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Upcoming Saskatchewan Pro-Life Convention sparks conflict

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Chris and Bailey Brookes are busy getting their signs ready for the Intolerance Free Weyburn Pro-Love rally to protest speaker Peter LaBarbera, President of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality. LaBarbera is scheduled to speak at the Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association Provincial Convention April 11 and 12 at McKenna Hall.

A group of Weyburn residents wants Saskatchewan Pro-Life to drop a speaker from their convention line-up which is to be held April 11 and 12 at McKenna Hall.

Peter LaBarbera is the President of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) and is a conservative activist with 20 years of speaking and researching on the impact of the homosexual agenda in America.

Bailey Brookes, co-founder of the Facebook group Intolerance Free Weyburn, said LaBarbera is vocal in his pride of this designation, and is known for spreading mistruths about the LGBT society.

"Peter is dangerous because this is what he does for a living. He knows what words to use. He does radio shows and TV shows, and when you're that good at what you do, it's terrifying," she said.

Weyburn is known as the Opportunity City and as such, Bailey said, "we're looking for change. We're interested in moving forward, not going back in time."

Bailey's husband Chris said they don't live in a community that spews hate. The group was founded on the basis of not welcoming intolerance.

"You don't have to be 'pro' anything. Just being a human being tells you that this is not okay," said Chris.

Intolerance Free Weyburn are taking to the streets in a peaceful protest in defence of equal rights on April 11 and 12 during the Pro-Life Convention.

The rally begins at 2 p.m. on Friday, April 11 at Memorial Park and walking to McKenna Hall to maintain a peaceful presence throughout the convention and continues Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"Our Pro-Love Peace Rally is being held in response to Peter LaBarbera's planned presence in our city," said Bailey, adding the City of Weyburn and the Weyburn Police Services have been very cooperative in letting them know the rules when protesting.

"I don't think this reflects badly on our city. Something really has to spark them," said Mayor Debra Button. "I've received a lot of calls from people who freely share they are pro-life, and they are upset."

Since March 30, nearly 400 people have signed a petition to stop LaBarbera from speaking at the Saskatchewan Pro-Life Convention.

Neither the petition, nor the protest will stop LaBarbera from making the trek to Saskatchewan.

"As an American, this comes as a little bit of a shock. It's a crude attempt to shut down a different point of view," said LaBarbera. "Misinformation turns disagreement into hate."

LaBarbera said the group Intolerance Free Weyburn has never contacted him.

"They never asked me anything. They saw a flyer they didn't like. They're interpreting my motives without even knowing me," he said. "You can't label a viewpoint as hatred."

He said people talk about tolerance, but it's one-sided.

"The leftists want to sensor our views and do so in the name of tolerance, but tolerance, to them is, 'it's okay for me, but not for you'," said LaBarbera.

He says his plan is to come to Weyburn and he welcomes everyone to come and listen to his message during the Pro-Life Convention.

Jeffery Stephanuik, blog editor for Saskatchewan Pro-Life.com said the two groups are connected in the way abortion rhetoric is related to the rhetoric of sexual experimentation.

The Convention also features speakers, Linda Gibbons, who is a pro-life sidewalk counsellor and long term Canadian political prisoner; Nic Davidson, Catholic youth missionary, speaker and writer; and Laura Ricketts, executive director of the Guiding Star Project.


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