Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Public Funding of Fake Clinics in Alberta: The Wrap

We have some catching up to do.

We revealed that public funds from the Alberta Lottery Fund were being handed over to fake clinics and profiled the first lucky fake clinic, Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre Society (Red Deer), here.

Part 2 on Medicine Hat Pregnancy Support Society. And Part 3 on Hinton Crisis Pregnancy Association.

We published a letter by Celia Posnyiak asking Alberta Culture about that funding and another asking the mayor of Hinton about its creative additional funding of local fetus freaks through photo radar money.

We heard from the mayor of Hinton.

And now, after nearly a month, there's been a reply by Carl Royan, Director, Community Grants, Alberta Culture, to Celia's letter.

After some introductory blah-blah:

The Community Spirit Program aimed to partner with Individual Albertans who donated monies to eligible nonprofit organizations by providing those organizations wit proportional grants based on the donations received. [Names of three fake clinics queried] met the Community Spirit Program (SCP) eligibility criteria, received donations from individuals [sic] Albertans who supported their activities, and therefore qualified for funding under the program. As you may know, the SCP was discontinued as a result of a budget decrease the department faced in Budget 2013.

Followed by signing-off blah-blah.

Everyone agrees that this response is about what was expected.

Well, heck, when the mayor of Calgary points to the stereotype of Albertans as "hillbillies", who are we to disagree?

And we would never ever pull some central-Canada-superiority shit by highlighting the timely and responsible action of the Ontario Trillium Foundation when it found out it was funding Ontario hillbillies.

So. There's no joy in Hillbilly Land, but that doesn't mean we're going to stop.

In fact, our search of the handy Alberta Culture database that turned up the original three fake clinics was flawed. We used the key word "pregnancy". We should also have used "pro-life" because looky here.

Under the same Community Spirit Program, Edmonton Pro-life Society got just over $23K in 2008/2009.

I'm absolutely sure it fits the eligibility criteria too, which seems mainly to be that these outfits are duly accredited as charities by CRA, the same gang that allows the Fraser Institute to operate as a charity.

From its CRA filings, the Edmonton fake clinic's costs and revenues run about $70-80K a year. And it consistently reports "government funding" of between 10-15% of total income. Rather nice for them.

But in 2010, it reported a whopping 25% of revenue from government.




Now, lest we get carried away and believe the BS that Edmonton Prolife offers anything like accurate medical information about all options, have a look at this.
An abortion, intending to end the life of the child, never has to happen. It is never the only option. So why do people have abortions?

There are many reasons why women or couples decide to have an abortion. An internet search will yield various results, statistics, and percentages, citing socio-economic reasons, not wanting children or any more children, fear of health risks, and many others.Abortion takes an innocent human life, and the gravity of that fact cannot be mitigated, it is important remember that many factors can go into an abortion decision, such as fear, desperation, and ignorance (the person(s) have perhaps become convinced by others whom they trust that the preborn child is not a living human being).

For those people who wish to see Abortion, we provide the following information.This video is not pleasant, but it must be seen. Hundreds of innocent unborn children are torn to pieces every day in Canada because most people simply don't know what abortion actually does. With the exception of the final scene (a second-trimester fetus), all of the video you will see depicts children who were killed during first-trimester abortions.
That's the intro to a link to 4-minute video with a warning that it's disturbing. They don't warn that its also full of manipulative bullshit.

If we had the time, we'd try to investigate where that consistent 10-15% of revenues labelled "government" actually comes from.

But we don't. And it looks like Alberta is fine with its unique "culture."

Next up, we have been informed that two fake clinics in BC also get lottery dough.

Maybe BC will prove a little more enlightened.













Sunday, 14 December 2014

First, do no harm...

Upon successfully completing their basic training, and before they take on the years of residency that will allow them to practice their science, skills and craft in a medical specialty of their choice, medical students pledge to the principals of the Hippocratic Oath*.

In Ontario, the specific application of that pledge came under scrutiny in the last year with regard to women's reproductive health rights. In its modern form, the Oath is centred upon patient care. "... Above all, I must not play at God."

