REGINA, Saskatchewan — The leader of a U.S.-based anti-gay group was detained by Canadian Border Services officials on Thursday at the Regina, Saskatchewan airport.
Peter LaBarbera, president of the Americans for Truth about Homosexuality (AFTAH), an organization designated as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, was stopped by officials while traveling to speak at the Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association conference in Weyburn this weekend.
Human Rights and LGBT advocates who opposed to LaBarbera’s visit to Canada based on his history as an anti-gay activist, had complained to authorities that his intended speech might violate Canada‘s strict laws that protect minorities, including the LGBTQ community, from what is termed “hate propaganda.”
“After questioning me about the purpose of my scheduled presentation at the SPLA event; rifling through my luggage, which contained numerous books and literature related to homosexuality (pro and con); examining the contents of my laptop and my cell phone; playing a DVD of my speech Wednesday at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio; and critically viewing AFTA’s website – a preliminary decision was made to deny my entrance into Canada on the basis that my speech at the SPLA would violate Canada’s ‘Hate Propaganda’ law (essentially the potential for ‘public incitement of hatred’ against a group of people based on their ‘sexual orientation’),” LaBarbera writes.
LaBarbera said the “Orwellian experience at customs dragged on for more than three hours as a formal document was issued outlining my denial of entry under Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.”
LaBarbera said he was released temporarily to the custody of Bill Whatcott, a prominent anti-gay and anti-abortion activist in Canada and was ordered to return Friday to appear before a board of the Canada Border Services Agency at Regina International Airport.
Moments ago, officials cleared LaBarbera to continue his travels and speak at the conference this weekend.