Proposed Bill Would Criminalize ‘Offensive’ Speech Within 100 Meters Of Drag Shows

ThePublica Staff

Ontario, Canada – A new bill has been proposed by MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam to protect the “2SLGBTQI+” community in Ontario.

Wong-Tam, a member of the New Democratic Party (NDP) of Ontario, proposed the “Protecting 2SLGBTQI+ Communities Act” which would enable the attorney general of Ontario to establish safety zones up to 100 meters around drag shows and other LGBTQ events in the province.

These safety zones will make harassment, intimidation, and offensive remarks punishable by fines of up to $25,000.

Additionally, an Ontario NDP press release expressed that “drag artists and members of the 2SLGBTQI+ community have faced numerous threats and intimidation across Ontario over the past year.”

They add that the 2SLGBTQI+ community and businesses are being told “they can’t be out and proud”.

During a press conference attended by drag queens, MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam stated, “New Democrats are giving Ford’s Conservatives a chance to stop hate today by passing my private member’s bill.”

She says that the bill will establish “community zones” which will “prohibit within 100 meters of the property any homophobic, transphobic, active intimidation, threats, offensive threats, offensive remarks, protest, disturbance and distribution of hate propaganda, within the meaning of a criminal code.”

If passed, the bill will empower the attorney general to establish safety zones around all LGBTQ events in the province.

According to Fox News Digital, constitutional lawyer Allison Kindle Pejovic from the Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms has raised concerns about the proposed “Protecting 2SLGBTQI+ Communities Act.”

Pejovic said that the bill “would penalize free speech and the right to protest, both of which are protected under Canada’s constitution.”

She emphasized that the bill specifically targets certain speech and protests, while allowing other kinds that may be offensive to different communities.

“What is notable about this bill is that it is content-specific, targeting specific speech,” she said.

Pejovic also expressed concern that the government could use subjective terminology such as “transphobic, homophobic, or offensive” to target people peacefully expressing their concerns.

Wong-Tam’s bill comes on the heels of the recent arrest of Pastor Derek Reimer, who allegedly disrupted a drag queen story hour in Calgary. The event, organized by the Calgary Public Library, featured local drag performers reading to children.

Derek Reimer arrested

The city subsequently introduced a new bylaw in response to the incident, which also prohibits protests within 100 meters of “a recreation facility or library entrance.”

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