First, the Banner Bylaw
In the last number of years we have had several complaints from concerned Mountain residents pertaining to banners overhanging the overpasses on the Linc and addressing the safety concerned. I have been working with staff to adopt a bylaw that prevents any banner, without the permission of the City, to be hung over any overpass. I am proud to say that Council unanimously endorsed this bylaw at a Council this May. This bylaw will enable police to charge and fine anyone contravening this bylaw. The fines will escalate to the extent that the organizations responsible will also be charged, and not just the individuals involved.
Many residents have contacted me to raise concerns about not only the banners, but the graphic nature of the flyers that their children under the age of 12 have been exposed to. I am working with our Legal Department to draft a motion to request that the Federal government provide some prescriptive guidelines that will ensure that our young children are protected. It is my hope, with your support, that every federal MP is contacted and asked to support a review of this activity and the appropriate measures be implemented. At yesterday’s Council Meeting, I presented the following notice of motion:
WHEREAS the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR) is an educational Pro-Life organization reportedly undertaking across Canada an 18 year campaign to, in its words “convey the true horror” of abortion when “words are insufficient”
AND WHEREAS for that campaign CCBR is distributing materials throughout the Community ,such as doorknob cards, and putting up banners in public places such as over highways like the “Linc” in Hamilton
AND WHEREAS the distributed materials and banners display graphic and disturbing images of aborted fetuses which are gruesome and which reportedly in the words of CCBR are intended to “convey true horror”
AND WHEREAS the CCBR itself says, the materials and banners are “graphic and disturbing” and “aimed to outrage people”
AND WHEREAS based on the complaints received by the City and many City Councillors the CCBR is correct such that the materials and banners have been unnecessarily upsetting for children and have been making other vulnerable persons “violently ill”
AND WHEREAS the CCBR and other Anti-Abortion and Pro-Life groups are entitled to publicize their viewpoint and position in keeping with the “Freedom of Expression” subject to Section 1 Limitations under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms but should be able to mount a very effective campaign in a way that is not deeply troubling for children or in a way that does not cause unnecessary physical discomfort or mental anguish to other vulnerable persons in the Community.
AND WHEREAS in other jurisdictions, such as in the State of Colorado in the USA, there have been Regulations passed which have been upheld even at the Court of Appeal level restricting the use of aborted fetuses in display materials and banners in order to shield them from children and other vulnerable persons
AND WHEREAS the Provincial and Federal Governments should take action, each in their own areas of jurisdiction, to prevent such graphic, gruesome and disturbing images from reaching children and other vulnerable persons;
AND WHEREAS there already exists legislation at both the Federal and Provincial levels such as in the area of commercial advertising to children under 13, Anti-Smoking advertising, tobacco sales advertising, alcohol sales advertising, all directed at inappropriate advertising to children and other vulnerable persons which regulations have been legally upheld.
AND WHEREAS there are advertising regulations in the private sector such as the Advertisers Code of Canada and various advertising provisions in Codes of Ethics for various professions in terms of ethical and appropriate advertising
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOVED THAT:
1 City Council respectfully request the Government of Canada through the Prime Minister and the Province of Ontario through the Premier to consider enacting legislation and/or Regulations in all aspects of their particular jurisdictions dealing with advertising and communication such as broadcasting/telecommunications advertising or consumer protection advertising to prevent the use of graphic, gruesome and disturbing images of aborted fetuses in display materials, advertising posters, banners, and other mediums as part of any Anti-Abortion or Pro-Life campaign at least to the extent that such images are shielded from children and other vulnerable persons;
2.That the CCBR and others committed to the principles of Anti-Abortion and Pro-Life be informed that this resolution and any action arising thereout is not in any way intended to prevent any educational Pro Life campaigns that they wish to undertake but rather to ensure that any such campaigns are undertaken in a manner that provides appropriate protection from those images for children and prevents other vulnerable persons in society from getting seriously ill physically or mentally from seeing such images.
3.That this Resolution be forwarded to the Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) for their endorsement and support in bringing this important matter to the attention of our Federal and Provincial Governments.