[National Post] Should a man be forced to pay $17,500 to four individuals who felt offended by the flyers he distributed?
The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal will answer this question when it considers the appeal of William Whatcott this September.
In 2001 and 2002, Mr. Whatcott peacefully distributed flyers in Regina and Saskatoon. His flyers expressed opposition to teaching children in public schools about homosexuality, and also expressed, in polemical language, his religious objections to homosexual behaviour and the gay lifestyle. Some of the flyers were photocopies of a page from the gay magazine Perceptions, which included a personal classified ad stating “searching for boys/men for penpals, friendship, exchanging video, pics … Your age, look & nationality is not so relevant.” On the photocopied page, Mr. Whatcott wrote: “Saskatchewan’s largest gay magazine allows ads for men seeking boys!”
In response to complaints from four individuals whose feelings were hurt by the flyers, Mr. Whatcott was prosecuted under Saskatchewan’s human rights law, ordered to pay $17,500 to the complainants and ordered to refrain from distributing the same or similar flyers.