EDITORIAL: Respect others when airing views

View Royal abortion protesters have a right to be there,
as do pro-choice supporters

Daytime passersby at the busy intersection of Helmcken Road and Island Highway in View Royal have likely noticed a group of sign-carrying demonstrators lately.

Members of Choose Life Victoria, they’ve joined the latest 40 Days for Life vigil. The group has reconvened at the site, as they have since 2011, to shed light on the fact medical and surgical abortions take place inside the Vancouver Island Women’s Clinic nearby, and to inform women considering such a step about options to ending their pregnancies.

The pro-life group has come under fire in past, from those who argue they are not observing the legislated “bubble zone” around the clinic, to residents of the housing complex across Helmcken Road who say the protesters’ presence is affecting their quality of life.

The fact this group, and those who oppose their beliefs, is free to stand on a street corner with signs implicitly bringing attention to the activities of a specific business, or individuals who would use it, is an example of the right to free speech we sometimes take for granted.

With that right comes a responsibility in a civil society to undertake public activities in a civil way.

That’s not to say some heated discussions won’t take place, especially on a topic as controversial and polarizing as abortion.

Protesters of all kinds are aware that as soon as they step into a public space and hold up a sign that they’ll be a target for those whose beliefs are in opposition. Some of the latter might choose to have a respectful conversation, while others’ discourse is limited to shouting insults from a passing car or engaging in such passive aggressive actions as writing lewd graffiti on a sidewalk or leaving garbage or manure in the path of protesters.

People can think what they want; we all have that right.

If we choose to go public with our beliefs, whether it’s in a newspaper editorial, standing with a sign, or voicing opposition to a stated opinion, we need to be prepared to have some form of conversation about it.

But that discussion needs a level of civility and respect befitting the value we place on the ideal of freedom of speech itself.

Just Posted

Lawyer for Victoria homeless camp questions offer by Saanich Police

John Heaney says breaking up camp puts people at risk because it seperates them from support

Woman arrested as Saanich Police dismantle tent city near Highway 17

Province of B.C. calls in local police to clear campers

Final push to fund new ultrasounds at Victoria hospitals

Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s Beneath the Surface campaign nears goal of $500,000

Drunk driver charged after early morning crash in Saanich

Power expected to be out for hours in Mayfair Drive area

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps calls for audit on Johnson Street Bridge project

The bridge took three years and $40 million more than initially expected

Musicians take note at Victoria music industry conference

Rifflandia Gathering brings together emerging artists and industry professionals

EDITORIAL: Ban on plastic bags reflects new reality

The plastic bag ban Victoria introduced in July of this year is… Continue reading

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

Cyclists finish North America trip to highlight Ukraine struggle

The 10,000 bike ride raised over $10,000 for victims of the war in Ukraine.

21 new paramedics promised for B.C. Interior

A total of 18 new full-time paramedics will be hired for Kamloops and three are being hired for Chase.

Stolen Victoria vehicle crashes in Comox Valley

On Sept. 15, 2018 at approximately 10:45 p.m., the Comox Valley RCMP… Continue reading

Federal stats show slight increase in irregular migrant claims in August

113 extra people tried to cross the Canadian border last month

Work begins to remove cargo from grounded Haida Gwaii barge and fishing lodge

Westcoast Resorts’ Hippa Lodge broke from its moorings and ran aground early this month

Most Read