LaBarbera heads back to Chicago

Timothy Kincaid

April 15th, 2014

The Gazette is reporting that Peter LaBarbera has been released from custody and, in agreement with Canadian border control, has decided to call his stay short and return to the States.

An American anti-gay and pro-life activist has decided to voluntarily cut his visit to Saskatchewan short following another run-in with the Canadian Border Services Agency.

Peter LaBarbera was questioned by CBSA Tuesday morning in relation to his arrest at the University of Regina on Monday.

The Regina Police Service held LaBarbera in custody overnight at CBSA’s request, said police spokeswoman Elizabeth Popowich in an email Tuesday morning.

LaBarbera had been initially denied entry to Canada on April 10 under hate speech laws. He appealed and won, under the agreement he would leave the country by April 17.

It seems that he had scheduled to visit another university today, but decided that the martyr thing was more fun in theory than in practice.

Robert

April 16th, 2014

So sad that freedom of speech has suffered a death blow. Canadians will not be able to survive without hearing from Peter LaBarbera.

jerry

April 16th, 2014

Ah but just think, Robert, we can now look forward to the “Letter from Birming…er Regina Jail”

Timothy, I want to lodge a complaint. There was no video of the “perp walk” included in the article. *grin*

Robert

April 16th, 2014

Every time I come to this site, I read all these blogs and comments about the sanctity of free speech and how horrible it would be were bigots limited in the bile they spew. Then I love over to the column to the right and see posts about Reparative Therapy and Uganda. Were the issue not so serious, I would burst out in laughter over the inability of you to connect the dots.

JBTaylor

April 16th, 2014

While it might be expedient to address many real problems through limiting constitutional rights, it’s really not in the US’ DNA. Better that 9 guilty people go free than 1 be wrongly convicted and all that.

SharonB

April 16th, 2014

The Peter = Pro-Life?
Debatable.

I don’t think he is pro-anything.
He is mostly anti.

As in anti-GLBT and anti-abortion.

Robert

April 16th, 2014

The phrase “limiting constitutional rights” in reference to enacting laws prohibiting hate speech is itself loaded.

This is country where all sorts of “constitutional rights” are “limited,” whether from the right to own a tank, which clearly violates the NRA’s version of the second Amendment, to the right to perjure oneself in court or to shout Fire in a crowded theater. There are limits to all constitutional rights.

JBTaylor

April 16th, 2014

I think there’s a lot of distance between the settled law of “Fire in a crowded theater” and enacting laws prohibiting hate speech. I’m personally having a tough time imagining the extent to which “free speech” would have to be limited to have a material impact on the Reparative Therapy and Ugandan issues to which you believe dots are directly connectible. (I grant the indirect over-long-spans-of-time connection, but not the “beat up on BTB” connection.) Further, I suspect suppressing this type of speech here could actually make situations like Uganda *more* possible — just look at how Lively was able to play the then-current state of affairs in the US as something to be fought against. Imagine if he could have said “I could be arrested for telling you the truth!”

Hue-Man

April 16th, 2014

U.S. has freedom of speech but Canada doesn’t. That’s why network TV in the U.S. is so heavily censored and “Shameless” (unedited) is broadcast over the air on CityTv (Rogers Communications) in all major Canadian markets…

Priya Lynn

April 16th, 2014

“Further, I suspect suppressing this type of speech here could actually make situations like Uganda *more* possible.”.”

And yet in no country that has hate speech laws can you give an example of where its backfired and hurt LGBT people. In fact, in a place like Canada its the exact opposite, we have full equality for gays and lesbians and its the United States without a hate speech law that lags far behind in justice.

There’s just nothing to back up this fear-mongering that hate speech laws will backfire and harm gays and lesbians.

Robert

April 16th, 2014

The hate speech laws in Europe were enacted in reaction to the rise of Nazism in Germany and its consequences. We know full well what can happen when vulnerable groups are targeted for hatred, from Jews in Germany to gays in Uganda and Russia. Canada, Sweden, the Netherlands, the UK, Norway, Denmark, et al. did not enact these laws in a vacuum. Moreover, the countries with reasonable prohibitions on hate speech are hardly the caricatures that some on this site predict the US would become were we to adopt similar laws. Indeed, on almost every index of social well being, from education to health care, and including the freedom of citizens, these country rank far ahead of the U.S.

Steve

April 16th, 2014

>”Better that 9 guilty people go free than 1 be wrongly convicted and all that.”

