Protection needed for all

Dear editor,

The following is an open letter to Premier Doug Ford from North Bay Pride.

Dear Premier Ford;

We are writing to you for a few reasons. Foremost is to support the private member’s bill by MPP Kristyn Tam-Wong, which can be found here.

This bill is very important, as we have seen a rise in hate against the 2SLGBTQ+ communities across Canada. There has been a great deal of targeting towards drag performers and the trans community. It is very apparent and can be seen across Ontario. You must act before more people are hurt within Ontario by this kind of extremism. This is not about freedom of expression as outlined in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It does not protect hate under any charter, and if you are targeting groups of people based on who they are, that is called “hate”.

Hate can come in many forms: comments online, sharing of misinformation, protests at events, and so much more. So far, you have done nothing to protect the 2SLGBTQ+ community and you need to step up and protect all people in Ontario. Mr. Premier, we may not always agree on what direction you are taking Ontario in, but surely we can all agree that hate is not acceptable and we must take steps to protect our communities, including the 2SLGBTQ+ communities. We will not accept “thoughts and prayers” for those that hate has targeted because you have the power to protect all people in Ontario, businesses, and communities if you choose to. So far you have chosen not to treat all people equally and our community is asking for you to step up, because you said every election, “I am for all people of Ontario”. Please pass the protections before it’s too late as outlined in the private member’s bill. Hate is the force that we all must stand against together.

Second request. We have made a request to our local MPP Victor Fedeli, MP Anthony Rota and Mayor Peter Chirico to meet with our community to discuss the ongoing hate and other issues we have been experiencing in our local community, which includes death threats, threats of violence, etc. We have had confirmation from both our Mayor and MP with offerings of many dates and times. According to the office of MPP Fedeli, he is not available at any of those times. We offer MPP Fedeli to name the dates and times he is available to meet with our community to be again to be met with “Not Available”. We have been led to believe that MPP Fedeli is required to get permission from your office to meet with community groups and media like all other MPPs in our party, so we are asking for this to happen. Our community feels it extremely important that MPP Fedeli, along with our Mayor and MP meet with them to hear their personal experiences, and trying to send an office assistant instead attending to hear the community sends a very negative message. We hope that MPP Fedeli is not afraid to meet with our community as our official MPP and it would be quite concerned if he had to ask for permission from your office, which we hope is not the case.

We want to meet with our local MPP and we need to feel he is listening to our community members and sending an assistant to meet instead does not assure us that our local MPP is concerned for our safety or what we have to say or have experienced. We feel this is not the case, however, its important to show up too.

Premier Ford, Ontario Prides would also like a meeting with you on your availability that can be done through zoom to discuss our concerns we have currently in Ontario. Will you meet with us? For creating a better Ontario, it’s important to listen to our communities, wouldn’t you agree? Getting input from communities would be pivotal in any government to do better and truly support all of Ontarioians, wouldn’t you agree? We are here to help you do better because we need you to do better for all. When would you like to have a meeting? Name the time that works for you Mr. Premier.

Jason Maclennan
North Bay Pride