Bill Whatcott

Bill Whatcott

Bill Whatcott is a Canadian social conservative activist who campaigns against homosexuality and abortion. The dramatic nature of his activities have attracted attention from the media, including an appearance on "The Daily Show". He has also run for political office.

He was born in Ontario and spent his youth in a number of foster homes, where he reports having been physically and mentally abused. At the age of 14 he went to live on the street. By the age of 18 he had an addiction to sniffing glue and supported himself through theft and work as a gay prostitute."Addict turns into activist;" Jason Warick. "Star - Phoenix." Saskatoon, Sask.: Jun 1, 2002. pg. A.1.FRO] " [http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2005/06/08/christ050608.html Police investigating Christian activist for hate crime] " Wednesday, June 8, 2005 CBC News.] At age 18 he reports having found God, and transformed his life. He spent time in jail and a group home, and the latter helped him enroll in nursing school. In 1991, he graduated from Humber College, receiving his diploma in Practical Nursing with Honours, and was granted his nursing licence from the Ontario College of Nurses. Later that year he relocated to Saskatchewan, where he worked first for the Regina Health District and then at a Salvation Army senior's home.

In Regina he expanded his public campaign against abortion and homosexuality, with his goal to make both activities illegal. One of his most notable activities has been to travel to different Canadian cities and place graphic flyers in mailboxes. These include flyers with images of dismembered fetuses ["Anti abortion pamphlet lacks logical argument;" Patrick Thomson. "Star - Phoenix." Saskatoon, Sep 13, 2005. pg. A.8] and flyers with pictures of diseases allegedly caused by gay sex. He also has protested at gay pride celebrations and outside abortion clinics. On occasion he has also taken up other causes, including distributing flyers describing Muhammad as "a man of violence" with images of a beheaded Indonesian girl. ["Site owner pledges to fight hate-speech complaint." "The Globe and Mail.'" David George-Cosh. July 25, 2007] ["Warning, graphic imagery" Online text of the flyer [http://takebackcanada.com/whatcott.html "Do Mohammed and his followers merit criticism?"] ] In 2001 he held a Heterosexual Pride Day parade in Regina. After the event turned out to be focused on anti-homosexual displays and speeches the city did not approve the event in subsequent years. " ["Heterosexual Pride Day focuses on gays;" Elizabeth Levine. National Post. Don Mills, Ont.: Jun 20, 2001. pg. A.9]

The graphic nature of his literature, and his protests have gotten him in repeated legal trouble. He has been arrested six times in Saskatchewan, but never convicted of any charge [ "Whatcott wins appeal;" Barb Pacholik. "Leader Post." Regina, Sask.: Jul 8, 2005. pg. B.3] He has also been arrested once in the United States and 20 times in Ontario and successfully prosecuted twice for violating the bubble zone around Dr. Scott's and Dr. Buriani's abortion clinics in Toronto. The injunction bars all prayers and protests from within 60 feet of the abortion clinic. On Sept 2 1994, he was successfully convicted for the first time, receiving a 6 month stint in jail for violating the injunction at Scott's abortion clinic in Toronto. Although he stood only 6 feet from the clinic praying on the sidewalk outside of the clinic and holding a small life chain sign, he never set foot on the property of the abortion clinic. ["Leader Post." Regina, Sask.: Jul 8, 2005. pg. B.3]

In 2005, he was fined $17,500 by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal for distributing material deemed hateful by the Human Rights Tribunal. Currently his activities are being investigated by the Edmonton police, for what one constable called an "affront on the basic tenets of our society"

He has also repeatedly run for political office. In the 1999 Ontario election he ran for the Family Coalition Party in the riding of Toronto Centre, finishing eighth with 232 votes. In 2000 he ran for mayor of Regina, finishing fourth of eight with 344 votes. ["An Upset Win: Fiacco brings Archer's 12-year reign to an end;" Neil Scott. "Leader Post." Regina, Sask.: Oct 26, 2000. pg. A.1.FRO] In 2007 he ran for mayor of Edmonton finishing sixth of nine with 1665 votes. [ [http://vote2007.edmonton.ca/ Edmonton Election 2007] ] He was also a frequent contributor to the conservative website Free Dominion.

In 2006 he was interviewed by Ed Helms for "The Daily Show". [ [http://bluewavecanada.blogspot.com/2006/10/daily-show-skewers-bill-whatcott.html The Daily Show skewers Bill Whatcott] ]

uspension of Nursing License and Subsequent Appeal

On January 25, 2005, the Saskatchewan Association of Licensed Practical Nurses suspended Whatcott's nursing license for 45 days and payment of a fifteen thousand dollar fine. They asserted that Whatcott had intimidated patients and staff outside a Regina Planned Parenthood clinic by picketing and referring "to its workers as murderers, abortionists and disseminators of AIDS. Bill Whatcott insisted that he was well within his rights of free speech as a private citizen to protest the clinic, as he was off duty and made no reference to his professional status. The judge disagreed and upheld the fine. [ [http://www.cbc.ca/canada/saskatchewan/story/2006/07/19/abortion.html Judge confirms suspension of anti-abortion nurse] . Wednesday, July 19, 2006 CBC News"]

On appeal, a Saskatchewan appeals court overturned the ruling by the trial judge, and on May 29, 2008, the Supreme Court of Canada endorsed the appeals court view that Whatcott's activities off duty was protected by the right of free speech and could not be used to suspend his nursing license. According to Whatcott's lawyer, if the original ruling had stood, it could have affected other professionals, such as lawyers or teachers, who take unpopular views. [ [http://www.canada.com/topics/news/national/story.html?id=bd91c41a-0d16-48cd-9668-74dca34a0616 Supreme Court sides with Sask. anti-abortion protester] ]

References


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