Orangeville mayor reaffirms stance after members of public criticize her comments on ‘1 Million March 4 Children’

October 26, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By JAMES MATTHEWS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Members of the public asked Orangeville Mayor Lisa Post to apologize for a social media video they believe maligned what they claimed was an effort to protect children.

Participants in the 1 Million March 4 Children rally held locally on Sept. 20 spoke during council’s Oct. 16 regular meeting about their protest against how they believe schools teach sexual orientation and gender identity.

In a September social media video, Post said Orangeville is a “community that values diversity, inclusion, and respect for all of its members. Our commitment to these principals in unwavering and it is my duty as your mayor to uphold them and ensure you feel safe.”

She affirmed her support for a person’s right to protest and to voice opposition.

“I must also make it very clear that I denounce any form of hateful rhetoric or discrimination that may be associated with this particular event, the organizers, or any event in Orangeville,” Post said in her video. “Founders of this organization have been quoted espousing anti-LGBTQ ideologies and harmful misinformation.”

She praised respectful discourse and called for productive conversations about the issue between supporters of the march and various community groups. 

Mayor Post said, “I urge the organizers of this protest and those who have joined them to reconsider their position, and to instead engage in constructive dialogue that promotes understanding and empathy.”

Anthony Zambito, an independent journalist, gave council a “recap” of his “ongoing investigation into the 1 Million March 4 Children.”

Zambito is the failed People’s Party of Canada candidate in the 2021 federal election who was expelled from the party because of a disagreement over grassroots representation. In fact, Zambito is the first Canadian to be kicked out of the right-wing party.

He said, “the lefty liberals reacted” when word of the protest march got out. Labour groups began organizing counter-protests “to trail and essentially annoy marchers,” Zambito said.

He took umbrage with the mayor’s two-minute video, which he said was made to chastise the marchers.

“It was a polarizing video, especially as many Orangeville parents don’t agree with her claims or her proposed solution,” Zambito said.

Mary Rowan prefaced her remarks to council by telling how, when she was 21 years old, she was at the bedside of a friend as he died of AIDS.

“I share this with you so that you can decide if I look and sound like a woman who is unloving, hateful, or anti-gay,” she said.

In another anecdote, Rowan told of how she visited her grandmother, who she said is now 105 years old when she discovered she was pregnant. Rowan said she wanted advice about finding out the child’s gender.

She said her grandmother told her that there are so few good surprises in life, let finding out the child’s gender be one of them.

“And what a great surprise it was when I was blessed with both a girl and a boy,” Rowan said. “I’m blessed with one of each, as God created them. Male and female, He created them.”

Then she cited a Bible verse from Genesis.

Imagine, she said, if her grandmother told her that the day will come when gender won’t matter, that public and private education will teach children at a young age that they can be whatever they want to be.

The school system is failing children, Rowan said.

“Our children are our most vulnerable members of our society,” she said. “It’s our job to protect them. That’s every parent’s job, every parent’s desire.”

Graciela Cardenas-Mustapha said an email was sent to Post. In the email, organizers of the local march invited the mayor to meet and talk about any concerns, she said.

“As a leader of this community and after advocating for dialogue … I was wondering why did you not address the parents, the grandparents, and the concerned citizens?” Cardenas-Mustapha said.

She asked when “safeguarding childhood innocence,” and parents asserting their right of consent became considered acts of hate.

“Who is really discriminating and who is really fuelling this hateful rhetoric?” she said. “It is not the parents.”

Shelburne resident Jeremy Glass, who was one of the organizers of the twice-monthly “Freedom Rallies” in protest of COVID-19 vaccine mandates, wondered how people could feel welcomed in Orangeville when parents and grandparents weren’t welcome to partake in a peaceful march.

“They removed religion out of our education system because you wouldn’t want to have a Muslim child indoctrinated into Christianity,” he said. “Why would we want our children to be indoctrinated into sexual ideology? That’s why we were marching out there.”

Glass, who said he once played a drag queen in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, took a swipe at the Drag Queen Story Time events held for children and families to support diversity.

“This town putting on drag shows for children and drag readings for children is not acceptable,” Glass said. “This isn’t stuff that our children should be exposed to.”

Zambito said many accomplished, well-educated Orangeville parents disagreed with the claims Post made in her video.

“I stand by my statement, and I would state it again,” Post said.

The mayor was asked why she hadn’t responded to any of the questions directed toward her during the Question Period.

“If you’re looking to have something changed with the curriculum, that’s done at the provincial level,” Post said. “I’m happy to have a conversation with anybody if you want to reach out to my assistant and book an appointment.”

As such, anybody who disagrees with the school curriculum should, at the local level, approach Deputy Premier MPP Sylvia Jones, the representative for Dufferin-Caledon.

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.