Lethbridge must reconsider pro-life ads on city buses: Judge

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The pro-life group was not given an opportunity to appeal.

A previous campaign was approved by the city but later removed from city property due to “adverse community reaction.”

Justice David Gates said the city’s decision was unreasonable.

“I am satisfied that the City failed to conduct the required minimal impairment analysis in its consideration of these five advertisements,” determined Gates. “As such, the City failed to properly balance the attainment of its statutory objectives with the applicant’s Charter protected right to freedom of expression.”

He cited a similar case in northwestern Alberta, where an anti-abortion group proposed a graphic advertisement that showed fetuses with the phrases “abortion kills children” and “end the killing.” It was refused by the City of Grande Prairie.

Alberta’s top court later dismissed the group’s appeal to have the city’s decision quashed. The Court of Queen’s Bench said the advertisements would likely cause fear and confusion among children and psychological harm to women.

Gates said the advertisements were not “comparable” and that the “hateful nature and extreme tone determined to exist in Grande Prairie do not exist in this instance.”

The city is responsible for Lethbridge and District Pro-Life Association’s legal costs.

The group can also re-apply to have their advertisements displayed.

alsmith@postmedia.com

Twitter: @alanna_smithh

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