Saskatchewan

Controversial activist Bill Whatcott returns to University of Regina

Controversial activist Bill Whatcott is returning to the University of Regina to spread his message that homosexuality and abortion is wrong.

Previous court decision leaves university with 'limited options', says U of R president

U of R reluctantly allows Whatcott on campus (CBC)

Long-time controversial activist Bill Whatcott returned to the University of Regina Tuesday, once again preaching his message that homosexuality and abortion is wrong.

"This is where the future decision-makers are and this is a great opportunity to engage them," said Whatcott.

"Something other than the politically correct narrative." 

Whatcott was allowed to set up a table in a high traffic area inside the school. He displayed some graphic photos and offered what he called "gospel condoms".

The packages didn't contain condoms. Inside was anti-homosexual literature and gospel scriptures.

In 2014, Bill Whatcott and another man were arrested and taken away in handcuffs after distributing literature on the University of Regina campus.

Unfortunately, a past court decision leaves the university with limited options or restricting him from coming to campus and/or distributing literature.- Vianne Timmons , University of Regina president

They were charged with mischief under the Criminal Code but the charge was dismissed.

University of Regina president Vianne Timmons provided a statement about Whatcott's visit. 

"Though courts have acknowledged the discriminatory nature of his materials that he has distributed in the past, unfortunately, a past court decision leaves the university with limited options or restricting him from coming to campus and/or distributing literature," she said. 

Pride centre sets up own table

To counter Whatcott, UR Pride Centre for Sexuality and Gender Diversity, set up its own table nearby.

Lindsay Desrochers, who is openly gay, condemned Whatcott's message.

"Free speech doesn't impede on other people's ability to live in the world," said Desrochers. "What he's preaching is hate against gay people. 

 "What he says affects how other people may see me when I walk in the world with my girlfriend. In turn I may experience physical harm because of his message."

Whatcott has previously dismissed that his message is hate speech. Instead, he has said it is an opposing view. 

One person stood by Whatcott's table with a sign that read, "Do not engage. Keep walking. Hateful messages ahead."

Whatcott said he expected to encounter opposition.

"I'm not surprised to have people opposing me." said Whatcott. "If they're respectful and don't damage my stuff, then I'm happy."

Whatcott planned to spend the day on campus.