Calgary city council to debate bylaw that puts distance between protestors, city facilities

Calgary city council is debating Tuesday a bylaw that seeks to put distance between protestors and city facilities.

Called the “Safe and Inclusive Access Bylaw,” any protest that objects to or disapproves of any race, religion, gender, gender identity, gender expression, disability, age, place of origin, marital or family status, sexual orientation or income source within 100 metres of entrances to a public library or recreation centre is not allowed. The bylaw also prohibits similar protests inside those facilities.

The proposed changes also included adding the word “intimidation” to the existing Public Behaviour Bylaw, which restricts harassment of another person in a public space.

Read more: Calgary bylaw seeks to put distance between protesters, city facilities

Offenders could face fines of up to $10,000 and/or a year in prison. Repeat offences would result in a doubling or tripling of minimum fines.

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The proposed bylaw does not ban protests, however.

The move comes after 36-year-old Derek Scott Reimer was arrested and charged for disrupting a Reading with Royalty event at the Seton Library in the city’s southeast earlier in March.

Reimer is facing a total of eight charges in a hate-motivated crime, Calgary police said.

Click to play video: 'Man charged following ‘hate-motivated incident’ at Calgary library'

Man charged following ‘hate-motivated incident’ at Calgary library

Police also recently told Global News that the actions of anti-LGBTQ2S+ protestors in the city have increased.

Police confirmed to Global News last Friday they are investigating a gun threat made toward the city’s LGBTQ2S+ community.

“Threats of violence will not be tolerated and this incident is currently under investigation with many units engaged across the service,” CPS said in a statement.

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“We want to reassure community members that everyone has the right to feel safe in our city and we continue to work with event organizers, participants and everyone in attendance to ensure the safety of all involved.”

Read more: Calgary police investigating threat towards LGBTQ2S+ community

Ward 11 Coun. Kourtney Penner told reporters last Friday that the bylaw is trying to strike a balance with the right to protest and providing a safe and inclusive space for patrons.

“It is providing that zone where people can enter and exit a facility free of intimidation or harassment, be that verbal or non-verbal,” Penner said.

“What this bylaw is actually upholding is Alberta human rights legislation.”

–With files from Adam Toy, Global News.

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