Which is just more of the usual hypocrisy, given how many innocent people are on death row (or have already been executed) and serve life sentences.

Priya Lynn

April 16th, 2014

Steve, not to mention that the United States has the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world.

Priya Lynn

April 16th, 2014

land of the free indeed.

JBTaylor

April 16th, 2014

Priya, I think you miss my point — I wasn’t arguing that US-based hate speech laws would make things worse in the US, I was stating that it simply strengthens the argument of those US-citizens outside the US who are already playing the martyr card and love pimping the idea of how decadent we are.

In this particular version of the argument, I believe Robert implied BTB’s defense of the right to deliver what many consider hate speech in some way undercuts their activism on behalf of issues like Reparative Therapy and Uganda. I was disagreeing with that.

Although I tend toward a reflexive dislike of government intrusion on personal actions, I recognize there’s a lot of give and take, and it’s a legitimate government function at times. In the end, color me “meh”; the benefits of shutting some people up might marginally outweigh the inevitable tedious protestations of martrydom (and the oodles of money that will generate), but it’s really not worth it in my limited view.

I do think it’s a bridge too far to rip BTB as working against the interest of some of their most passionate issues. That’s why I was moved to speak, though.

Priya Lynn

April 16th, 2014

JB I don’t think anyone other than already committed anti-gay bigots are buying the martyrdom line. Surveys show young people are leaving christianity in ever increasing numbers and one of the main reasons why is because they perceive christianity as anti-gay.

Priya Lynn

April 16th, 2014

I think stunts like the Peter pulled just re-inforce the existing impression that christianity isn’t about live and let live, its about unfairly persecuting innocent gays and lesbians.

JBTaylor

April 16th, 2014

Given the martyrdom line is used so much I think it must be effective — probably mostly for fund-raising and mutual ego-stroking. I don’t think “they” are playing the long-game here, I think in many cases it’s about the fun of dominance games and making money off the rubes. Besides, the young-uns aren’t the ones with the money anyway.

I think the success of NY pride parade’s management of Bill Donohue is a good model. If I had a forum like a college campus I’d advertise the peter’s views and presence like crazy, and make sure as many people as possible could see him. I honestly trust most people enough they’ll see him for the loon he is.

Priya Lynn

April 16th, 2014

Oh, I think the martyrdom line is effective with the staunchly anti-gay christians, but they’re now in an ever shrinking minority. Bigots like Peter really have no other cards to play so they’re basically stuck with increasingly ineffective tactics and the goal is to keep mining that shrinking group of bigots for money as long as possible.

Ray

April 16th, 2014

Face it Peter. They’re just not that into you in Canada. And, by he way, trespassing is also illegal in your home neighborhood.

CPT_Doom

April 17th, 2014

“Ah but just think, Robert, we can now look forward to the ‘Letter from Birming…er Regina Jail'” Oh, he’s already done something like that. Joe My God quoted from Petey’s latest post about how horrible it was that he was treated like a “common criminal” and that he told the border police didn’t believe he was violating the law. Of course, the fact that he actually broke the law (by refusing to leave a place he didn’t have a permit to set up a table) and had promised not to do so as a condition of entry into the Country don’t factor into his self-pity. Can’t wait for his next attempt at entering Canada is rejected and he can whine again about the persecution of the “Christian.”

As for hate speech laws, we actually have them in this country, but they are very limited. If you, like Charles Manson, encourage violence in your speech, that is illegal. The issue is where you draw the line. Quite frankly, given the insane amount of hyperbole and the lack of intellectual content of the speech of people like LaBarbera, I think they are doing us more benefit than injury at this point.

Margo Schulter

April 17th, 2014

As an opponent both of anti-LGBT and other hate speech, and of its criminalization, I have a few responses to this discussion.

First, from what I’ve read from the feminist dialogues of the 1900’s and 1990’s on pornography and censorship, the Canadian restrictions on “hate speech” sometimes were used against Lesbian feminist literature, although I’d need to go back and check the sources on this — and I’m not sure whether or how often it happens now. And, in fairness, those cases might have been exceptional.

Secondly, I’d agree that the death penalty in the U.S.A. is a far greater human rights violation, as is also the use of excessive and unnecessary force in arresting nonviolent demonstrators, as opposed to the conduct of the Canadian authorities here.

Also, even under the First Amendment, restrictions on time, place, and manner are often permissible, and conventions might vary from society to society. Of course, it was restrictions of this kind that were at issue in the Berkeley Free Speech Movement struggle of 1964-1965 whose 50th anniversary we will soon be marking.

