Regional council passes motion to affirm stance against hate
Region of Waterloo council passed an impromptu motion to assert their opposition to hate and discrimination.
A delegate at Wednesday’s meeting, Benjamin Gorodetsky, asked regional council to condemn the by-law passed in the Township of Norwich Tuesday. The by-law governs the type of flags and banners that can be flown on township property, and does not include progress flags as one of the many exceptions.
“About a year ago, my kid, out of nowhere while sitting in a waiting room, turned to my wife and said ‘you think I’m a boy, but I’m not.’ This led to a series of conversations and questions,” said Gorodetsky.
“With that as my baggage and context, I wanted to say that I am deeply troubled by the institutionalized hate and bigotry so close to our home in Norwich. The township government, steered by church influence, is actively trying to erase the belonging and safety that so many generations have fought for. Generations of pride activists who were terrorized, beaten and killed so that my child could grow up in a world that doesn’t actively hate them.”
Gorodetsky continued, requesting that council make a public statement.
“Our children, and my child in particular, must see our regional government take a stand against hate and firmly choose their lives. It’s not enough to do our own thing and ignore Norwich. If you see something, say something. That’s what we teach young people. So let’s put that into practice, and say something to condemn the laws that seek to erase pride.”
After the 3-2 vote in favour of the motion to pass the flag bylaw, Ward 2 Councillor Alisha Stubbs immediately resigned. In her resignation, minutes before the meeting adjourned, Stubbs told Mayor Jim Palmer and her former colleagues that she refused to participate in the “blatant discrimination.” Gorodetsky gave regional council that piece of information in his delegation.
Regional Councillor Sue Foxton was the first to respond to Gorodetzky, expressing her desire to put forward the motion to affirm the region’s stance. With help from other Regional Councillors Dorothy McCabe, Colleen James and Chantal Huinink, the motion was amended to include all equity-deserving groups.
Councillor Kari Williams was also responsible for the last part of the motion. It will be forwarded to area municipalities so that they can assure their citizens that their level of government also stands with equity-deserving groups.
The region has a paraphrased version of the motion on their website:
Regional Council has passed a motion opposing hate and prejudice in all its forms. Council reiterated that the Region is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion, and opposes any form of racism and discrimination that undermines the dignity and rights of all residents, including2SLGBTQIA+ individuals and persons with disabilities. Council also encouraged all municipalities to stand against hate in all its forms and directed that the resolution be forwarded to all area municipalities and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.