Today the BCCLA wrote to the mayor and council of the City of Nanaimo, following the rescinding of their decision to ban the Leadercast 2014 conference. The BCCLA takes the position that Nanaimo’s decision to cancel a booking of civic-owned public event space for the conference amounted to discrimination on the basis of religion, and a violation of the freedom of assembly and expression of the individuals who organized and who would have attended the conference. The BCCLA suggests in the letter below that city council should adopt a policy clarifying the widest possible scope for the rental of the city’s public spaces, and argues that the city cannot set itself up as a censor to stop people with whom council disagrees from using public spaces. The BCCLA writes:
Regulation of the availability of public spaces for the use of the public must be done in accordance with the Charter. The BCCLA takes the position that to deny the use of public meeting space to a group based on the views – or in this case the presumed views – that those individuals are going to express or to hear, amount to censorship.