The left-wing Canadian party is trying to create anti-free speech zones around drag performances and fines “offensive remarks” $25,000

A Canadian political party has introduced itself legislation that would create anti-free speech zones around drag shows and penalize anyone caught making statements deemed “offensive” by LGBT activists while in the vicinity.

The Ontario New Democratic Party is a far-left party that serves as the official opposition in the conservative-run province of Ontario. One of her MPs, Kristyn Wong-Tam, Chair of the City of Toronto’s 2SLGBTQ+ Community Advisory Committee, held a news conference on Tuesday calling on the Ontario government to protect men who dress up as women from criticism and to protect freedom of expression to restrict.

“The subject that brings us here is deadly serious,” said Wong-Tam, a woman who uses plural pronouns to refer to herself. “The increase in hatred and violence faced by the 2SLGBTQI-plus communities, including drag artists, taking place across Ontario and the right [across] the nation was alarming.”

Canadian State Media written down that hate crimes (e.g. verbal or written expressions of a hateful nature) allegedly motivated by sexual orientation increased from 258 in 2020 to 423 in 2021. StatisticsCanada previously stated that 1 million of the country’s 39 million people identify as members of the “LGBTQ” community.

Alluding to American protests against drag shows and recent efforts by Canadians to follow suit, Wong-Tam claimed, “Drag artists, their audiences, the businesses and the facilities hosting those drag performances have been put at risk .”

Jon DobbieShe, whose drag name is “Crystal Quartz”, appeared in a woman’s costume at the press conference alongside Wong-Tam. He claimed after doing drag performances for children he was criticized online.

“Then they started showing up to all my events, yelling at parents and me, saying they were carers, pedophiles and a bunch of other homophobic slurs to make everyone there feel like they weren’t safe to attend,” said Dobby. “These acts of intimidation have made our safe spaces feel unsafe.”

“Unless we come up with a strategy to protect them, Ontario’s social, economic and cultural wealth will be undermined,” Wong-Tam added. “We have to protect that.”

To that end, Wong-Tam is seeking to empower the state to create 100-meter-long LGBT bubble zones wherever he sees fit, where “any homophobic, transphobic act of intimidation, threatening, abusive threat, offensive remarks.” , protest, disruption and distribution hate propaganda within the meaning of the Criminal Code.”

The penalty for causing disruption or making remarks deemed offensive within such a zone would be CDN 25,000 (US$18,581.42).

In Canada, inciting hatred against an identifiable group is already a criminal offense; however, the penal code conditions“No one may be convicted of a criminal offense … if he proves that the statements made were true; … if the person has, in good faith, expressed an opinion on a religious subject or has attempted to substantiate by argument an opinion based on belief in a religious text; … if the statements were relevant to a subject of public interest, discussion of which was for the public benefit, and he had reasonable grounds to believe that they were true; or … . if he intends in good faith to raise, for deportation purposes, any matter which causes or may cause feelings of hatred towards an identifiable group in Canada.”

If this law is passed, it is unclear whether offensive language, which does not constitute a criminal offense under federal law, could still be prosecuted.

The legislation Remarks that riots and so-called hate propaganda are to be understood “in the sense of the penal code”; Offensive remarks “related to issues of social orientation or gender roles” are not as clearly defined, however.

In addition, it is unclear who ultimately decides what would constitute an offensive statement or disturbance and whether, as in the case of Sexual assault allegations before the Ontario Human Rights Commissiona prosecutor will only have presidential proof that the comments “highly likely” took place – as opposed to meeting the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard.

While Wong-Tam has hinted that the legislation is designed specifically to protect drag performances, the bill itself makes no such statements. It seems the Ontario Attorney General could arbitrarily designate “2SLGBTQI+ Community Safe Zones” for “a specific period of time.”

The name and address of the “community safe zone” must be provided, otherwise there is no set limit to the size of these zones (except for the 100-meter encircling bubble) and the duration of their recognition.

Despite the ban on offensive language and oppositional language, the bill states: “For greater security, nothing in this law prevents peaceful protests or demonstrations.”

There is precedent for anti-free speech zones in Ontario.

The former Liberal government, which lost official party status after a crushing defeat in the 2018 general election, had created bubble zones around abortion sites, Canadian state media reported.

In addition to creating zones against free speech, the legislation calls for the establishment of a 2SLGBTQI+ Safety Advisory Committee in Ontario.

The vice chair of this committee must be “a member of the Two Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, or other sexual or gender-sensitive community.”

Responsibilities of this proposed committee will include ensuring that the educational curriculum meets the wishes of LGBT activists.

Terence Kernaghan, an LGBT activist, also with the NDP, said in a statement“The government must support this legislation and put an end to the alarming rise in hateful actions against drag artists and the 2SLGBTQI+ community. This law is particularly important for drag performers in smaller communities like London and Sarnia, where performers have fewer performance opportunities and fewer protections.”

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