Pembroke Candidate Questionnaire
Sent via email Oct. 6, 2022
Dear Candidates and Acclaimed Candidates,
Mayors, councillors and school trustees have the power to enact policies and programs that create a safe and inclusive community: A place where everyone feels welcome to live, work, and visit.
Sadly, this is often not the case for Two Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans people:
Pflag Renfrew County (an official chapter of Pflag Canada) offers peer support and resources for 2SLGBTQ+ people, along with family members and others who wish to grow in their understanding and allyship.
We invite you to share your views on 2SLGBTQ issues by responding to the questions below. We’ll share your answers with our members and on our website at www.pflagrenfrewcounty.ca.
Jill Holroyd (she/her)
Pflag Renfrew County
Jamie Hawes (he/him)
Data sources: Statistics Canada, Egale Canada, Homeless Hub, Canadian Medical Association Journal
Jane Wood: Pembroke
1. I am extremely supportive of all these initiatives and think we must look for other ways to demonstrate that anti-2SLGBTQ are not only discouraged but also not tolerated. I am a proud supporter of pride initiates and always do my part to provide safe and inclusive spaces for all members of this community. I will continue to do this regardless of the election outcome. I will continue to promote awareness, education and work towards Pembroke becoming an inclusive community.
2. I believe in accountability. We must start holding people responsible for their inappropriate and dangerous behaviours. A city council must protect all members of their community especially those most vulnerable. We have to take deliberate action to demonstrate that we do not tolerate this behaviour and city council must set the example for this.
We also have to create more overtly safe spaces for the 2SLGBTQ community. More places like Studio Dreamshare, psychotherapist, healthcare providers that can hold space for the needs of this community. We have to train individuals to address the cultural needs of 2SLGBTQ individuals and that should start with the city. We also need a space to just listen to hear about the needs and the experiences of individuals before we can move anything forward.
3. This question nests into the response from the previous question. I absolutely will and am committed to all pride initiatives. I will continue to provide a healthcare setting that is safe and inclusive, I will continue to hold space to listen, I will continue to educate myself and participate in events and build relationships with the Pflag and Pride groups.
Patricia Lafreniere: Pembroke
1. Yes I will support any form of education for the public in terms of events etc. I do not attend very many events due to the fact that my family life is very busy. I may attend if my schedule permits but will certainly support.
2. I think that changing the opinion of generations is one that takes more education. Stigma attached to how one identifies exists everywhere and with continuous education in a safe space for others who do not understand what each category of SELF means should continue.
3. I welcome those opportunities.
Dorian Pearce: Pembroke
As the only openly 2SLGBTQ+ candidate in the Pembroke election, I will definitely continue to attend, support, and participate in Pride-related events and activities. In addition to my participation in these activities, I have also been involved in the planning of many of them, especially for youth. I had the privilege of being the program coordinator for the Rainbow Art Club program, which saw dozens of 2SLGBTQ+ youth access art lessons and mentoring from 2SLGBTQ+ adults.
This is personal to me, not only as a Queer person myself, but as a mentor to many local 2SLGBTQ+ youths. Anti-2SLGBTQ+ language happens often in the Valley – Just last week, I was in a restaurant in a nearby town and at the table next to me there were a couple of people complaining that Pembroke now raised the pride flag every June for pride month saying that they would hate to see that happen in their community.
As City Councillor, I will ensure that all decisions I make include an equity lens. One key component of the Team Forward platform is to develop pathways for under-represented members of the community to access leadership positions within the City of Pembroke,
including political roles and management. This includes committee positions - The diversity committee shouldn’t be the only diverse committee. In my opinion, more diverse leadership will lead to better decisions.
Absolutely. I have and will continue to attend these types of training. I believe that councillors should always be learning more, so we can make better decisions. I also hope to also bring that voice to the council table, to encourage other councillors to learn and attend Pride events.
Chela Breckon: Pembroke
Symbols of a welcoming and safe community are essential to moving Pembroke forward. I actively support the creation and display of these symbols in my daily life as a member of the 2SLGBTQ+ community and supporter of diversity broadly. I have sponsored through my corporation a stripe on the sidewalk every year and I have added support both financially and in my time and effort to Pride activities. I also ensure my space at the firm’s HQ downtown is inclusive and welcoming to all. We display the pride signage year-round and we have invested in developing our space with key moments of inclusion - gender neutral washrooms and inclusion training for all of our staff, as examples. As a councillor, my values and commitment to this will not change. In fact, I will be able to contribute to helping advance the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Action Plan that will be prepared in time for this upcoming term. Our firm, With Chela Inc., has the great honour of building this plan working with community and we must take action on its recommendations.
Firstly, I’d like to say that the way you’ve worded this question is exactly how I feel about this issue. Dangerous. We cannot allow our position of public office to be the place to spread misinformation and harmful remarks about a community we do not identify with, have not been educated in, or have not taken the time to speak with. I will take a firm stance at the Council table to call anyone to account on their hurtful remarks should this occur. We need to stand up and be OK with having difficult conversations with our colleagues and calling them to account. We can no longer accept Council members showing up to meetings with no education on the issues nor sense of lived experiences and use that platform to ask the questions they should have asked of themselves prior to coming to the meeting. It is no longer acceptable in any position of leadership to be ignorant to this. It’s harmful and our people deserve better. We have to put it all on the line for folks who feel unsafe. It’s just common sense - we’d do this exact thing to protect our children and people in any other issue of physical safety. Why is this one, which compromises physical, psychological, and emotional safety, being allowed to continue? Not OK.
