(Image: Sheila Gunn Reid – Rebel News)
Two Calgary men charged for conversation on transit en route to 1 Million March 4 Children
Posted on October 25, 2023
By Jen Hodgson, Western Standard | FULL STORY
Two men are charged under a Calgary Transit Bylaw for allegedly making an unknown passenger uncomfortable with their conversation.
The men allegedly “interfered with the comfort of an unknown transit user” while on their way to Calgary’s 1 Million March 4 Children protest on Saturday.
They are scheduled to appear in court late November, represented by The Democracy Fund (TDF), a Canadian civil liberties nonprofit.
“TDF defends the rights of transit users against [the] anti-free speech transit bylaw,” the organization wrote in their news release, pointing out the City of Calgary has “yet to disclose details of impugned communications.”
According to the city’s bylaw, passengers must not “interfere with the comfort, convenience, or quiet use and enjoyment of the transit system of any reasonable person.”
The two individuals report “having had a private conversation on the C-train with a like-minded passenger” while traveling to the march in a nearly empty train car.
However, it appears the conversation was overheard and reported. The men were detained when they got off the train.
One was handcuffed while police confirmed his identity and they were both issued a ticket and summons to court.
TDF wrote to the City of Calgary for “disclosure about the alleged offences,” but has not yet received a reply.
In the press release, TDF cited the significance of the 1 Million March 4 Children that took place Saturday, one month following the widespread success of the September 20 march, noting each side took a strong stance — people supporting the march describe it as a protest of the “indoctrination” and “sexualization” of children in schools, while “detractors” call it “hateful.”
“TDF is concerned about the emergence of bylaws that punish private communications that are controversial but not criminal,” the news release states, noting the example of The City of London’s Graphic Image Delivery Bylaw.
London’s bylaw relies on the “health, safety and well-being of persons” to regulate the delivery of “graphic images” to residential properties in the city, but defines “graphic image” solely as “an image or photograph showing, or purporting to show a fetus or any part of a fetus.”
TDF litigation director Alan Honner said the “narrow definition” of what constitutes a graphic image “begs the question of whether council is trying to restrict pro-life expression.”
“Why else would only images of fetuses, no matter how benign, be restricted?” he said.
TDF cited other Canadian municipalities with “restrictive speech by-laws,” including Edmonton and Waterloo.
“Both cities recently passed almost identical by-laws regulating private communications on certain municipal property,” the news release said. “While these by-laws purport to protect people against human rights discrimination, they go further than that.”
“Don’t let the government tell you you’ve had too much to think.”