World News

Calgary City Withdraws Charges Against Men in Transit Bylaw Case

The City of Calgary has dropped all charges against two men who say they were ticketed after having a private conversation en route to the “1 Million March for Children” due to a complaint from an unknown city transit user in September.

The Democracy Fund (TDF) litigation director Alan Honner, the lawyer for both men, said he received an email from the City of Calgary last week saying the charges had been withdrawn and no court appearance would be required, according to a TDF news release.

The charges laid were allegedly in connection with the two men having a private conversation with a “like-minded passenger” on a train that was mostly empty, according to the TDF. The men were on their way to Calgary’s “1 Million March 4 Children,” part of Canada-wide demonstrations protesting gender ideology being taught in schools.

One of the men was handcuffed after exiting the Calgary C-Train and both were served with a November court summons by transit authorities.

The bylaw used to lay the charges prohibits anyone on transit property from engaging in activity that would “interfere with the comfort, convenience, or quiet use and enjoyment of the transit system of any reasonable person.”

Mr. Honner said that despite having made two requests for information about the case, he had yet to receive disclosure. Now that the charges have been dropped, the city no longer needs to release disclosure.

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He said he would meet with his clients to determine if they wish to pursue the issue of disclosure “through another legal avenue.”

The Epoch Times reached out to the City of Calgary and Mr. Honner but did not hear back by publication time.

Bylaw Battles

The TDF, a civil liberties organization, said it is also voicing its concern about bylaws that hinder private communications, such as Calgary’s Safe & Inclusive Access Bylaw.

The bylaw prevents
within 100 metres of public facilities like public pools, recreation centres, and libraries.
The specific types of protests banned are those that express “objection or disapproval” toward ideas or actions related to “race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, gender identity, gender expression, physical disability, mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income, family status or sexual orientation,” according to a
city council release
Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) lawyer Joanna Baron previously
The Epoch Times that the law goes beyond the city’s authority.

“It’s important to note that there is no right to not be annoyed, to not be offended,” Ms. Baron said.

She said that harmful behaviours are regulated by the Criminal Code and these types of bylaws go over what the Supreme Court considers an appropriate limit on free speech.

Mr. Honner previously
that Calgary’s bylaw could apply to protests that are popular with a majority of people.

He told The Epoch Times on Oct. 24 that the bylaw was “one of the more troubling bylaws because it arguably restricts protests against things like anti-Semitism, which is probably not what council intended.”

Marnie Cathcart contributed to this report.

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