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UPDATE: Ottawa police investigating Whatcott following anti-gay flyer campaign

UPDATE: Ottawa police investigating Whatcott following anti-gay flyer campaign

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Residents furious at 'disturbing' homophobic pamphlets
Update Oct 12 -- Police say they are not sure whether criminal charges will be laid against Bill Whatcott for distributing homophobic flyers to homes in Centretown's Golden Triangle on Oct 10.

According to Ottawa Police Service (OPS) media spokesperson Constable Henri Lanctôt, patrol officers who responded to residents' complaints said there was nothing to suggest Whatcott and Darcy Grey committed a criminal offence.

"[Whatcott] belongs to a religious group that opposes homosexuality,” says Lanctôt. “In this case a criminal act was not committed, so as a result they were asked to leave. A report was sent to our hate-crime section for follow up."

Lanctôt says the Hate Crime Unit will now decide if charges should be filed.

Oct 11 --

An Edmonton man accused of anti-gay activism was distributing homophobic leaflets in Ottawa a day before the Supreme Court of Canada begins hearing his case.
 
The court’s decision could limit religious groups from similar public activism.
 
Ottawa police responded to a call from Centretown on Oct 11, where Bill Whatcott, 44, and Darcy Grey, 41, were passing out anti-gay pamphlets.   
 
In 2001 and 2002, Whatcott distributed anti-gay flyers in Regina and Saskatoon on behalf of the Christian Truth Activists group. 
 
Whatcott originally lost a discrimination case brought against him before the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission but later convinced a Saskatchewan Court of Appeal he was exercising his right to freedom of expression and religious practice. 
 
Xtra observed Whatcott and Grey, also of Edmonton, distributing the flyers in Ottawa’s Britannia, Vanier and Centretown neighbourhoods, as well as on the Carleton University campus. At one point Grey wore a T-shirt with the words “Homosexuality is a sin.”
 
Four police cruisers approached Whatcott and Grey as they distributed leaflets in Centretown’s Golden Triangle neighbourhood. Police said they’d received a complaint about two men using hateful material to target Ottawa’s gay community.
 
An officer at the scene said, “We investigated this incident because we take hate-related matters seriously.” The two men were later released and continued distributing the flyers.
 
Whatcott’s latest pamphlet, titled "The Sodomite Agenda," depicts two men kissing along with a photo of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau placed on the naked butt of one of the men.
 
Another photo criticizes trans people and depicts a trans woman with the caption “Born a dude, is a dude. Not a credible parent.”
 
“It’s very disturbing,” says Kevin, a gay man who preferred not to use his last name. “It is homophobic; it is downright garbage.”
 
He says the flyer was slipped under the door of his Manor Park apartment. He later learned they were distributed to every apartment in his building.
 
“It certainly takes religion and twists it, that’s for sure,” he says.
 
A Waverly St resident tore up a flyer as he watched police speak with Whatcott and Grey.
 
Carleton University security later ordered Whatcott and Grey off campus property while some students tore up the pamphlets and shouted “Stop spreading hate” and “Religious or not, homophobia is hate.”
 
Whatcott responded, “I put up posters and they tear them down. Which shows they don’t respect different viewpoints.”  
 
Political science student Jason Gowler, 25, says he was infuriated by the messages.
 
“They pick parts of the Bible and twist it the way they want to,” says Gowler.
 
The Supreme Court of Canada will hear Whatcott’s case tomorrow, Oct 12.
 
