Nanaimo council beats a hasty retreat

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Nanaimo’s mayor and council have pulled an abrupt U-turn rescinding a council motion that set off a firestorm of controversy.

Council yanked a permit for the May Leadercast 2014 conference after hearing concerns from Gay Rights Adovcates over links from the organizers to anti-gay marriage activism in the United States.

However Nanaimo mayor John Ruttan says that set off a powder-keg.

“It somehow morphed into a challenge by Naniamo against the Christian community and that was never ever the part that we wanted.”

Ruttan says council rescinded the motion and he has since publicly apologized.

“We apologize and regret our actions stated in the motion of May the 5th. The motion was aimed at preventing divisiveness and hate and instead caused the opposite. We did not intend on curtailing freedom of speech and apologize for any negative comments directed at people of all faiths.”

Ruttan says council had good intentions voting through the initial motion by making a stand over the concern from Gay Rights activists in the city.

But Ruttan says council soon found itself on the wrong end of a freedom of speech battle.

“In hindsight I think everyone on council is now aware that a certain risk lies in trying to appease certain groups. I am not saying it was wrong we supported that group but I think it was perhaps wrong that we didn’t do more research, give it more time, and bring it up at a following meeting where we could have had the luxury of having staff input.”

He is hoping council’s actions and the apology will put the whole issue to rest.


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    • From what I understand by watching Ezra LEVANT’s TV show, is that Chick-fil-A was a sponsor of some sort of motivational conference. A group in Nanaimo had rented convention center to simulcast the conference. Somebody from the public complained to one of the councillors because the owner of Chick-fil-A thinks that marriage should be exclusively for a man and a woman. City council decided that the conference was promoting divisiveness and hate so they passed a bylaw that any such group would be forbidden from renting any public building in Nanaimo.

  1. So someone has finally stood up to the militant gays and said that free speech for all means just that … And if some peoplefind gay marriage wrong , they are entitled to speak their opinion.

    • Things have a way of getting blown way out of proportion and end in being called a whatever-phobic or just breaking into a war. You’re right Chris, everyone has and is entitled to have an opinion on anything. It would be nice if we did a little more listening before we start bashing.

  2. This goes beyond the “gay rights” issue that was the reason for cancelling this event. The vote on May 5 took place with no prior notice, and the local sponsor of the event was given no notice that their event was to be cancelled. The author of the motion, Fred Pattje told the one councillor who asked that the sponsor be given the opportunity to speak that this was “beside the point”. The sponsor had a contract with the operator of the convention centre, and this was just ripped up.

    It came out during the debate that this event was cancelled in 2013 (with the same sponsor) and two of the councillors stated that they were disappointed that the sponsor had not “learned their lesson” last year. One councillor admitted that he knew nothing about this but he voted anyway.

    A major event in Nanaimo every year is a three day meeting held by the Jehovah’s witnesses group. They need the local hockey arena for this purpose. This policy could have resulted in the permanent cancellation of this event as the JW’s are firmly against gay marriage and homosexuality in general.

    City staff could not possibly have enforced a motion that prohibited groups a “history of divisiveness” renting municipal facilities. This would have allowed the city to deny anyone access to municipal facilities for any arbitrary reason. For example, elections are divisive.

    It gets much worse. Anyone who wants to watch a totally dysfunctional, leaderless council in action should watch the May 5 meeting for themselves.

  3. What is astounding about this whole issue . . . is how the Lame-Stream Media completely ignored the story for over a Month . . . we live today in the Post Media World, where only feelings and opinions matter. Real news reporting has become rare and even controversial.

    Only ONE man on this Council had any Common Sense . . . the Mayor and the rest of council were complete fools who all need to be replaced in the fall election.