The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has ordered Christian activist William Whatcott to pay $55,000 to trans activist Morgane Oger.
Tribunal member Devyn Cousineau said $35,000 was compensation for a hate-filled flyer that Whatcott published when Oger was running for provincial office in 2017, and $20,000 was to punish Whatcott for improper conduct during the five-day hearing in December.
According to the tribunal ruling, Whatcott printed 1,500 of the flyers and distributed them in the Vancouver-False Creek riding that Oger was contesting as an NDP candidate. The flyer had a photo of Oger, described her as a “biological male” and claimed she was promoting “homosexuality and transvestism.” It went on to state transsexuals were prone to sexually transmitted diseases and at risk of domestic violence, alcohol abuse and suicide.
The flyer concluded, “Thankfully Jesus Christ paid the price for your sin. You can turn to the merciful Christ and ask for forgiveness and when the NDP come knocking at your door you can tell them, you wont vote for them because you believe in God’s definition of gender and marriage.”
Oger, who lost the election by 400 votes, took the matter to the tribunal, claiming her human rights had been breached because the flyer was intended to discriminate and expose Oger to hatred. Whatcott claimed what he wrote in the flyer was an act of religious expression.
In the ruling, Cousineau described a five-day hearing during which Whatcott was wearing a white T-shirt with Oger’s face on it, and derogatory statements written underneath.
“In the hearing room for this complaint, we were witness to repeated, deliberate and flagrant attacks on Ms. Oger based on nothing more than a belief that her very existence is an affront,” Cousineau wrote, adding Whatcott continued to call Oger “he” and “mr” during the course of the hearing, despite being told not to.
Whatcott told the hearing that he produced the flyer after praying to God to ask how he could help in the election.