviction quashed.
Six years after Canada’s abortion law was struck down in 1988, authorities in Toronto sought a court-ordered “temporary” injunction ban against protesting directly outside an abortion clinic. There had been incidents of intimidation, including violence, near abortion clinics and the ban seemed reasonable as a temporary measure until things cooled down a bit. That was almost 18 years ago, however.
Since then the Alberta-born Torontonian and anti-abortion crusader has been arrested about 20 times and has spent some eight years behind bars for protesting too close to abortion clinics—though she has never been accused of threatening or abusive behaviour.
Time and time again we have sent this woman to jail yet we have allowed the “Occupy” Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver protests to violate city laws, damage public property and disrupt nearby businesses. The Occupiers we politely leave alone for weeks on end; Ms. Gibbons we arrest and lock up.
Doesn’t sound fair to me.
© 2011 Russell G. Campbell