Ontario Proposes Bill With 'Offensive Remarks' Fine up to $25k, 'Safety Zones' at Drag Show Events

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Across the U.S., red state legislatures and governors have been working to protect children and families with new laws passed that seek to ban drag queen shows and story hours for children. The most recent news on this issue was a setback a few days ago, though, in the state of Tennessee, where a federal judge paused a law there—which was set to go into effect on April 1st. The law is “aimed at restricting drag queens from performing in front of impressionable young children.”

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My colleague Brandon Morse also brought readers the story of a North Carolina school that is reconsidering its policies allowing these types of drag events, after Libs of TikTok shared video of a drag performer straddling a teenage student. In addition to that troubling fact, some of the students who attended the show were as young as 14 years old; also, the students’ parents apparently were not informed about the event in advance.

Now, the Canadian province of Ontario is proposing a strict new law meant to punish anyone who speaks out or protests against drag shows, by calling such actions “hate speech,” according to Fox News.

A proposed provincial bill in Canada would empower Ontario’s attorney general to establish 100-meter “safety zones” around drag shows and other LGBTQ events in the province that would make harassment, intimidation and “offensive remarks” punishable by fines up to $25,000.

The “Protecting 2SLGBTQI+ Communities Act,” which was unveiled Tuesday during a press conference attended by drag queens, was proposed by MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam, a member of the New Democratic Party (NDP) of Ontario.

“Drag artists have faced threats and intimidation all across Ontario over the past year,” Wong-Tam said, according to an Ontario NDP press release. “Businesses and 2SLGBTQI+ community members are being told that they can’t be out and proud from Thunder Bay to Hamilton, to Guelph, to Stratford, to Welland, Ottawa, and even Toronto. New Democrats are giving Ford’s Conservatives a chance to stop hate — today — by passing my private member’s bill.”

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What this would do is allow Ontario’s attorney general “to temporarily designate locations throughout the province as ‘2SLGBTQI+ Community Safety Zones.'” Perhaps the most troubling part is what could happen to any protester who chooses to come “within 100 meters of the designated address”—the possible imposition of a fine up to $25,000.

Also, the bill would

create an advisory committee made up lawmakers and members of the LGBTQ community to offer recommendations for preventing “anti-2SLGBTQI+ hate crimes in Ontario,” the press release explained.

Fox News Digital notes that this likely didn’t materialize out of thin air; the Ontario bill mirrors a law put in place by Calgary’s city council in March:

The proposed legislation resembles the Safe and Inclusive Access Bylaw passed last month by the City Council of Calgary, Alberta. The bylaw prohibits protests within 100 meters of a recreation facility or library entrance. The city council also modified its current public behavior bylaw to include the term “intimidation,” according to the CBC.

That law came after Pastor Derek Reimer was arrested and jailed several times for protesting and speaking out against drag queen events, including an all-ages story time event at a Calgary library. According to Rebel News, on March 2nd:

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Yesterday, a pastor was arrested in Calgary on charges stemming from a protest at a public library where an all-ages drag queen story time event was being held. Pastor Derek Reimer was seen in a video posted to social media being physically removed from the venue.

Despite being forcefully removed from the library, Reimer was charged with mischief and causing a disturbance by Calgary police. The Canadian Press reports that police described the incident at Seton Library as a “hate-motivated crime.”

In a follow-up story, Rebel News reported that Reimer gained release on bail in late March after spending a week in jail—only after he agreed to certain conditions: (emphasis mine)

  • $5000 no cash bail
  • No contact or public statements with certain named people from Seton Library event
  • No contact with participants or performers at Drag Queen Story Hour events
  • Staying away atleast [sic] 300 meters from Drag Queen Story Hours and LGBTQ events
  • No weapons or guns

What Reimer said after the bail hearing serves as a chilling warning to those of us who cherish the protections of the First and Second Amendments in the United States:

To paint me with a certain brush, they bring up my my whole past my whole criminal record of like 12 years ago and just trying to have me look like a certain guy. But we’re just thankful, you know, and praise God again for Ben’s performance and for the judge as she was fair and I thought did a good job there as well.

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