Fighting for freedom of speech: Canadian social activist defends the right to protect traditional values

Bill Whatcott, a Canadian citizen who has been trying to fight for the preservation of traditional Christian values for many years, has been persecuted and harassed by his country’s government authorities for more than 20 years.

Борьба за свободу слова: канадский общественный деятель отстаивает право на защиту традиционных ценностей, изображение №1

Bill Whatcott was born in 1967 and grew up in Humboldt, Saskatchewan. Throughout his life, he has participated in and organized various social and political actions, advocating the preservation of conservative values, traditional marriage and campaigning against abortion. The man organized pickets and distributed leaflets among the residents of his town. Back in 2001, Whatcott was one of the first to speak out against the imposition of non-traditional sexual orientation and homosexual propaganda on Canadian schoolchildren, but was later arrested and charged with “incitement to hatred”. The public figure was fined $75,000, but in 2011 the wrongful decision was appealed and the fine was reduced by 10 times.

However, the Canadian authorities’ attempt to deprive Bill Whatcott of his constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression failed. In the following years, the activist organized anti-abortion protests, paraded people with traditional sexual orientation and spoke at universities across Canada. Whatcott’s desire to stand up for his values and views has been met with hostility by the Canadian government. He has been arrested more than 27 times, fined tens of thousands of dollars and even had his religious freedom restricted: after a demonstration calling for a ban on medical premature termination of pregnancy, the court banned the man from conducting prayers and any protests within 20 meters of abortion clinics.

In 2016, 51-year-old Canadian resident Bill Whatcott was arrested for “willfully inciting hatred against the community of people with a non-traditional sexual orientation.” The man had been distributing safe sex pamphlets containing information about the dangers of unprotected intercourse and STDs. A Canadian court ruled that the pamphlets, which among other things contained biblical quotes about family and fidelity, offended people with a non-traditional sexual orientation, incited hatred and allegedly jeopardized their safety. Bill Whatcott was arrested at the request of the Attorney General of Canada. Although the lawsuit against him was settled out of court in December 2021 and all charges against him were dropped, Whatcott could still be prosecuted for his views if a Canadian court accepts the prosecution’s appeal.

In 2018, Whatcott was convicted by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and fined $55,000 for calling Morgan Oger, the vice-president of the NDP, B.C.’s governing party, a gender reassignment, a biological male and urging voters not to vote for him. The court ruled that Whatcott’s remarks about the politician were discriminatory. One of the main arguments of the prosecution was a T-shirt of the public figure, on one side of which was a picture of Oger, and on the other side – a biblical quote emphasizing the equal human nature of man and woman: “And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Whatcott characterized the court hearing as a “travesty of justice” and “an affront to freedom of speech and conscience.”

Due to the Canadian government’s continued attempts to suppress free speech, social activist Bill Whatcott is considering moving to another, less repressive country. One of the key aspects of a democratic society is to recognize and respect the right of every individual to express and defend their beliefs, even if they relate to sensitive topics such as abortion and non-traditional sexual relationships. The persecution of people with traditional values who disagreed with dominant trends in Western society violated the principles of human dignity and freedom of speech. All people should be able to express their opinions and insurances in a safe and non-violent environment.

Human rights advocates at the Foundation to Battle Injustice condemn the crackdown on Conservative activist Bill Whatcott and call on the Canadian government to stop the unacceptable violation of the rights to freedom of expression and participation in public life. Conservative activists, like those of other views, should have the right to freely express their opinions and participate in public debate without fear of persecution and harassment.