Guelph Mercury

Bus ad protesters are taking wrong path as opponents

There is an issue irking online petitioners regarding the presence of anti-abortion advertisements on Guelph Transit buses.

A petition on with more than 2,000 signatures is calling on Guelph Transit to remove them.

A quick search of the issue reveals that citizens have posed complaints to their councillors on this issue before.

The response on the blogs of Ward 2 and Ward 4 notes that: “The City of Guelph does not endorse any businesses or associations who advertise on transit buses, shelters or benches … All advertisements that could be in violation of Guelph Transit’s advertising policy are reviewed … and are approved or denied based on the policy. The current Guelph and Area Right to Life advertisement does not contravene our advertising policy and although the advertisement may be considered controversial in nature, refusing to post the advertisement could be seen as limiting freedom of expression under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

This response is correct, but it should read “refusing to post the advertisement would be seen as limiting freedom of expression under the charter.”

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The Ontarion

Why you should opt out of OPIRG

How would you feel if you were forced to pay money to a political party on campus every semester? Would you want to pay to support Stephen Harper, Dalton McGuinty, or Thomas Mulcair’s campaign? If you disagree with them, should you be forced to pay them? Of course not.

It is a fantastic exercise to donate to a political party or charity if you support it. It gives you a positive feeling when you contribute to something you love and believe in. However, when you are forced to pay for an ideology you disagree with, it leaves you feeling angry and helpless.

There is an organization on campus called the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG), which participates in a number of initiatives that can only be characterized as radical and at odds with the views of the vast majority of students. I don’t mind that this group exists on campus; diversity is a crucial thing to have. What does worry me is that every student pays a sum of money – for what many amounts to a hidden tax – every semester to prop up this organization when so few students benefit or even know it exists.

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Student urges CSA not to be selective

An event posted in the recent Central Student Association (CSA) mass mailing recently emailed to all undergraduate students reads:

Tired of not getting your voice heard? Want a chance to speak to the top, FOR FREE? Tar Sands Action group will be paying the tab for you to call OBAMA or HARPER and say NO to the Alberta Tar Sands.

This message is overtly political, and presents one side of a very controversial issue. There are a number of problems in including such messages in your mass email.

It is critically important for the undergraduate student union to have a political voice. However, it is very worrying if a limited range of perspectives is presented on such contentious issues as the Alberta oil sands. Perhaps many students have not taken a stand on this issue. To win these students over, a coherent, logical argument should be presented on both sides, and students should be allowed to make an informed decision. Presenting one side is not, nor should it be, the mandate of the organization which purports to represent all undergraduate students.

Indeed, it is this sort of narrow-mindedness that we would chastise our elected representatives in Parliament for. It is crucial that the CSA rises above this. It is also important to keep in mind that the office is funded by all undergraduate students. Students of all beliefs and ideologies should have the right to have their opinions heard and voiced.

CSA, please truly advocate on behalf of your entire membership, and not just selective interests within it!