Madawaska Valley Council will receive a delegation from some residents at Tuesday’s Council in Committee meeting who disagree with Council’s decision to display the Pride flag this month on the new digital sign at the Paul J. Yakabuski Community Centre in Barry’s Bay. MV Council voted in favour of the display at the May Regular Council meeting. Spokespersons Noah Kluke and Mark Westen will present Council with a Petition containing 497 signature (The Current spotted some duplications) and 35 letters. Above image: Facebook/Renfrew County Catholic District School Board
Wording of the Petition
“We the citizens of Madawaska Valley Township are disturbed with the MVT Council for designating June as “Pride Month” in the municipality and for authorizing the “Pride Flag” to be displayed on the prominent municipal electronic sign during this time, without any opportunity for opposing views. In justice, we ask that the council rescind this controversial decision and provide an opportunity for community input.”
Examination of the names on the Petition unsurprisingly shows a strong representation from the Seat of Wisdom College community and their supporters. Some Petition signatories also wrote letters to Council to explain their views. The majority were against display of the Pride flag, but the reasons for this view included the wish for prior consultation with community members and a belief that no single group in the community should be celebrated to the exclusion of other (religious) groups. Some of the letters contained references to extremist propaganda and some included hate speech.
Pride Month in Renfrew County
MV is not alone among municipalities in flying the Pride flag.
- At their May 2 Council meeting, the Council of Killaloe Hagarty Richards voted in favour of flying the Pride flag during June.
- The City of Pembroke has declared June 1-4 as Pride Week and “River of Rainbow Pride” celebrations in the town will continue during June.
- Petawawa Town Council overturned its Resolution 11, a rule established in 1998 that stopped the town from making any public proclamation, and announced it will fly the Pride flag for the first time this month.
- Renfrew Town Council has flown the Pride flag for the last few years and has now given its blessing to complete the Rainbow sidewalk painting outside the Renfrew Public Library on Railway Road. The project was begun last year but not completed.
The County’s school boards are also participating:
- RCDSB: The Renfrew County District School Board states it “is committed to identifying and eliminating all forms of discrimination and removing barriers to success for students, staff and school communities, regardless of race, ethnicity, citizenship, sexual orientation, gender or faith identity.”
- RCCDSB: The Renfrew County Catholic District School Board pronounces: “June is Pride month, With Pride, we affirm that everyone belongs at RCCDSB. On the theme of Safe and Inclusive Schools, RCCDSB displays the Pride flag on its Twitter feed and states: “A safe, inclusive and accepting school environment is essential for all.”
The federal and provincial governments both support Pride month and fly the Pride flag.
It remains to be seen how MV Council will deal with this delegation at Tuesday’s meeting. Residents can attend the meeting at the Council Chambers, 85 Bay Street, Barry’s Bay or view the live stream video for the June 6 meeting (in real time or later) on the Township’s YouTube Channel. LINK: https://www.youtube.com/@madawaskavalley8332/streams
Editor’s Note: In view of MV Council’s decision to uphold its Resolution, comments have been closed for this article.