Calgary’s city hall continues to ban protests — but only conservative protests. Who will stop them?

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Yesterday, we talked with Tracey Wilson of the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights about an interesting idea by the provincial government of Alberta. To stop Justin Trudeau’s gun laws, they’re introducing their own gun laws.

The legal theory is that while actual crimes are a matter of federal jurisdiction under our Constitution, property and civil rights and other things that would touch on a gun registry are provincial matters. So if the province passes pro-gun laws first, Trudeau’s anti-gun laws will be overridden.

I like the theory; I’m not sure how it would actually shake out in our courts, which are more liberal and activist than ever, despite Stephen Harper having appointed so many judges. I just don’t think Harper cared enough about who he put on the court — in the U.S. it is often the most important legacy of any president; Trump’s Supreme Court appointments may well be his most enduring impact on America. Harper, I don’t think, even cared. He delegated that to his justice ministers who didn’t care, either. Those judges are our real masters, and you can’t fire them, can you.

We're seeing that lasting legacy play out in Alberta now.

Today, in Calgary, Pastor Derek Reimer had a quick court appearance. He was arrested and charged for protesting an all-ages drag queen story time event.

Look at this “Safe and Inclusive Bylaw” the city is using to target protests — ban them, really. You'll need to scroll way down, to around page 403.

But it only bans protests the government doesn't like. That's quite a trick. It's easy when you control all the levers of power — city hall, police, libraries, every institution, really. But you have to at least pretend.

Black Lives Matter, Idle No More, union strikes are all fine, you see. Just not Christian pastors.

Look at this excerpt:

2(1)(g) definitions

• “specified protest” means an expression of objection or disapproval towards an idea or action related to race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, gender identity, gender expression, physical disability, mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income, family status or sexual orientation by any means, including graphic, verbal, or written means, but does not include messaging at an event scheduled by a library or recreation facility.

So you can’t “disapprove” of something. You must approve of it or be silent. You cannot oppose or object. That’s the actual language here. Nothing to do with violence or threats or crimes. Pure thought control. Disapproval is an idea, a thought, some words. That is banned.

Oh — but the library itself can have gatherings to disapprove of you.

3. (1) A person must not engage in specified protest on publicly accessible property within 100 metres of an entrance to a recreation facility or a library.(2) A person must not engage in specified protest anywhere inside a recreation

3.) A person must not physically impeded or attempt to impede the passage of a person, to or rom an entrance to a recreation facility or library.

Bubble zones for banning speech. How about this woman?

6. (1)
Any person who contravenes any provision of this Bylaw by doing any act or thing which the person is prohibited from doing, or by failing to do any act or thing the person is required to do, is guilty of an offence pursuant to this Bylaw.

Any person who is convicted of an offence pursuant to this Bylaw is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000.00 or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.

$10,000 or prison.

Try doing this little challenge. Google “draft Calgary bylaw”. See what results you get.

Is it like this?

From Feb. 2020: Calgary council unanimously votes to draft bylaw banning LGBT conversion therapy

Nov. 2022: City hall to draft bylaw restricting how graphic anti-abortion flyers are distributed in Calgary

This week: Proposed 'safe and inclusive' bylaw to protect LGBTQ2+ community to be debated Tuesday

Not a single point of view against it. Not one. Look at that photo and that caption: “Derek Reimer, a street church pastor, was removed after disrupting a family-friendly Reading with Royalty event at the Seton Library event on Feb. 25.”

What, was this a Disney princess meet and greet? Not quite. 

And look at the bail conditions they've placed on Pastor Derek:

1. Except when in court or through legal counsel, you must have no contact or communication directly or indirectly (including face to face or by means of text, email or social media or through a third party) with any identified LGBTQ2S+ community member.

2. Except as specified below, you must not attend at or within 200 meters of the address(es) or location(s) described as any LGBTQ2S+ community event.

He is literally banned from talking to any person who identifies as gay. And apparently every gay person is banned from speaking with him?

How does that work? What about friends, family members or anyone else he might come into contact with during his day-to-day life? 

If he talks to anyone who is gay — or who “identifies” as LGBTQ2S+ — he goes straight back to jail. I bet you a dollar the judge doesn’t even know what LGBTQ2S+ stands for.

It doesn’t matter though, does it? 

And it doesn’t matter if this is all unconstitutional — they’ll put him in prison, maybe for 50 days like Pastor Artur Pawlowski. Because who cares? They got away with it with Artur; don’t you think they learned a lesson from that?

GUEST: Ben Allison of JSS Barristers, who is representing Pastor Derek Reimer in his fight against charges for protesting a drag queen story time event at Seton Library.

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