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Potential ban on street amplification won't solve hate speech in Vancouver: advocate

Last Updated Feb 23, 2021 at 10:02 pm PDT


The report recommends banning all unauthorized sound-amplification from public streets

Human Rights Lawyer Susanna Quail says this change would actually do more harm than good

Quail says the LGBTQ community was not consulted about this motion and it leaves marginalized people without a voice

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A possible ban on loud speakers and other amplification devices in Vancouver isn’t sitting well with advocates and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

The report going to council Wednesday recommends banning all unauthorized sound-amplification from public streets, including devices that enhance voices and musical instruments.

It comes after several disturbances in Davie Village last summer and complaints about an anti-gay street preacher spewing hateful language with a loud speaker.

Human rights lawyer and advocate Susanna Quail says this change would actually do more harm than good.

“The queer community is not asking for this. The problem wasn’t that the noise was amplified, the problem was that it was hate speech,” explains Quail.

Quail also says the LGBTQ+ community was not consulted at all, and this amendment would leave marginalized people without a voice.

“Legitimate protests, for celebrations, for picket lines, for striking workers […] there’s all kinds of socially important activity that will be just as prohibited under this proposed bylaw amendment as hate speech,” she says.

“The queer community understands the importance of making noise, of making our voices heard, and the importance of protest. We are the last community that would be calling on the city to be expanding police powers”, she emphasizes.

Quail also says the Vancouver Police already have the power to enforce noise bylaws and expanding their powers to silence others is the last thing the community would want.

“People who are calling for defunding the police, that entire movement, this is exactly what people are talking about. Where we have complex social problems and there’s this reflexive response to just say ‘oh, more police power!’ That’s not how you solve social problems,” she says.

Quail is hoping city council throws the report out completely and commits to an extensive consultation with members of the LGBTQ+ community.