Calgary Council Passes Bylaw to Address Anti-Drag Protests

Changes were made to existing street harassment bylaw and a new safety bylaw was passed

[Photo Credit: iHeartRadio Canada]

Calgary City Council has passed a bylaw intended to limit protests close to or inside recreation facilities and libraries.

The changes, which were discussed on Tuesday at a regular council meeting, include adding the word “intimidation” to the existing public behavior bylaw. A second law, which would be called the Safe and Inclusive Access Bylaw, will immediately prohibit protests within 100 metres of an entrance to a recreation facility or library, said the Canadian Press.

“There’s no banning of protests. It is simply removing [them] from the entrance so that people can have a safe experience inside those buildings”, Mayor Jyoti Gondek told the Canadian Press.

Several councilors questioned the speed of the changes to the bylaw and wanted more time to consider the matter. According to CTV News, Ward 13, McLean says the bylaw was rushed. He said “the process, usually this goes to committee first to be debated fully. That hasn’t happened, so I would have preferred that.”

The council voted 10-5 in favor of the new bylaw and 11-4 in favor of changing the existing street harassment bylaw. Both bylaws will come back to council for a review in a month.

Charges under each of the bylaws carry a maximum penalty of up to $10,000 or six months in jail, reports the Canadian Press. The bylaw reads “recent protests have targeted members of the [LGBTQ] community and impeding the city of Calgary’s ability to provide safe and inclusive access to city’s services”

“The public is entitled to access these services without being exposed to messaging or behavior that is hateful, intimidates, harasses or discriminates.” It lists multiple events that have led to safety concerns, including: a Drag on Ice event that was postponed at the Chinook Blast festival Feb.10.

Ongoing protests at Canyon Meadows aquatic and fitness center, which is connected to Calgary Recreation’s transgender and gender diverse facility; and the Children’s reading programs at public libraries.

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Written by Monsurat

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