Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Public speech ban by-law gets a step closer

Jon Willing has pointed out on the Ottawa Sun blog he shares with Sue Sherring that the City's Transportation Committee has approved a motion to ban various forms of nuisance on City streets.

I discussed this proposed law in a recent post.

Unfortunately, I couldn't attend the meeting and don't know how controversial it was (if at all). It will go to Council sometime soon.

Meanwhile, the Citizen reports that a student politician at the U of O was arrested for the crime of "causing a disturbance by swearing". So why the hell does the City even need a by-law?

Perhaps this bogus charge against Seamus Wolfe is to coax the City into having an alternative (but equally fuckheaded) punishment--a fine instead of criminal charges--for speaking one's mind. What we in the criminology field call "net widening".

I had originally thought this cartoon I drew was disingenuous because it refers to the police instead of bylaw, but Wolfe's case unfortunately shows you can get arrested for swearing.

On the bright side, the same Jon Willing blog post announced that the Panhandlers Union settled their suit with the City, which was related to Andrew Nellis' arrest on Mayday 2008. See this post and this post for contemporary details.

While acting out that cartoon might work, I'm thinking of a protest where a bunch of people stand every ten feet along a street and all chant "fuck" in sequence down the street. (like the "telephone" party game but with shouting instead of whispering) Damned if I have the time for it, though.

- RG>

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