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Nation in brief

by Evan LePage March 1, 2011

Anti-abortionists sue Carleton University

An anti-abortion group at Carleton University has filed a lawsuit against their school over an incident in which five students were arrested last fall for displaying signs of bloody aborted fetuses on campus. The students’ lawyer said the school’s actions represented both censorship, through the suppression of freedom of expression, and discrimination, the National Post reported. The group, Carleton Lifeline, also alleges that the university administration violated their own human rights and academic freedom codes in the incident, which saw Ottawa police arrest the five students for trespassing. Only two of those five are plaintiffs in this suit, which reportedly demands $200,000 in compensation for damages to reputation, damages for wrongful arrest and breach of the school’s fiduciary duties.


Chicken, coming to a TV near you

Two professors at the University of Ottawa say that the federal government has targeted them because of their propensity for criticizing the Conservatives. Professors Errol Mendes and Amir Attaran were the subject of two enormous freedom-of-information requests at the university which they believe is part of an intimidation tactic and effort to use their information against them, the Toronto Star reported. These requests are done anonymously in Ontario but the professors believe that this is another example of the Conservatives’ effort to silence critical voices in academia. To try and prove it, they’ve offered to release all information if the person who made the request reveals himself or herself. Employment details, expenses and teaching records were requested but Mendes said the university will not release much of the information which is private or personal in nature, and therefore legally protected from release. A Conservative spokesman said the requests were not made by the party.


Part-time Toronto students may face transit hikes

Toronto’s Transit Commission is considering putting a halt to discounted Metropasses for part-time post-secondary students as a way to allay budget issues, the CBC reported. The recommendation came from TTC staff who suggested that budget pressures could be eased if only full-time students were allowed to benefit from the reduced $99 monthly fare. Last December the student discount was extended to students at private career colleges, a move which has reportedly cost the TTC $400,000 per year in revenues lost. This new policy would serve to overcome those losses. If passed, the approximately 49,000 part-time students who currently use the student pass would instead be forced to buy the adult Metropass for $121, a price increase of over 20 per cent. Estimates show that the TTC could save in the area of $1.4 million with these changes, which would take effect July 31. The proposal will be voted on at a meeting of the TTC board today.


Seal (not the recording artist) hits the road

A lost seal strayed from his habitat and onto a waterfront road in Charlottetown, P.E.I. last week, creating an interesting challenge for local law enforcement who didn’t want it to be run over. After police officers failed to convince or coax the seal back into the ocean, personnel from the Fisheries and Ocean Department needed to be called onto the scene, QMI reported. Those officials were able to successfully relocate the seal back into the water. Only in P.E.I.


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