DJ! has been covering this issue from the outset, here, and here

Ontario’s new policy is unlikely to put the discussion to rest, said Carolyn McLeod, professor of philosophy at the University of Western Ontario. Patients, particularly women, will undoubtedly find it troubling if a doctor refuses their request for birth control. Doctors who object to abortion might feel uncomfortable or complicit providing patients with a referral, but setting out a clearer policy could help connect patients to care providers who can best serve their needs, Prof. McLeod said.

“To receive abortion care from somebody who is morally opposed to abortion, I think, is harmful,” she said. “I think for patients’ sake, if for no one else’s, there should be the ability for the provider to give the referral.”

Ontario’s new policy has not yet been finalized and could still be changed, depending on what the college hears during the feedback period.

Marc Gabel, former president of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, said doctors could face disciplinary action if they do not comply with the new guidelines and cannot use unfounded medical reasons to withhold birth control, abortions, vasectomies, blood transfusions or other treatments.

“What we’re trying to do, I think, is set a tone to remind physicians and the public we will act professionally in ensuring their access to care and their safety,” Dr. Gabel said.

From here.

This vivid graphic


accompanied anti-Choice Pro-lies groups spin on the 'debate'.  This is their response to regulatory bodies reminding anti-Choice physicians of their professional obligations, responsibilities and duties.

No matter how the fetushists and their acolytes spin their concerns, the basis for their shrieking is fundamentally religious. Yes, a professional can abstain from engaging in activities that compromise her/his beliefs. There are nonetheless job requirements that require that she/he assist a patient in finding a practitioner who will care for, and address the needs of that patient in a timely manner. 

If Gawd-worshippy physicians won't do this, let them move on to a medical specialty or a practice where they won't be tempted to play at being Gawd.

*In my research, I came across this interesting opinion piece about the Oath. There's a relevant point about abortion.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Fetus Freaks Get "Special" Permission at Parliament Hill



Like almost nobody else, DJ! reported on the MASSIVE display of anti-choice underground gas-line markers on Parliament Hill in October.

MASSIVE fizzle though it was, it now appears that it was against the rules to boot.

But, when you have friends in high places [bold mine]. . .

A visually striking anti-abortion protest on Parliament Hill technically broke several rules on the use of the public space, but federal officials made special exceptions to allow the event to proceed anyway.
...
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair stopped to speak briefly with a volunteer that day, and five days later told a Planned Parenthood meeting that the person indicated the group had received "special" permission.

Schutten, who bought the flags wholesale, said there are no immediate plans to reprise the event in 2015, saying the 100,000 flags were later distributed in lots of 10,000 and given to affiliate groups in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia for smaller installations.
And now watch the CONs scurry away.

Marisa Monnin, spokeswoman for Heritage Minister Shelly Glover, said, "We'd like to reiterate that all individuals serving on the committee are public servants and that this decision was made independently."
Yah, sure.

In my original post, I called the little doohickeys "underground gas-line markers." The CBC articles calls them "irrigation flags". They're also know as stake flags and can be bought wholesale for the thrifty price of $7.70 per bundle of 100.

And, as promised, the Fetus Freaks are RECYCLING them!

Look where they turned up recently:
This morning, the students at Providence Reformed Collegiate, a private Christian school in Komoka, Ontario, set up the pro-life flag display on their school front lawn.
Yep. A MASSIVE movement. Brought to you by, don't forget, Dominionists.

Their stunts don't get media coverage, but their "special treatment" does. Well, hell, when you're losing the war this badly, I guess it's better to be known as cheaters than losers.

h/t for CBC story to Chris Kirouac

Monday, 8 December 2014

We Hear from Hinton

Kathy Dawson got a response to her open letter to the Mayor of Hinton, Alberta. Kathy wanted to know why the town gave $10K of its photo radar bonanza (total available: $100K) to a fake pregnancy clinic.


[via email from:] Lil Wallace, Executive Assistant - Office of the Mayor; Office of the Town Manager


Dear Ms. Dawson:
Thank you for your enquiry respecting the Quality of Life grant program that Hinton offers.  Hinton is a diverse community that works and builds together.  This includes improving several aspects of the quality of life for our citizens through grants such as the Quality of Life.

