REGINA, Saskatchewan, April 11, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A prominent U.S. pro-family activist was detained by the Canadian Border Services Agency Thursday for alleged violations of Canada’s “hate propaganda” law.
Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, had flown into Regina International Airport to speak at the Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association provincial conference this weekend.
LaBarbera had been targeted by a makeshift group known as “Intolerance Free Weyburn,” which pressured the government to deny him access to the country. LaBarbera believes he was flagged by customs as a result.
LaBarbera provided LifeSiteNews with a formal document issued by CBSA agent Darren Banick that cites section 319(1) of Canada’s Criminal Code and says Banick believed LaBarbera "may commit acts which would be against the Criminal Code of Canada."
Section 319(1) of Canada’s Criminal Code bars “public incitement of hatred … against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace.” Breaching the law carries a punishment of up to two years imprisonment.
He was allowed to spend the night in Saskatchewan and will appeal the decision to Banick’s supervisor, Penelope Ulmer, at a hearing today at noon Central Standard Time.
LaBarbera said the customs agent went through his luggage, his phone and laptop, and played a DVD of a speech he had given Wednesday. He then reviewed AFTAH’s website, pulled up the “about page,” and said, according to LaBarbera, “So you’re targeting an identifiable group of people based on sexual orientation.”
LaBarbera told LifeSiteNews that he was asked for details about the talk he was scheduled to give. He said the agent asked, for example, “What percentage of your talk is going to be about homosexuality versus life?” He said the agent seemed unconcerned by the pro-life aspect of his talk.
“The Orwellian experience at Customs dragged on for more than three hours,” he said. “Finally, after 1:00 A.M., I was released pending my appeal of the decision today (Friday). My passport was seized until I arrive back at Customs today at noon for my appeal before a ‘Minister’s Delegate Review.’”
Marci Millette, president of Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association, was flabbergasted at LaBarbera's detainment. "Are these tyrants going to detain Christian priests and pastors next? They preach the same Gospel messages," she said.
Previously, Millette had defended LaBarbera's talk at the pro-life conference, despite claims that abortion and homosexuality are unrelated issues. "Pro-lifers are beginning to realize that defending the unborn means defending ‘real’ marriage since a stable marriage between a man and a woman is the best place to raise children,” she said.
“LaBarbera is a leading defender of ‘real’ marriage. He exposes those who would have marriage redefined to mean whatever they want it to mean, to the detriment of the child. He is a perfect choice for our conference.”Millette pointed out the irony that the only “intolerance” is coming from a pro-homosexual group making “bully-like demands.”
“They are trying to shut down our rights to free speech and freedom of association, rights guaranteed by the Charter. While they demand ‘tolerance’ for themselves and push ‘diversity’ and ‘acceptance,’ they deny these to everyone who does not think like they think.”
“It’s absolutely bizarre,” she said.