I am also committed to spreading this culture of accountability in the community and the media. Our local media is actively contributing to this problem and is not even balancing the conversation or commentary, let alone standing firmly to reject stories that cause harm. We can also do better on social media to protect our platforms from being a source of misinformation and hatred.
I am of a passionate heart and firm mind on this issue overall. This narrative HAS to change. I am deeply committed and know how we can. It means listening. Learning. Taking stories of harm and oppression at face value that we cannot live. And we need to put a plug in anything that challenges the truth of what people are actually experiencing here.
My commitment to this has been in place for much longer than this campaign. And I am not interested in backing off, rather ramping up. I will commit to developing trusting relationships with my community and build an understanding, as far as my human limitations can, to the issues of importance and why. I will always take a seat of learning and listening to such key human realities. I will also commit to being a formidable advocate for these issues and help to advance equity and belonging through all of my leadership and community roles - and living my identity.
Andrew Clark: Pembroke
1: If this is a proven effective solution as you say it is then sure!
2: As a representative of the public I would look to an SME in this area for advice and a plan that has worked for other similar municipalities.
3: yes for sure! knowledge is power!
Brian Abdallah: Pembroke
Yes. I have participated in Pride-related events before and will continue to do so. I participated proudly in the Pride walk this past year and prior to COVID and will continue to participate. As a PBIA board member and city council member, I fully supported the Pride cross walk downtown. I also have the Pride banner on our lawn during Pride month and kept it up after that.
As a member of the Pembroke Public Library board, I advocated for the Drag Queen Story Hour, while there was false information and a lack of knowledge about the actual event. As an Ontario Certified Teacher, I read the books that were being shared with the children and gave full approval to the CAO of the Library.
I will continue to call out hate speech, false information, racism when I see it. I will continue to advocate for the continuation of the Diversity Advisory committee to City Council.
As an educator I take part in mandatory training on diversity, inclusion, and racism. I will also commit to take part in any available safe space training. I personally always reach out to PFLAG and Pride group members when I meet them.
My campaign theme/message is “Building a Community For Everyone.” That means we are all equal and deserve a community that accepts everyone. Our local, provincial, national and world community.
Please contact me at 613-312-6789 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to personally speak with me or have any questions or need more information.
Thank you for allowing me this opportunity.
Karen Walsh: Pembroke
Thank you for reaching out!
1. Of course! I support and will happily participate in pride related events. We are all unique and different which is what makes us human. We need to learn or rather unlearn bias’ that are negative to any human being. “We should indeed keep calm in the face of difference, and live our lives in a state of inclusion and wonder at the diversity of humanity” George Takei
2. Sadly there is lots of work to do… as I said we must unlearn our imbedded intolerance of our differences… I would support education and understanding of issues that face the 2SLGBTQ community. “This world would be a whole lot better if we just made an effort to be less horrible to one another” Elliott Page
3. I am absolutely committed to learning about issues that concern the 2SLGTBQ community. It’s our community, our human community. “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries, without them humanity cannot survive” Dalai Lama
Please feel free to keep in touch!
Things can’t change if they don’t change
Stacy Taylor: Pembroke
Both as a community member and a business owner (Little Things Canning Company)I have regularly supported PFLAG and PRIDE events in Pembroke. From sponsoring and supporting the pride festivals over the years, to attending the pride parade and events with my family and in-store fundraising. I have also suggested to and supported my teenager to volunteer in the past pride events. As a parent I think that it's important to teach my children as they grow into adults that inclusivity is important and we actively have those conversations in our home.
My business does have the PRIDE and PFLAG signs in the window year round not just in June, we are a safe space and we will continue to support both organizations and the 2SLBGTQ community regardless of the outcome of the election. As the sitting vice chair of the downtown PBIA, I was a part of the board that did support the downtown crosswalk being put into place. I fully supported that initiative and would continue to do so.
I feel that it is important to maintain an open dialog with both PFLAG and PRIDE regarding these issues. The police services board should also be involved in order to change the narrative and help support all of those in our community. Education is key and we as a community need to ensure that correct information is being shared to support our 2SLBGTQ youth and adults.
Absolutely! As previously stated, I feel that education is key and this is an amazing initiative that you have brought forward to offer to help educate those in our community who may not quite understand everything that they need to in order to be accepting and inclusive of all of our community members.
Troy Purcell: Pembroke
Dan Callaghan: Pembroke
Good afternoon, Jill
Let me be perfectly clear I have spent my entire life doing my very best to ensure that we are excepting and respectful of each other no matter your age your status in life, your sexual orientation your cultural background or if you have a physical or intellectual disability.
As I have stated more than once publicly it is paramount that we strive to be more accepting and inclusive of everyone in our community, its our diversity that that makes for a safe, and much for fulfilling community.
I would be more than pleased to attend any all initiatives and events.
I don't have to be elected to ensure that as I stated before I am intolerant of hatred , racism or bigotry .
I have lived my past 69 years living by this code.
Ian Kuehl: Pembroke
Yours very truly,