The West Yellowhead Pregnancy Care Centre indicates they provide unconditional, non judgmental and long-term support to all individuals regardless of what choice they make.  One of their support programs includes a “clothing closet” where items like diapers, blankets, clothes, cribs, car seats and formula are provided to residents who are in need.  The Grant Funding Advisory Committee felt this “clothing closet” is a program worthy of supporting and council agreed with their recommendation.

Once again, thank you for your enquiry.

Rob Mackin
Mayor
Town of Hinton | Gateway to the Rockies

Pretty good eh? For double-speak babblegab, it really doesn't get any better than: "This includes improving several aspects of the quality of life for our citizens through grants such as the Quality of Life." Improving the quality of life through quality of life.

Hoo-kay.

And $10K for a "clothing closet"? That's a lotta diapers for a town of fewer than ten thousand souls.

And I guess "diversity" in the Gateway to the Rockies does not include reproductive rights. Because crisis pregnancy centres (CPCs) not only exist to scare the shit out of pregnant people seeking abortions, they also refuse to counsel on or offer contraception. Hinton's diversity includes abstinence-only birth control.

We did some research on West Yellowhead Fake Clinic here.

Its revenues and expenses run about $100K a year, which for a town the size of Hinton is pretty lavish.

We took a closer look at its CRA charitable filing for 2013. We wanted to see how much it was spending on its clothing closet before the generous people of Hinton stepped in.

There's only one paid employee, making $42K a year. The only non-financial revenue was donated rental space, value $21,600.

Let's have a look at that space, shall we?

Unless they have other premises, this is it. *




I have no idea what retail space costs are in Hinton, but do you think $21.6K covers the whole deal there? Or only part of the rent?

Because from Schedule 6 of the CRA filing, we find they report an "occupancy cost" of $25K.

So is that space worth $46.6K a year? Partly donated, partly paid? Or is there something odd going on here?

Other expenses: the employee, whose $42K gets up to $49K with perqs I imagine. Some other bits and bobs for a vehicle and professional services. Office expenses were just under $5K, "purchased supplies and assets" cost $5.5K, and "other expenditures" were $3.5K.

And that's it.

While adding the purchased supplies and other expenditures together we get close to $10K, there is nothing specifically for "clothes, diapers, car seats" etc.

So, it looks to me like the "clothing closet" is a fantasy and the $10K from the photo-radar scam is pure windfall.

Unless, of course, there was no existing "clothing closet" program and the generous folks at West Yellowhead Lies and Fantasies plan on providing a layette from Holt Renfrew to every child born to its clients starting this year.

At the very least, we can say that officials of the town of Hinton are pretty easily satisfied.

Because even a cursory look at the books would raise all kinds of questions.

But hey, maybe "due diligence" means something different out there.



*That image comes from Google Maps. Here are two more. Note handy proximity to booze store. Also its location on the Harley Street of Hinton, sandwiched between real health care providers of the dental and medical variety.

Note too the weird fuzzing out of the CPC's name. What's up with that? Especially since it's perfectly clear in the front-on shot.

Help Stop (or at least embarrass) CPC Cheaters

Remember the 2010 Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament movement? Then, before Twitter was as omnipresent as it is now, the CAPP Facebook group built more than 200,000 followers.

Now that the CONs have their majority and have had 4+ years to fuck the country -- and doing an excellent job at it -- we have a chance next year to get rid of the bastards.

But. They're going to do everything they can to stop us.

Including of course cheating. In each of the past three elections, CONservatives have been caught cheating.

With the absolute minimum cost or penalty.

You think they won't do it again? What or who can stop them?

Us.




Here's the petition.

It was started on December 5. When I signed about 5 p.m. yesterday (Sunday, Dec. 7), it had about 660 signatures. By 11 p.m., it had over 800.

This morning it has over 900.

These things are maddeningly slow at the beginning. But they soon start to snowball.

Let's get this Big Canadian Snowball rolling.

It's a delicious win-win for us. If it gets a respectable number of signatures, questions will be asked and the issue of election fraud(s) gets re-aired.

