REGINA. December 22, 2014. Christmas came early for evangelist and activist Bill Whatcott in a Regina courtroom today. He and U.S. activist Peter LaBarbera were acquitted on a charge of “mischief” for having set up a table to hand out literature and discuss traditional Christian teachings about homosexuality and abortion with University of Regina students earlier this year.
The Regina Leader-Post (December 22, 2014) reported: “Anti-gay activists Bill Whatcott and Peter LaBarbera were found not guilty of mischief in Regina Provincial Court on Monday.

Whatcott uttered “thank the Lord” after Judge Marylynne Beaton delivered her verdict.

“I’m very happy with the judge’s decision … and of course I believe she’s correct,” Whatcott told reporters.

LaBarbera, who lives in Illinois and heads Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, was not present, but “I’m sure he’ll be relieved,” said Whatcott.

LaBarbera and Whatcott were charged with mischief on April 14, after distributing flyers and displaying placards with pro-life and anti-gay messages at the University of Regina campus. They were asked to leave, refused and were arrested.

At the time, U of R provost Thomas Chase called the materials “graphic” and “disturbing.”

But “the validity of (their) beliefs are not in issue,” Beaton wrote in her decision.

“I find that the purpose of (their) attending the University of Regina was to communicate information and their actions were passive and non-aggressive,” Beaton wrote. “The university’s response was disproportionate to the peaceful distribution of flyers.”

Whatcott said he plans to return to the U of R in January — “you can count on that, unless I get hit by a car” — with a “flyer special for this occasion.” He aims to visit the University of Calgary campus on Saturday.”

Mr. Whatcott commented on his website: “The judgement is 27 pages, I cut and pasted a pertinent section to help you understand Justice Beaton’s reasoning.  Ms Patton is the head of campus security and Dr. Chase is Vice President of the U of R. When the judgment refers to “The Policy” it is talking about the University of Regina’s “Respectful Workplace Policy,” a document the university has been using as its pretext to silence debate on the issue of homosexuality:

Read complete judgment here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_Ol-X … sp=sharing

Ms. Patton and Dr. Chase both testified to the effect that the decision to remove Mr. Whatcott was made to prevent students from feeling discriminated against. This is a sufficiently pressing and substantive objective. Freedom of expression is not an unqualified right. As stated again in the Pridgen decision at para. 124:

The University must be able to place reasonable limits on speech on campus in order, for example, to maintain a learning environment
where there is respect and dignity for all.

[68] The means used to prevent students from feeling discriminated against was the removal of Mr. Whatcott and Mr. LaBarbera. I do not accept that the accused’s removal, in order to protect students from the accused’s message, represented a minimal impairment on freedom of expression,” — In this case, the University’s response was disproportionate to the peaceful distribution of flyers and was not reasonable and demonstrably justified.

[69J In summary, I find that the Charter does apply to the University of Regina in this situation. I also find that Mr. Whatcott’s and Mr. LaBarbera’s actions were protected by s. 2(b) of the Charter and that the infringement on this right cannot be permitted under s. 1 of the Charter. Given my findings, Mr. Whatcott and Mr. LaBarbera were acting with legal justification pursuant to s. 429(2) of the Criminal Code.

Colour of Right

[70] The Crown has argued that it would be unreasonable to believe that the right existed, as Mr. Whatcott had been asked to leave by campus security several times over the last few years and was denied space by the University of Regina Student’s Union. He therefore knew that his form of communication was not welcomed at the University.

[71] However, Mr. Whatcott’s testimony left me with no doubt that he believed that he had a right to protest at the University of Regina under s. 2(b) of the Charter. Given that he had been successful before various courts in the past, I have no doubt that this belief was reasonable. His testimony also left me with no doubt that he does not think that the Policy applies to him, or perhaps to anyone. He testified clearly that the Policy is “rubbish” and that several universities, including the University of Regina, have abused their rights to exclude people and so do not have that right. However, if his belief that s. 2(b) of the Charter protects his speech is correct, then the Charter would overrule the Policy. Mr. Whatcott understands this principle.



While, of course, we agree with this judgement, it is frightening that the university seems unable to distinguish between “discriminatory” behaviour and the expression of an opinion. Neither Mr. Whatcott nor Mr. Barbera were providing goods or services and, thus, in any position to “discriminate.” They were offering opinions and discussing with interested students those opinions. And, by the way, isn’t that what a university is supposed to be — a place where ideas are discussed and debated, not an indoctrination centre for the cultural communist views now so in fashion among the intelligensia?

Paul Fromm

Anti-gay activists LaBarbera, Whatcott found not guilty of mischief

Bill Whatcott and Peter LaBarberaAnti-gay activists Bill Whatcott and Peter LaBarbera demonstrate outside the Regina provincial courthouse ahead of the start of their trial on mischief charges on Oct. 30, 2014.