Doug Ford, On­tario’s LGBTQ com­mu­nity gains an enemy

The Amherst News - - CLASSIFIEDS - Ger­ard Veld­hoven Ger­ard Veld­hoven is a for­mer Amherst res­i­dent who is a long­time ac­tivist for the les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual and trans­gen­der com­mu­nity. His col­umn ap­pears weekly in the Amherst News. Com­ments and in­for­ma­tion: lgbt­con­nec­tion­

The new Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive Party leader in On­tario, Doug Ford, has made it quite clear on many oc­ca­sions where he stands on LGBTQ is­sues.

A few years ago he was the sole Toronto coun­cil­lor to vote against es­tab­lish­ing a homeless shel­ter for young gay men. He also sup­ported his brother, the late Mayor Rob Ford, in the lat­ter’s re­fusal to par­tic­i­pate in, or sup­port Pride ac­tiv­i­ties.

In a re­cent col­umn, I re­ferred to the United States evan­gel­i­cal move­ment and their op­po­si­tion to LGBTQ equal­ity, out­right ha­tred, and con­tempt for this sec­tion of Amer­i­can so­ci­ety. In Canada, we are not im­mune in such think­ing and con­se­quent bla­tant dis­crim­i­na­tion.

Doug Ford gained the en­dorse­ment from two pas­tors with a his­tory of preach­ing hate filled with ho­mo­pho­bia and anti-Semitism.

Re­fer­ring to Ford as a “faith­ful man,” they have no qualms about sup­port­ing a man who plainly rel­ishes his dis­dain for the LGBTQ com­mu­nity.

Charles McVety, who is pres­i­dent of the Canada Chris­tian Col­lege, and a for­mer TV Evan­ge­list, was re­moved from the air fol­low­ing com­plaints that he made “dis­crim­i­na­tory com­ments.” The Cana­dian Broad­cast Stan­dards Coun­cil ruled that McVety vi­o­lated codes by say­ing “dis­torted facts” and con­tribut­ing “abu­sive com­ments about ho­mo­sex­u­als,” and specif­i­cally “sug­gest­ing that ho­mo­sex­u­als prey on chil­dren.”

He was also head of the In­sti­tute for Cana­dian Val­ues, a think tank that tar­gets the LGBTQ com­mu­nity.

Paul Mel­nichek is an­other Ford sup­porter and anti-LGBTQ. A very wealthy Cana­dian evan­ge­list, he also has a well-doc­u­mented ha­tred for Jew­ish peo­ple. Ford has sur­rounded him­self with the dis­crim­i­nat­ing re­li­gious right and if he wins the pro­vin­cial elec­tion, On­tar­i­ans will be faced with a solid in­crease in dis­crim­i­nat­ing ac­tion by Doug Ford. He has al­ready promised to re­move sex ed­u­ca­tion from the school cur­ricu­lum and just may re­turn the prov­ince with an­tiabor­tion laws. Time will re­veal re­al­ity.

We live in a world where we can­not take any­thing, or any­one, for granted. What­ever lurks in a per­son’s mind may not be re­vealed un­til the time is right for that per­son to come clean, so to speak.

What­ever is on Doug Ford’s mind will come to light, but we do know that he gladly ac­cepted the sup­port of the evan­gel­i­cal com­mu­nity and that group is well known for op­pos­ing LGBTQ rights and equal­ity, and in­deed the ex­is­tence of mem­bers of that sec­tion of our so­ci­ety. We are reg­u­larly ex­posed to dis­crim­i­na­tion and one may be­lieve that huge steps have en­gulfed the LGBTQ com­mu­nity, and all other mi­nor­ity groups within our so­ci­ety.

The moves are at best baby steps and will con­tinue on that path. Dis­crim­i­na­tion will not end any time soon.

We live in a world where lead­ers wage war, where peo­ple are ex­ter­mi­nated by bombs and other means, chased from their homes by those who have no re­gard for hu­man life, and where those who are deemed of lesser hu­man qual­i­ties en­dure dis­crim­i­na­tion.

The light at the end of the tun­nel is dim at best.

Do we just give up and cease to strug­gle? No, that is not an op­tion, cer­tainly not for mil­lions who con­tinue the fight for equal­ity.

We may have lead­ers who care less about present or fu­ture gen­er­a­tions, but it is up to each of us to vote against the Don­ald Trumps or the Doug Fords of this world, thereby mak­ing steps to elim­i­nate pos­si­bil­i­ties a re­al­ity.

We are part of the 7.5 bil­lion who oc­cupy the globe, so the work is ar­du­ous. Equal treat­ment, equal op­por­tu­nity and equal­ity in all its forms are ours to ob­tain.

Af­ter all, equal rights are hu­man rights.

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