Differing opinions shouldn’t be silenced by city

What were Nanaimo city councillors thinking when they made a decision to cancel a leadership simulcast?

To the Editor:

Re: Decision made to protect vulnerable groups, May 22.

What were city councillors thinking when they made a decision to cancel a leadership simulcast? A number of world-class speakers were scheduled to present a vision for leadership, at a time when there is such an evident dearth of effective leaders.

Coun. Fred Pattje’s motion was based on misinformation, defamation, ignorance and a mistaken sense that by preventing access to the facility, council would be taking the moral high ground against an agenda which did not exist. It was not a religious convention. It was a leadership conference for heaven’s sake!

Now what? If council assumes the motion was logical and precedential, it will affect all future applications for the use of city properties. Could someone rent a city space for a birthday party if someone even peripheral to the event (such was the case with Leadercast) held a view that was contrary to Coun. Pattje? Disparate viewpoints are not indications of hatred.

I implore council to rescind and recant the motion and by way of public apology, assure us that as taxpayers, each of us will have as equal access to city facilities, no matter whether our world view is biblically based or secular.

Rick HigginsNanaimo

 

To the Editor,

Re: Cancellations must be justified, Editorial, May 22.

Council made the right choice in cancelling an event sponsored by a corporation and featuring a speaker who have espoused beliefs that are in conflict with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the City of Nanaimo non-discrimination policy and the non-discrimination policy of the VICC.

I would venture to say that many citizens of Nanaimo, not just the LGBT citizens, find those views offensive. Taxpayers paid for the VICC and continue to support it through taxes.

Does the presence of other sponsors or other speakers cancel the others out? Not in my opinion.

E.T. TurnerNanaimo

 

To the Editor:

Re: Decision made to protect vulnerable groups, May 22.

Nanaimo city council’s motion not to permit Leadercast to be held at Vancouver Island Conference Centre is disconcerting. It is not because the event could not pay its bills, but because one sponsor and one scheduled speaker are known to hold personal views about marriage and lifestyle that some find offensive.

Contrary to the belief of city council, holding differing views on moral and personal issues such as marriage and lifestyle does not constitute a hate crime. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression. It also guarantees the freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

As citizens of Nanaimo we must work to build a society where differing views and opinions can be respectfully discussed and those holding differing views on social and moral issues will not be vilified.

Darcy SiggelkowNanaimo

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