"Cancelled" author Meghan Murphy and TDF fight to ensure free speech rights are respected

In October 2023, Meghan Murphy's proposed public discussion on inclusivity and women's rights at the Cowichan Community Centre was cancelled, resulting in a legal letter, policy changes, and plans for a new event in 2024.

TORONTO: Back in October 2023, feminist author and public speaker Meghan Murphy attempted to book the Cowichan Community Centre in Duncan, BC, for a public speaking event entitled “Inclusivity, Gender Identity, and Women’s Rights.”

Ms. Murphy's talk intended to focus on gender theory, social identity and their impact on women and children in public spaces. However, after initially agreeing to hold the event, the authority in charge of booking the event - the Cowichan Valley Regional District - reversed its decision and denied the booking.

After a legal letter from TDF, CVRD agreed to revise its booking policies and sought input from Ms. Murphy and her legal team to ensure fair treatment when booking events. CVRD is in the process of revising its booking policies.

Ms. Murphy is scheduling a new event for the summer of 2024, entitled "Vancouver Island Speaks: Gender Inclusivity, women's Rights, and Safeguarding Kids."

She has travelled across North America to hold public talks about these issues and is committed to her rights to do so: "Politicians have ignored our concerns for far too long, so we've had to take this into our own hands. The fact that community members are denied the opportunity to have not only reasonable but necessary discussions about women's rights and kids' safety is unacceptable. We are not engaging in hate speech; we are not hateful, we are concerned about the safety of vulnerable community members and about our free speech rights."

Ms. Murphy and TDF are optimistic that the CVRD will fairly apply its new guidelines so that she can book the facility. TDF is committed to upholding the free speech rights of Canadians even - especially - where proposed speech is controversial. All adult citizens in a liberal democracy are intellectually, legally and morally capable of choosing for themselves the discussions they want to have and books they wish to read. Accordingly, TDF remains ready to respond if Ms. Murphy is prevented from holding her event.

To support Ms. Murphy and TDF's work in upholding free speech, please consider making a tax-deductible donation on this page.

About The Democracy Fund:

Founded in 2021, The Democracy Fund (TDF) is a Canadian charity dedicated to constitutional rights, advancing education, and relieving poverty. TDF promotes constitutional rights through litigation and public education and supports access to justice initiatives for Canadians whose civil liberties have been infringed by government lockdowns and other public policy responses to the pandemic.

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