The Calgary Stampede Authority and the Street Church Evangelism Ministries International Foundation (Street Church) have been clashing for years over the Church’s participation in the Calgary Stampede parade. Things came to a head in 2012. The City of Calgary passed an amendment to its Traffic Bylaw stating that “a person must not join or otherwise interfere with the parade or special roadway event without the permission of the permit holder.” Nevertheless, that July, the Street Church showed up, 40-persons strong, dressed in medieval costumes and bearing shields spelling out “Jesus”, and inserted themselves into the very beginning of the parade. Four members of the Church were charged under the bylaw. Judge Tyndale of the Alberta Provincial Court ruled:
- The traffic bylaw amendment was within the authority of the City of Calgary to pass;
- The bylaw was reasonable in its scope because of the pressing and substantial need to protect the safety of participants in the parade, citizens watching, and the calculation of required support services from the police, fire department and EMS, among others;
- The amendment violated the accused persons’ Charter right to freedom of expression, but was a limitation that was reasonable and justified in a free and democratic society;
- The defendants were guilty of violating the bylaw.