If it gets an impressive number of signatures, it will make CONs squirm as more questions are lobbed at them.

If it goes, as they say, viral, it will make international news. Mockery and finger-pointing will ensue. More squirming by CONs.

And Harper wins too! He gets to add to his Enemies List. :)

Well, 'tis the season. You wanna be on a List, don't you?


Monday, 1 December 2014

Dear Alberta Lottery Foundation: We Have Questions

[This is a letter written to the Alberta Lottery fund on November 19, 2014, by Celia Posyniak, Executive Director, Kensington Clinic, Calgary. Some background on her concerns can be found in our series on public funding of three Alberta crisis pregnancy centres: Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre, Medicine Hat Pregnancy Support Society, and West Yellowhead Pregnancy Care Centre (Hinton). Links to CAPSS added.]

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to express my concerns regarding the awarding of lottery funds to so-called crisis pregnancy centres (CPC) in Alberta.

Specifically, my concerns are with the Hinton Crisis Pregnancy Association, the Medicine Hat Pregnancy Support Society and the Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre Society in Red Deer, all of which were awarded Community Spirit Donation Grants in 2011/12 totalling $34,000.

At least two of these organizations are members of the Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services (CAPSS), a “Christ-centred national ministry “whose primary mission is to discourage women from having abortions through the operation of crisis pregnancy centres and to share their faith in the process. CAPSS is the umbrella organization that provides training and resources for CPCs and members must agree to adhere to CAPSS mission and service delivery guidelines. For your convenience I have attached a copy of their “Core Documents”.[pdf]

CPCs exist to discourage vulnerable women from obtaining abortions and have been known throughout North America to use misinformation and scare tactics to achieve this goal. In fact, the Red Deer centre was once publicly exposed in an undercover operation by CTV’s W5, describing surgical instruments used in abortion as similar in appearance to “barbecue forks”. While they claim to assist all pregnant women and new mothers in need, through donations of clothing etc., the most recent issue of the CAPSS newsletter which I have enclosed, appears to lament this outcome as the majority of recipients were not “abortion minded or abortion vulnerable”.

CPCs generally do not employ health professionals or professional counsellors as these people would not be able to operate under CAPSS governing principles without violating their own professions code of ethics. CPCs claim they provide accurate information about abortion, but their code of counselling ethics forbids them from providing referrals. How can they be trusted to provide accurate information about a healthcare service in an unbiased manner, when they refuse for ideological reasons to tell clients where to obtain those same services?

It is difficult to understand how the government can on one hand support comprehensive reproductive healthcare services for women in the province, and then hand out money to organizations who would like to take fundamental reproductive rights away from women, promote junk science, refuse contraception information to unmarried people, and beyond advocating sexual abstinence*, make no contribution in the education of Albertans on safe sex practices.

To give this another perspective, would an anti-vaccination group be awarded public funds to promote their agenda against immunizations? Could a Jehovah Witness group be given funds to counsel the public on their ideological objections to blood transfusions while proselytizing?

Does the ALF have any eligibility criteria regarding an organization’s mission? What due diligence did the Alberta Lottery Foundation do to ensure that these CPCs were legitimate community assets and not religious organizations with a clear agenda of dissuading women from accessing a legal medical service and sharing their faith?

Thank you for taking the time to consider this and I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Celia Posyniak
Executive Director [Kensington Clinic, Calgary, Alberta]

*************

Good questions.

Celia reports that as of today there's been no response, but she promises to keep us informed.

If you'd like to pose some questions of your own, here's the contact information for Alberta Lottery Foundation.


* Link to Kathy Dawson's open letter to the mayor of Hinton about those "sex-ed" presentations.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Public Funds for Anti-Choice, Anti-Sex Religious Organizations (an ongoing series)

[Open letter to Mayor Rob Makin, Hinton, Alberta, by Kathy Dawson*. Background here. Links added.]

Dear Mayor Makin, Town of Hinton,

Your grant information indicates that groups that advance a specific moral or religious point of view are ineligible for your Quality of Life Grant. Can you explain why West Yellowhead Pregnancy Care Centre (Hinton) was given $10,000 of public money?

