A controversial American speaker, Peter LaBarbera, was allowed entry to Canada after first being disallowed from entering the country when he landed at the Regina Airport on Thursday evening; he had a hearing at noon on Friday to appeal the decision, and will now able to speak at the Saskatchewan Pro-Life conference in Weyburn.
LaBarbera is president of the group Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, and was being denied entry on the basis of allegedly violating the hate propaganda law.
He was detained by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA), and had his bags and laptop searched; the agency also watched a DVD of a speech he gave on Wednesday at a college in Dayton, Ohio, and looked at his website.
In a tweet after winning his appeal, LaBarbera said, “Canadian customs officials reverse earlier decision and let me stay in coutnry to give my speech on Saturday. Win for true tolerance and diversity.”
Earlier in a tweet posted after his release, LaBarbera said, after going through all his stuff and his website, “a preliminary decision was made to deny my entrance into Canada on the basis that my speech at the SPLA would violate Canada’s “Hate Propaganda” law (essentially the potential for “public incitement of hatred” against a group of people based on their “sexual orientation”).
“The Orwellian experience at Customs dragged on for more than three hours as a formal document was issued outlining my denial of entry under Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (citing the Hate Propaganda code). Finally, after 1 a.m., I was released pending my appeal of the decision today. My passport was seized until I arrive back at Customs today at noon for my appeal before a ‘minister’s delegate review’.”
The action taken by the CBSA was a result of lobby efforts by representatives of Intolerance Free Weyburn, which had earlier run an on-line petition to ask the Sask. Pro-Life Association to drop him from the lineup of speakers for the provincial conference. The group will be holding a rally at 2 p.m. today, starting at Memorial Park and will march to McKenna Hall, where they will be protesting throughout the Pro-Life conference Friday and Saturday.