At a gut level, I feel that such ugliness should be met by massive counterdemonstrations and counterleafletting. Somehow arresting someone for leafletting gives them a connection to more noble campaigns, from the IWW Free Speech fights to the White Rose to Martin Luther King in Birmingham, that they do not deserve.

But Canada’s abolition of the death penalty (1976) and policy of marriage equality (enacted federally in 2005) set an example for the U.S.A. I hope that the Tenth Circuit arguments in the Oklahoma marriage case which should be getting underway right about now help to advance the second of these objectives.

john

April 17th, 2014

“As for hate speech laws, we actually have them in this country, but they are very limited.”

There are no “hate speech” laws in the USA.

Priya Lynn

April 17th, 2014

Of course John, when criticizing other countries speech restrictions pretend like the American right to free speech is absolute.

You guys are so full of it.

Priya Lynn

April 17th, 2014

“First, from what I’ve read from the feminist dialogues of the 1900′s and 1990′s on pornography and censorship, the Canadian restrictions on “hate speech” sometimes were used against Lesbian feminist literature”.

Absolutely not. When Canada Border Services Agengy was intercepting shipments for Little Sisters bookstore there were no hate speech laws on the books, the material was confiscated because it was deemed obscene, not deemed hate speech. Little Sisters won in court.

john

April 17th, 2014

“http://www.ottawasun.com/2013/02/27/anti-gay-crusader-cant-distribute-flyers-top-court”

A shameful ruling that could not happen in the US. Fight bad speech with better speech not through state-sponsored bullying and fines.

Here in the US we recognize and respect the fundamental right to freedom of expression as a core value of civilized society:

“http://www2.bloomberglaw.com/public/desktop/document/Snyder_v_Phelps_131_S_Ct_1207_179_L_Ed_2d_172_2011_Court_Opinion

“http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2011/03/02/supreme-court-fundamentalist”

Richard Rush

April 17th, 2014

John, I don’t consider the SCOTUS decision in Snyder v. Phelps as something to be proud of. I think it was a disgrace. If the decision had gone the other way, WBC would still have had their freedom of speech. They still would have been able to express themselves on their website, via written material, on radio, on television, and in discussions. The thing they would not have is the “right” to FORCE-FEED their speech to people who do not want to hear it. Why should the free-speechers have nearly unfettered rights, while the people on the receiving end have virtually no rights at all?

john

April 17th, 2014

Richard, On the contrary, the Supreme Court decision made me extremely proud of my adopted country by upholding a core principal of this great republic.

In the US we are all protected equally by the fundamental rights recognized and enumerated in the US Constitution. We are all equal under the law from the most virulent bigot to the most enlightened among us.

No one was force fed anything. The protesters carried out their protest in the designated area at a distance from the funeral which was not interrupted. The father only became aware of the protest later through news reports. Essentially his lawsuit was triggered by knowing others somewhere were simply expressing an opinion he virulently opposed.

In the public arena you have no right to not be offended by words or ideas. If you encounter them then you have two choices, engage in dialog or just ignore and walk away.

Fight bad arguments with better arguments not through censorship and bullying.

Richard Rush

April 17th, 2014

John,

“In the public arena you have no right to not be offended by words or ideas.”

Not true. This would be merely amusing, if the laws were not so hypocritical: People in the public arena have the right to not have their tender sensibilities offended by naughty words, naughty pictures, or naughty ideas if their community defines them as “obscene.” But people can be barraged incessantly by anti-gay hate-speech in the public arena, and they apparently “have two choices, engage in dialog or just ignore and walk away” . . . or commit suicide after they walk away, as a number of teenagers have done.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_free_speech_exceptions
(h/t to Rob Tisinai for the link)

john

April 17th, 2014

Richard, the obscenity test goes far beyond merely “naughty” pictures and given the internet the community standards doctrine is now archaic and pretty much useless.

No one in the US is being barraged by anti-gay hate-speech, all the individuals engaging in this activity are fringe characters, clowns and cranks spewing rubbish that has virtually no traction outside a tiny minority.

As to the suicide issue, here you are implying mere words or images can abrogate free-will and compel a course of action which is incoherent. Of course direct harassment and bullying is a separate issue, I don’t have the freedom to get in someone’s face and start screaming at them.

The other exceptions listed in the Wiki article are where forms of expression start to conflict with other rights.

