On May 5, 2014 Nanaimo City Council voted 8 to 1 to ban a conference that was scheduled to be held May 9th at a City-owned conference facility. The event, a “Leadercast” leadership seminar, included many high-profile speakers (e.g. South African Bishop Desmond Tutu) and was simulcast at more than 800 locations across North America.
This simulcast was deemed ‘divisive’ and ‘hateful’ by Nanaimo’s City Councillors, who cancelled this event just four days before it was to take place.
City Councillors were offended that one of the event’s many sponsors was the Chick fil-A restaurant chain, whose owner, Dan Cathy, has publicly stated his support for traditional heterosexual marriage.
The Motion, which was presented without warning on May 5 by Nanaimo City Councillor Fred Pattje reads:
… that the City of Nanaimo advise the VICC that as owners of the facility, any events that are associated with organizations or people that promote or have a history of divisiveness, homophobia, or other expressions of hate not be permitted and as such, advise the VICC not to permit in a City owned facility, the upcoming Leadercast event that is scheduled for 2014-MAY-09.
Leadercast included presentations by former First Lady Laura Bush, and Nobel prize winner Desmond Tutu, and was intended to empower the next generation with skills to be great leaders. Councillor Pattje claimed that one of the speakers at this event believes homosexuality “can be fixed through therapy…for everyone in this room,that is as offensive as it gets”. Councillor Bestwick said that he would have preferred to have “blacked out” the offensive speakers by turning lights and sound off and “drawing the curtain on [them]”. Councillor Kipp referred to Chick fil-A as a “criminal organization” and compared opponents of same-sex marriage to the Jihadist kidnappers of Nigerian school girls.
On June 23, JCCF president John Carpay joined Ezra Levant on Sun News Network’s The Source to challenge the City of Nanaimo for its shameful and intolerant decision. There, John offered JCCF’s legal services to defend Nanaimo residents who were wronged by the cancellation of this peaceful event. Ezra Levant pledged $100 towards the legal defence fund, and promised to raise another $5,000 through his website.
Sign the petition and support the legal defence fund for Nanaimo victims at TheRealBigots.com
If you are or know someone who has been wronged by the City of Nanaimo’s decision to cancel the Leadercast event, contact JCCF.ca for assistance in defending your rights.