Calgary

Bylaw to create abortion protest bubbles at schools suggested by Calgary councillor

A Calgary councillor is bringing a motion to city council Monday for a bylaw to keep protesters with graphic material away from schools.

Druh Farrell wants administration to explore whether city has authority

An anti-abortion group demonstrates with graphic displays at William Aberhart High School in this file photo from 2011. (James Bundy)

A Calgary councillor is bringing a motion to city council Monday for a bylaw to keep protesters with graphic material away from schools.

Druh Farrell wants to look at the constitutionality of creating a "safe bubble" that would bar "harmful expression or protest conducted by public interest groups that interferes, bullies, intimidates, or conveys hateful views" from school grounds.

Farrell's motion says children should feel psychologically safe when going to school.

The proposed bylaw is similar to rules put in place by the province last year making it illegal to protest within 50 metres of an abortion clinic.

Farrell says her motion was partly motivated by a confrontation between a group of teenagers and anti-abortion activists outside a northwest Calgary high school.

"Their parents were very upset and they asked for me to find a way to address this problem," she said.

The Alberta NDP have said they plan to amend provincial legislation to extend the abortion protest bubble zones to K-12 schools, if they are re-elected.

"Hopefully, it will be unnecessary for the city to act on its own, but we can't assume the outcome of the election and I'm not prepared to wait," said Farrell.

Calgary-Mountain View Alberta Party candidate Angela Kokott also suggested last month that the safe zone legislation should be expanded to include schools.

The provincial election is April 16.

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