Vancouver Library takes a strong stand for free speech in allowing event discussing gender identity

VANCOUVER: The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms ( has written to the Chief Librarian of the Vancouver Public Library (VPL), commending the library for its decision to hold a public event on gender identity, “Women’s places & spaces: sports, prisons, and shelters”. Speakers at the event include feminist Meghan Murphy, Linda Blade, president of Athletics Alberta who has spoken against transgender athletes competing in women’s sport, and Heather Mason, a former inmate who has described housing transgender inmates in women’s prisons as “dangerous.”

The event takes place on March 21, 2020 and has already come under external pressure from some activists. Transgender activists protest Meghan Murphy in particular, for her writing on sex and gender, and opening discussion on whether people can change their biological sex.

The Justice Centre commends VPL for rightly identifying the importance of freedom of expression as a core principle of democracy.

In a public statement, the Library noted that as a public body, it is “expected to act in accordance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which includes the right to freedom of expression.”

Jay Cameron, Justice Centre Litigation Manager, notes, “The decision of the library to uphold free speech is essential to a democratic society. This protects and benefits the constitutional rights of all Canadians.”