On Tuesday morning, Regina Police issued a statement saying LaBarbera was not released Monday as they indicated before, but was held for questioning by Canadian Border Services Agency until Tuesday morning. His status in the country is still undecided.
REGINA – Three days after he was almost barred entry into the country, anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera has been arrested. He and Regina’s Bill Whatcott held a demonstration outside the Riddell Centre at the University of Regina Monday afternoon – their demonstration was cut short by police.
It was obvious when they arrived on campus, they were not welcome and they were quickly asked to leave by campus security.
“We have a charter right to speak; the Court of Queen’s Bench ruled in our favour and I’m not leaving,” countered Whatcott.
Peter LaBarbera was invited to Weyburn to speak at a Saskatchewan Pro-life Association convention Saturday. He then decided to hold demonstrations at the province’s two universities. LaBarbera opposes same-sex marriage, gay adoption and abortion, but said he is just fighting for his right to free speech.
“I’m a Christian. I can’t hate people. We all struggle with sin – that just doesn’t happen to be my sin, but the idea that you can’t have an open debate on homosexuality on a college campus and that some speech code is brought in to kick people off because they have a viewpoint that most students probably haven’t heard, seems to me to be pretty undemocratic,” he said.
The U of R Pride Centre set up their own protest opposite Whatcott and LaBarbera, but said its aim was not to engage in debate.
“If we can grab anybody who finds themselves triggered or upset by this information and kind of provide them with that space to decompress, to talk about it, that’s all we really want to do today,” explained Leah Keiser, executive director of the UR Pride Centre.
However, some students did approach the protestors.
“Do you understand the difference between intolerance of people and intolerance of ideas?” Rob Hillstead, a graduate film student born in Weyburn asked LaBarbera.
The university said anyone is welcome on campus, as long as they uphold a respectful workplace policy and said graphic abortion posters Whatcott and LaBarbera displayed contravened this policy. So after two hours – and being asked to leave multiple times, the men were removed in handcuffs.
They were taken into custody by Regina Police and charged with mischief. Both men have a court date on Monday, May 26, 2014. They plan to hold a similar demonstration at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon Tuesday.