Why does Calgary, allegedly the freest city in Canada, keep banning peaceful protests?

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The city of Calgary, known for its rich political history and reputation as one of the freest cities in Canada, has recently come under scrutiny for its seemingly censorious attitude towards peaceful protests.

The city's mayor, Jyoti Gondek, has threatened to use a street harassment bylaw to fine protesters who are "openly communicating hateful messaging in a public place."

This threat comes after a planned drag event was postponed due to safety concerns related to a planned protest.

The drag event, Drag on Ice with DJ Gaysnakes, organized by Chinook Blast, was postponed after discussions with the performers. While Mayor Gondek claims that the protests were "rooted in hatred and fear-mongering," the actual crime committed, if any, remains unknown.

The notion of "hate-fuelled" protests begs the question of whether or not one's heart must hold the "right" feelings to protest, including the sexualization of children.

Recently, drag story times and all-ages drag events in Calgary and across the country have become a target for opponents, with counter-protesters showing up to voice their support for drag performers. While the Media Party refers to these opponents as "alt-right groups," no specific names have been mentioned.

On the other hand, Mayor Gondek's stance on the protests has been clear, stating that "this cannot go on" and that the city will leverage the street harassment bylaw to fine protesters.

Mayor Gondek's words raise the issue of subjective opinions determining what constitutes as hateful messaging. One person's hateful messaging may not be seen as such by others, leading to the question of who gets to decide.

The Mayor's statement that the protests are "rooted in hatred" also raises questions about how she knows this to be true.

Furthermore, Mayor Gondek's actions towards these protesters raises the issue of double standards. If the drag event was cancelled due to safety concerns, why are the protesters not entitled to the same level of protection? It also raises the question of whether or not free speech and the right to protest are truly valued in the city of Calgary.

It remains to be seen how this situation will play out and whether or not the city of Calgary will live up to its reputation as one of the freest cities in Canada.

We have to nip this in the bud — the idea that politicians can ban their peaceful opponents. If Gondek had her way, she’d probably invoke martial law just like Trudeau did.

If you've been fined while peacefully protesting Drag Story Time or other all-ages Drag events, you may be eligible for a free legal defence. Go to FightCensorshipFines.com and fill out the form and we will get back to you.

GUEST: Sue Ann Levy of True North Centre, on John Tory resigning this past Friday after having an affair with a staffer.

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