CLC Blog

CLC Blog

Say NO to Hamilton’s censorship bylaw

Some people – including members of Hamilton City Council - don’t want the truth to be known.

They want evil deeds to remain shrouded in secrecy, so they can continue, unhindered by the scrutiny of clear-headed citizens who are able to see the truth in full light.

Hamilton City Council recently passed a motion to investigate censoring the display and distribution of “graphic images” related to abortion.

Protest signs

The motion calls for the City’s legal staff to investigate how to ban signs and banners that depict “a fetus or any part of a fetus” from being displayed on public property throughout Hamilton.

In the preamble of the motion, it leads the casual listener to believe that only abortion victim photography is being targeted. However, in the definition provided by Coun. Maureen Wilson who introduced the motion, it clearly captures any image showing a baby in the womb, even ones simply depicting the stages of fetal development, or a common 4-D ultrasound.

For instance, the following medically accurate image of a child in-utero, would be censored or banned under the type of by-law Hamilton is proposing:

Flyer delivery

The motion also calls for postcards or flyers containing “graphic images” of children in the womb to be fully concealed inside opaque envelopes, when delivered to residential homes. Remember, that doesn’t mean just abortion victim photography, but even medical illustrations of human development in the womb, like the one above.

Furthermore, the proposed by-law would require “a warning that the envelope or package contains a graphic image that may be offensive or disturbing to some people”.

Effective pro-life expression is being targeted

Council’s censorship strategy for flyer delivery, although more subtle, nonetheless ensures that the images will never be seen, because many people, perhaps most, will discard the envelope as junk mail without opening it.

That’s exactly what I do with most of the enveloped ad mail that I receive at home. I put it straight in the recycling bin, without opening it. Un-enveloped flyers I’ll tend to look at first, out of interest, before choosing whether to discard. I suspect a lot of people are like me in this regard.

It’s important to note that the desired by-law would not require other, non-abortion related flyers to be concealed inside an opaque envelope, ensuring their messages are never seen. This is manifestly unjust. It’s a form of viewpoint and religious discrimination, and a prima facie violation of our Charter Right to freedom of expression.

Pro-life citizens are being singled out for suppression of a constitutional right.

What about abortion victim photography as a pro-life advocacy tool? Should that sort of expression enjoy less constitutional protection, just because the images are disturbing depictions of violence?

The display of abortion victim photography is a common educational and protest strategy used in projects like Show The Truth and “Choice” Chain. It’s also very effective at converting people from “pro-choice” into “pro-life”, and that is the real reason for Coun. Wilson’s motion!

Graphic images are crucial

Let me explain why graphic images, which are controversial even for some pro-lifers, are vital and must remain uncensored. I’ll use a historical lesson to guide our discernment on this subject…

In 1945, when the allied forces defeated the Nazis in World War II, the American General, Dwight D. Eisenhower, was sickened by what he found as his troops overran German-controlled Europe, liberated the Nazi concentration camps, and encountered tens of thousands of prisoners along the way, alive and dead.

Piles of human bodies. Emaciated from starvation. Tortured. Executed. Evidence of prisoners used for slave labour in the camps and worked to death. Many were Jews, but also many Polish Catholics along with other religious and political prisoners who suffered the barbarism of Nazi internment.

Eisenhower was so disturbed by Hitler’s atrocities that he wanted to ensure the world saw images of the human carnage, so that it might never happen again. So, he invited the U.S. Congress and American journalists to come view and photograph the camps, the mass graves and piles of murdered bodies.

Journalists inspect the Buchenwald concentration camp, April 25, 1945.
Photo credit: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Photos published in U.S. newspapers made the world aware of Nazi crimes and led to Nuremberg’s international laws to try to prevent this from ever happening again.

Mass grave in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, April 29, 1945.
Photo credit: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

You see, Eisenhower understood that unless the American public saw graphic images of the victims of Nazi atrocities, the moral lessons might be lost on current and future generations.

Such was the value of graphic images in World War II, and still is today, lest we forget the holocaust, and how easily a government can fall into inhuman and murderous despotism.

It’s a necessary reminder how even an advanced, highly educated society, like Germany’s at the time, can be led to tolerate and excuse unimaginable evil.

Sadly, we have another holocaust right here in Canada, our own advanced society, which is being tolerated and excused by those in power.

Every day, 274 Canadian children are murdered in their mothers’ wombs. The abortion death toll is 100,000 preborn children annually, and almost all of them, for reasons of lifestyle convenience.

By surgical and chemical abortions, children are torn limb from limb, disemboweled, decapitated and poisoned.

It is truly a modern-day holocaust. And as General Eisenhower foresaw, some people need to see the brutalized victims with their own eyes, or else they will never thirst for justice enough to take action. If you’ve never viewed abortion victim photography yourself, click here to be taken to a special page on our website.

Freedom of expression using abortion victim photography and fetal development images, must both be safeguarded from the City of Hamilton’s plan for a censorship by-law.

Take Action: Contact City Councillors and the Mayor

You can contact Hamilton city council members using the phone numbers and email addresses below:

Andrea Horwath
905-546-4200 [email protected]

Councillor Ward 1
Maureen Wilson
905-546-2416 [email protected]

Councillor Ward 2
Cameron Kroetsch
905-546-2197 [email protected]

Councillor Ward 3
Nrinder Nann
905-546-2702 [email protected]

Councillor Ward 4
Tammy Hwang
905-546-2113 [email protected]

Councillor Ward 5
Matt Francis
905-546-2716 [email protected]

Councillor Ward 6
Tom Jackson
905-546-2707 [email protected]

Councillor Ward 7
Esther Pauls
905-546-2706 [email protected]

Councillor Ward 8
John-Paul Danko
905-521-3958 [email protected]

Councillor Ward 9
Brad Clark
905-546-2703 [email protected]

Councillor Ward 10
Jeff Beattie
905-546-2701 [email protected]

Councillor Ward 11
Mark Tadeson
905-546-2110 [email protected]

Councillor Ward 12
Craig Cassar
905-546-2704 [email protected]

Councillor Ward 13
Alex Wilson
905-546-2714 [email protected]

Councillor Ward 14
Mike Spadafora
905-546-2712 [email protected]

Councillor Ward 15
Ted McMeekin
905-546-2713 [email protected]

Apply to speak to Council

After emailing and phoning the Councillors and Mayor, would you consider applying to make a delegate presentation at the next Planning Committee meeting of Council? The Planning Committee is the one which passed Coun. Wilson’s motion, and to whom staff has been tasked with presenting a draft censorship by-law no later than Q2 2024.

Delegate speeches are an important tool to help impress upon Councillors that their constituents don’t want free speech, or the right to protest, undermined in Hamilton. Information on how to request to speak to Council is available here.