Hue-Man

April 17th, 2014

Over the years, I’ve got the impression that Americans think that Canada’s hate speech laws are some nanny state invention that prevents people from being insulted by others’ remarks. The complaints brought by individuals are rare and are more akin to the WBC harassment and bullying of the vulnerable than school-ground name-calling. Human Rights Tribunals work with the parties to find a negotiated settlement. Courts err on the side of more speech rather than less.

One of the headline-grabbers was this (from the Globe & Mail in 2013). “The tribunal heard that [the “comedian”] Mr. Earle began the insults when he saw Ms. Pardy kissing her partner and the situation escalated to a profanity-laden rant, where Mr. Earle repeatedly attacked the woman’s sexuality.

Mr. Earle even confronted the woman, pushing her and breaking her sunglasses. “http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/anti-lesbian-rant-costly-for-comedian-and-club-owner/article12757893/

From reading the Tribunal’s report and judgment at the time, this wasn’t a stage performer heckling an audience-member in fun – this was an all-out personal attack. (FYI, B.C. Supreme Court is the first stage of provincial court, B.C. Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of Canada are the next two levels.)

LaBarbera’s associate in crime is near-WBC, having had his hate crimes convictions upheld last year by the Supreme Court of Canada. http://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/12876/1/document.do

The fact that the WBC case was appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court suggests that Canada’s approach to hate speech has more than wing-nut support within the U.S.

john

April 18th, 2014

Hue-Man, Here in the US support for the First Amendment is both deep and broad.

SharonB

April 18th, 2014

I dream of the day when we can ignore The Peter as the fraud and side-show curiosity that he is.

Priya Lynn

April 18th, 2014

John pretends people in Canada are convicted left and right for trivial things like politically incorrect tweets and all he can come up with for examples is two people getting charged for hate speech only one of whom was convicted.

Virtually no one in Canada has been prevented from saying whatever anti-gay thing they want. Stop pretending this is some sort of widespread suppression of speech.

Priya Lynn

April 18th, 2014

Whatcott and Peter are not harmed in any way by being unable to spread hate against gays in Canada, only wrong-doers have been punished by hate speech laws in Canada and next to none of them at that. All the tiresome American catastrophizing about hypothetical situations in which hate speech laws in Canada will harm good speech and society have never happened. There simply aren’t any ill-effects from hate speech laws.

By virtually every measure of societal well-being Canada is a better country than the U.S. Hate speech laws have in no way been a bad thing here and have only made Canadian society an even better place.

Priya Lynn

April 18th, 2014

Studies on states with bans on gay marriage show gays and lesbians in those states suffered higher rates of depression due to all the anti-gay vitriol that was spewed to promote the ban.

Promoting the hatred of gays and lesbians causes higher rates of depression, drug and alcohol use, and suicide amongst gays and lesbians. Gays and lesbians benefit by being protected from hate speech and no anti-gay person is harmed by being denied the right to promote hate against gays and lesbians. Hate speech laws are the right thing to do from every angle.

john

April 18th, 2014

Thankfully, unlike the rest of the world, here in the US under our Constitution we are truly free to speak our minds unconstrained by the chilling effect of speech codes and fear of years of litigation and punitive fines from state-sponsored bullying and censorship.

Steve

April 18th, 2014

And more silly platitudes, jingoism and pseudo-patriotism instead of facts.

kokas

April 18th, 2014

It makes me laugh how (some) Americans can claim they’re better than Canadians simply because they don’t have gate speech laws. News flash: you’re not. Canada is a far more developed nation than the US in almost every aspect. You have legalized gay marriage in a few dozen liberal-leaning states, Canada has had it for almost a decade and you’ll still have to wait DECADES before it comes to places like Louisiana.

kokas

April 18th, 2014

Sorry, should be “hate” not “gate”.

Lymis

April 24th, 2014

Well, at least Peter will be home in time for IML, bless his heart. I know he’d hate to miss that.

Priya Lynn

April 24th, 2014

John said “Thankfully, unlike the rest of the world, here in the US under our Constitution we are truly free to speak our minds unconstrained by the chilling effect of speech codes and fear of years of litigation and punitive fines from state-sponsored bullying and censorship.”.

And yet somehow in a country of 35 million people you could only come up with one example of a person who ran afoul of hate speech laws and was fined. The “chilling effect of speech codes and fear of years of litigation and punitive fines from state-sponsored bullying and censorship.” exists only in your mind, much like American “exceptionalism”.

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