By Meg Jalsevac

VANCOUVER, October 31, 2006 ( – Approximately 60 Canadian Postal workers at the Commercial Drive Post Office in Vancouver, Canada walked off the job in protest rather than deliver a pamphlet that says homosexuality is “ungodly, unhealthy and unnatural.”Â

The pamphlet, entitled ‘The Prophetic Word’, was written by Rev. Sterling Clark of Waterford, Ont and contained an article called “The Plague of this 21st Century: The Consequences of the sin of Homosexuality (AIDS).” In the article Clark compares AIDS with the Black Plague of the 14th century and blames homosexuals for the AIDS epidemic that has now spread throughout the world.Â

As of April 2004, the official hate crime law of Canada was amended to include the terminology ‘sexual orientation’ as an identifiable group. Officially, the law forbids the spreading, in speech, action or writing, of any information that could encourage or incite hatred or violence against homosexuals. Critics, however, have expressed serious concern that the law will be used to muzzle any criticism of homosexuality.Â

Ken Mooney, president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, says that the postal workers’ walkout sent the message that they will not “participate in the dissemination of homophobic material.” Mooney said that the union’s constitutions require that postal employees work to “eliminate racism, discrimination and homophobia” in their work place. He says that the content of the pamphlet would make members of the homosexual community victims of “scorn and hate.”

Rev. Clark denies any wrong-doing in printing and distributing his pamphlet. He says, “I have not been charged or broken any law. I just stated what I feel should be stated.”

An editorial in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix reported on the issue saying,“Whatever their personal feelings on the tract, the postal workers have no more right to refuse to deliver it than would someone else to refuse to handle material that is union-related. If there’s an issue involving criminally hateful speech, it’s for the police to investigate and for the courts to determine, not for postal workers to censor.”

A letter to the editor of the Vancouver Sun ridiculed the union action saying, “Congratulations to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers for taking a strong stand against free speech. What next? Will they guard us against trans fats by refusing to deliver fast-food flyers and two-for-one pizza offers?”ÂÂ

Canada Post says that it cannot censor the pamphlet. They assert that their official regulations are in line with the hate crime laws of Canada. Canada Post will refuse to deliver mail that is considered, among other things, unsafe, obscene, indecent, immoral, or mail intended to defraud people and illegal lottery schemes.


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