ON Election 2022



Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound candidates for the June 2 provincial election responded to our enquiry about concerns of local residents on seeing a confederate flag on a Grey County residential property. We have shared their responses here in the order in which they were received. Mr. Byers of the Progressive Conservative Party did not respond.

It saddens me deeply that anyone in our community would want to display a symbol of hatred. That they are displaying it at their home is even more disturbing. There is so much wrong doing such a thing, I do not know where to begin.

Currently there seems to be no bylaw which would restrict such symbols of hatred on private property. There should be.
If elected I would certainly propose legislation, through a private members bill if necessary, that would extend the laws around hate speech to include symbols of hatred.

I stand in solidarity with those neighbours who are appalled by this blight on our community. I would ask whoever has done this to realize the damage and hurt they are causing and to remove the flag immediately.

Karen Gventer

Isn’t it sad that in 2022 some people are ok with the display of symbols know to be associated with hate and white supremacy. Every person should be entitled to live in a community free of hate, intolerance and intimidation. The BUUCE - GREY - OWEN SOUND I love and will work hard to represent is not a place that will tolerate those few individuals who choose to promote hate. I know that those individuals will hold up the Charter as a shield. However, in my respectful submission, controls on acts of hate and discrimination are demonstrably justified in a fair and democratic society. 

Selwyn Hicks

The flag in question sends a message that is indeed offensive, however, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, section 2, protects everyone's right to freedom of expression: 

1. 2 Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: 
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

While s. 2(b) does not protect violent acts it does protect communication no matter how repugnant, shocking, or hateful its content. You may refer to R. v. Keegstra for for further information on this.

As a candidate for the position of MPP, becoming involved in a matter that could be determined as a charter of rights infringement sends a very dangerous message that I do not believe in the charter or the rights for all citizens that it protects. As a legal professional who took an oath to uphold the Charter and as a possible MPP who must respect the charter at all times, that is a message I can not nor will not engage in. ...

I certainly empathize with the 2 residents you mention and the stress this may be causing them so I strongly suggest that the Police be notified as they are the appropriate agency to handle matters such as this.

Suzanne Coles

The 2015 Charleston church shooting, the 2020 murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, and most recently, the targeted killings in a mostly Black Buffalo neighbourhood are gutwrenching demonstrations of racism and hatred. Yet, not all racism is so blatantly violent. Recently, a member of the community here in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound chose to fly the Confederate Flag; a flag first flown over a hundred and sixty years ago in the American south.  The Confederate States of America were founded on a simple idea: that some people were inferior to others.  

No reasonable person would believe that this flag is anything but a symbol of division and white-supremacy.  It is not about ‘southern pride’, or ‘country living’. Flying it today makes the same statement as it did more than a century and a half ago: “The world is divided into ‘us’ and ‘them’, with ‘us’ on top — and we want to keep it that way.”

There is no room in our community of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound for such divisions.  Our fellow Black, Indigenous, Jewish, Muslim, Asian and LGBTQ2S citizens need to feel as safe and secure in our community as all of us. This flag is not a harmless image but, instead, a symbol of hatred and xenophobia; it cannot be tolerated.  Nor should we be complacent. Allowing symbols of racist ideology to go unchallenged only emboldens those who would spread white supremacist ideas.The Confederate flag on vehicles or homes is just one more way to target and intimidate. There should be no place in our public spaces for symbols of hate that lead to real world harm. 

We can learn from our neighbours to the south. Watching the targeted killings in Buffalo and beyond, we can learn that hatred, unchecked, can fester and grow.  If history tells us anything, it’s that it is up to all of us to call out racism when we see it.  And to make sure that Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound is the great place we know it can be for all its citizens.

Danielle Valiquette

Image: designed by DZKHALIL



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