Calgary city council voted in favour of a bylaw proposal that now makes it illegal to protest drag queen story hour events when inside 100 meters.
Over the weekend, the city had proposed the “Safe and Inclusive Access Bylaw” which Calgary’s city council debated on Tuesday.
The bylaw called to fine “specified” protesters who “intimidate,” which was a reference to drag-queen story hour protesters, or, more generally, those who believe “trans-rights” have usurped women’s rights and children’s rights.
Calgary’s Mayor Gondek had promised to do something about what she called were “hateful” Drag-Queen Story Hour protesters.
The bylaw requires protesters to stay 100 meters away from the entrances to public facilities of events they wish to protest.
On Tuesday, city councilors said the bylaw is intended to provide safe access to the events, so that participants aren’t blocked from entering drag queen story hour and related transgender-focused events.
Councilors voted in favour of the bylaw 10 against 5.
Protesters in violation of this bylaw are now liable to pay a $10,000 fine and can be sentenced to prison for one year.
Councilor Chu, who voted against the bylaw, said it seemed “very rushed.”
Councilor Chabot, who was also against it, said the word “intimidation” from the bylaw was unclear.
A few councillors were passionately in favour of the proposed bylaw and almost broke down in tears while arguing in favour of it.
Councilor Mian said that the issue is about human rights for “the LGBTQ+ community.”
“We aren’t just going to say sorry but we’re actually doing to do something to support them,” Mian said.
Councilor Penner also favoured the proposal, saying it is just a “small degree of protection.”
“We can change our city for the better,” she added.
Mayor Gondek said it’s important to know that “no one is stopping protests.” The protest and counter-protest situation in the city has escalated in recent months, which Gondek said was likely to “get ugly” unless the bylaw got passed.
Last week, just days after Gondek called for Drag-Queen Story Hour protesters to be fined, they were attacked while peacefully protesting in front of city hall. One parent was spit on and another was punched.