West Yellowhead Pregnancy Care Centre (Hinton) is a religious based mission, an affiliate of CAPSS and bound by CAPSS Core documents (which can be found here (pdf)). They are a Christ-centred mission that is known for opposing reproductive rights and providing religious interference in the choices of pregnant women.  CAPSS prevents them from counselling or referring people for contraception. I have been personally present at a CAPSS affiliate abstinence based sexual health presentations (in a public school no less) and can attest that it excluded LGBTQ, shamed sexually active people, and provided no useful information on how sexually active teens can avoid pregnancy and STIs. In Canada, we have the right to access contraception, protection, abortion and quality sexual health information free of religious bias. It is shocking that the Town of Hinton would provide money to support groups that oppose basic reproductive rights.

I would appreciate a response at your earliest convenience.

Sincerely,

Kathy Dawson
Sexual Health Education Advocate

***********

*Kathy Dawson guest-blogged here recently and has a proven record of activism.

If you'd like to help chivvy an answer out of the responsible people, here are two Twitter accounts: @HintonVoiceInc (town newspaper) and @Hinton Parklander (local Sun franchise).

Friday, 28 November 2014

New Brunswick Happy Dance

First, the news that New Brunswick is entering the 20th century on women's rights.

Next, some celebratory media releases from groups that worked their butts off for this:

Reproductive Justice New Brunswick,
Sexual Health and Rights, and
Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada.

And a sample of the predictable and ridiculous foot-stomping from the Fetus Freaks: LifeShite and Fetal Gore Pr0n Gang.

Here at DJ!, where we like to think we helped a little, the main take-aways are:

1. This is a grand success for a new generation of reproductive justice activists. It looks good on them and must feel fabulous and empowering.

2. The mouldy old men and their antiquated views on women are finally succumbing to the reality of modern pro-choice Canada, or as this writer puts it, we may be entering a more enlightened time on women's issues.

Of course, while Premier Gallant addressed his promise on access surprisingly quickly and with minimum fuss, there's more to do, principally to take abortion out of the exclusive purview of hospitals and widen access by funding the procedure in clinics and doctors' offices.

One quick and easy way to widen access -- not just for women in Atlantic Canada, but for all Canadian women, especially those in rural and remote areas -- is for Health Canada to stop dragging its feet and finally approve the "gold standard" of medical abortion.

While lamenting the general state of access in Canada, this Canadian Medical Association Journal article seems hopeful on the issue.

And here, Vicky Saporta may be tempting the Goddesses.
The drug is currently up for review by Health Canada, and some close to the process believe a ruling will be made in January 2015, according to Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation.

So, with a loud KNOCK WOOD, here's our happy dance.


Next, PEI.

UPDATE: Contributed by DJ! pal trapdinawrpool:

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

UPDATE to "Without Going into Details"

I just about broke the blog trying to update the post on reaction to the partial defunding by Ontario Trillium Foundation of a fake clinic. I have no idea what I did but I undid it and am trying this instead.

Our Number One Fan, in addition to stalking, runs a sideline in conspiracy theories, shared by SUZY ALLCAPS.

Here's what SHE quoted from his blogpost:
Andrea Cohen Barrack [CEO, Ontario Trillium Foundation] just “happens” to be the Chair of the International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region!

Plain text for the usual reason of juvenile redirects on hyperlinks: http://www.bigbluewave.ca/2014/11/todays-link-dump-abortion-catholic.html#idc-container

Sooooooo. You see what that means, don't you?

Our pal Balbulican clearly did.
Wow! What a scoop! Obviously evidence of...uh, a highly skilled, active and much sought after woman who's active in not-for-profit Canada?

Just so you know, my conspiratorial little friend, Andrea is also a senior adviser to the mildly conservative C.D. Howe Institute, Vice Chair of the Roger's School of Management at Ryerson University, a lecturer at U of T.

And indeed, Ms Barrack is a hella accomplished gal.

Goddess bless Balbulican for his futile but funny interactions with Canada's BIGGEST Fetus Fetishist.