Whatcott has asked the Supreme Court to strike down laws limiting freedom of speech and religious expression. More than 20 groups have backed him, including the Catholic Civil Rights League. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Comments

WHAT WILL POLICE DO?????
There is a meeting tonight. The monthly GLBT OPS Liaison Committee meeting. I am home with the flu so not going. I hope someone does go, and asks police present that this is clearly a hate crime. WHAT are they going to do about this. Charges should be laid.
Nutbars
Isn't religion wonderful. Instead of doing good these two looney tunes spend their time spreading their hate message. Sad and pathetic. Isn't this guy "a former homosexual"? In other words he is now so far into the closet he's right down there with the dust bunnies.
Think of future abuses of hate speech bans.
"They must be called out and ridiculed for what they are doing, not legitimized through cloaking their hate in 'free speech.'" Tim...without unrestricted free speech, how do you expect to be able to do that? Bans on expression can go any way some cop or bureaucrat wants them to. Are you really willing to gamble that ridiculing the religious will never, ever be called 'hate speech' by future governments? Do you want to hand them that weapon?
Too Much Press
I find that idiots like Whatcott and Grey are getting way too much media attention (what they crave) and the best way to deal with them is ignore them. On the other hand, their central message gives fuel to bullies (including some parents of gay teens) to further destroy lives of gay people, so they must be called out and ridiculed for what they are doing, not legitimized through cloaking their hate in "free speech". Remember, free speech has consequences. On the religion front, I'm always curious as to why these religions spend so much time on gay people, rather than looking in the mirror. After all, we're told we all sin so shouldn't Whatcott be sending fliers to everybody with some kind of criticisim? Then we'd have a level playing field.
Well-being of society
I have no idea how Whatcott's material can contribute to the well-being of our society. At the moment, I am wondering when we can expect the results of his appearance at the the Supreme Court.
Free speech or not
We are discussing freedom of speech vs. hate speech. And whether or not Whatcott and company is guilty. Regardless of what is the outcome of the case, society should not tolerate Whatcott's message. If he is going into buildings to distribute this material the tenants or landlords should immediately call him on trespassing. Anywhere he is seen distributing this material people should openly oppose him and/or call the police. He may not be arrested but he will be asked to leave. He argues that this is freedom of religion. Most Christians I know, including those who may not support homosexuality are opposed to Whatcott's methods and what his message. I am a person of faith and I can acknowledge that no faith community will tolerate this idiot. I wish more Christians and people of faith would speak out against this man. Even those who may have theological issues against Homosexuality should acknowledge that what this man is doing is against the nature of most if not all religions.
Where is the Queer Coalition for Free Speech?
Where is the Queer Coalition for Free Speech? You know - the ones in bright yellow that support Islamification of Western countries. Don't they still support free speech? Or is only THEIR free speech they support? I detest Whatcott's message, but the only laws against any non-violent speech in this case should be the anti-leafleting and no-socliting by-laws. America has it right on freedom of speech. Canada is hopelessly weak, and we all lose because of political correctness.
Suppressing dissent has never worked
Mike, free speech doesn't automatically reduce hate; it just puts it out in the open, where it can be effectively fought. If you prevent Whatcott or his friends from ever speaking publicly or printing their opinions ever again, they're still going to hate. They're still going to talk amongst themselves. All the things you're concerned about, riling each other up, will still happen - they'll just happen in secret, and we won't know about it until they get worked up enough to start bashing. I would rather the haters be allowed to let us know just how depraved and vile they are, so that we can point to them and say "See? See how ugly and pathetic homophobia is? Can you, good 'average' people, honestly agree with that?" Suppress them, and not only can other people ignore them, they can sympathize about how we're intolerant, oversensitive, etc. Let them be out in the open, and any recruits they make will be far outweighed by the people who really don't want to be like them at all.
No Joni there is no god
To Joni Whatcott I'd like to say that the main premise of your argument is that there is a god but that premise is fallacious as there is no god. Those who condemn gay people because they think this entity they call god disapproves are making the lives of gay people difficult on erroneous grounds. Not only that but they are also wasting their lives living them for a super natural force that does not exist. What a sad waste of their lives and a pain to those they drag into their sphere of influence.
I disagree that silencing hate makes it grow
I disagree with avr who says that silencing hate helps it fester and grow. From what I have heard voicing hate makes hate grow. The more one expresses their hate the more they hate and others are likely to be led to hate as well. If anyone really thinks that everyone will question and critique hate speech rather than just believe it than they are in la la land. If free speech reduces hate than why is the U.S., where free speech reigns, so full of hate?

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