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Canadian City Reverses Ban on Christian Conference Over Chik-Fil-A Sponsorship

Thaddeus Baklinski : Jul 11, 2014

What turned the tables was "tolerant Canadians deciding that we just couldn't let Nanaimo get away with an intolerant motion. No group should be driven out of the public square because of their faith." -Ezra Levant, Sun News

Chick fil a (Nanaimo, British Columbia)—Nanaimo city council has repealed the motion it passed May 5 banning a Christian leadership conference booked for the city's convention center, because the conference was partially sponsored by the American fast food chain Chik-Fil-A.

The decision to rescind the motion comes after thousands of Canadians expressed their outrage to city councilors over what lawyer and Sun News host Ezra Levant, who spearheaded the backlash, called "shocking" and "vicious" anti-Christian bigotry.

"Congratulations! You did it!" Levant said, pointing out that in a "hastily-called" meeting last Thursday, the council rescinded the motion, and apologized for having passed it.

The contentious motion centered on an approved booking for the "Beyond You" Leadercast event, which was scheduled to be broadcast on May 9 at the taxpayer-owned Vancouver Island Conference Center.

The May 9 conference, which was simulcast at hundreds of venues around the world, featured top-level speakers including former First Lady Laura Bush and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

At its May 5 meeting, Nanaimo councilors voted 8-1 to revoke the contract Leadercast had with the conference center. They also passed the motion that banned "any events that are associated with organizations or people that promote or have a history of divisiveness, homophobia, or other expressions of hate."

During their televised meeting, the councilors didn't specify what they found "hateful" about the fast food chain or the Leadercast event. But Councilor Fred Pattje, who drafted and presented the motion, argued that the Christian view of marriage had no place in what he called a "progressive and open-minded" city such as Nanaimo.

city councilIn addition to organizing the petition campaign, Levant had held a rally on the steps of Nanaimo city hall attended by more than 100 people, and threatened legal action against councilors who equated Christians to organized crime and terrorist groups. (Photo via

Councilor Jim Kipp had said that banning the event was no worse than banning an organized crime ring, saying the Christian view of marriage should "almost be a criminal point of view in this day and age," while the event itself was compared to the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram.

Levant said that what "turned the tables" in Nanaimo was "tolerant Canadians deciding that we just couldn't let Nanaimo get away with an intolerant motion. No group should be driven out of the public square because of their faith."

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