Sent via email Oct. 7, 2022
Mayors, municipal 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
Jennifer Neville (she/her)
Jill, here are my answers, thanks for the questions.
1. As you are aware, (along with several other members of council) I made overtures to change the Town's Resolution #11 and positive strides were made to make amendments to the Town's Resolution #11 which states that the Town will not make any proclamations in support of any groups, days, weeks or months for any organizations. Although our first attempt was unsuccessful, we have not allowed this to deter our efforts. This will be a priority once the new council is formed. A draft flag policy has already been presented to town staff for review. This proposed flag policy is similar to one used in Carleton Place. Staff will hopefully report back soon with their version which can then be voted on by council.
2. I was a huge supporter of getting the Petawawa EDI committee formed and ensuring that it was passed. I'm looking forward to getting the EDI committee staffed with volunteer members and members of council so they can begin providing an avenue for vulnerable and marginalized members of our community to have their voices and concerns heard. We are looking forward to hearing the recommendations brought forward by the EDI committee and incorporating these suggestions into the fabric of our town so that all members of our community feel supported, welcome, safe and free from discrimination.
3. Always open to hearing from all concerned groups in the community. As an educator for 30 years, I worked closely with members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community throughout my career to ensure inclusivity and safe spaces were provided. I would welcome the opportunity to learn more about Pflag Renfrew County and the resources and training they offer. A municipality's goal should be to create a community where everyone feels welcome and everyone feels that they belong.
I think it is very important that the Town of Petawawa fly the Pride flag during the month of June. To date, the Town has not flown the Pride flag because it is essentially a proclamation, and that would contravene the towns “No Proclamations” resolution.
The Towns "No Proclamations" resolution was passed in 1998, and reads:
“That the Council of the Town of Petawawa declines to declare any public proclamations save those which pertain to matters which are solely and completely within the immediate mandate of Council.”
I am not in favour of this resolution. The town should make proclamations in support of marginalized segments of our community. The "No Proclamations" policy was intended to keep the Town neutral and controversy free. I feel that it is akin to sticking ones head on the sand. The Town must step into the 21st century and abandon this policy. Many other towns and cities make proclamations, and they manage quite nicely. There is no end to the list of reasons detractors will give as to why making proclamations won't work. It's easy to come up with excuses to not do something. If you want to get something done, you'll find a way. If you don't want to do it, you blame the rules. In June of 2021, I voted to change these rules. Because it is a standing resolution, It required a two thirds vote to change. Four Councillors voted to send this resolution back to the discussion table for modifications or to be repealed. Five votes were required, so unfortunately, the resolution still stands.
Municipal government needs to support marginalized segments of society that have traditionally been wronged and discriminated against. 2SLGBTQ, Aboriginal Peoples, Women who suffer silently in violent environments, developmentally challenged people and many others. This discrimination is systemic. Over the years, elected officials have used the power of the state to discriminate against various groups of people, knowingly, and with intent. Police forces have been used aggressively, by elected governments, to further the ambitions of well seated people. This is wrong. If the Pride flag does not fly at the Petawawa municipal office in June of 2023, I will seriously question what I’m doing on council (if re-elected), and what the role of representation is.
There's an old saying:
"The sea of democracy is seldom without a storm"
Politicians ought to expect that things will be messy at times. That's the nature of the arena. To support marginalized groups in our society, I will:
• Fight for gender equity on boards and committees
• Support an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee
• Support efforts at reconciliation
• Support efforts to ensure equity in the workplace
I was interviewed a few times last year regarding support for marginalized communities. Links to the interviews are below.
CFRA - Ottawa at Work with Leslie Roberts
CBC - All in a Day with Alan Neal
CBC - All in a Day with Alan Neal (additional coverage)
I am an early supporter of the soon to be formed EDI committee in Petawawa. I have been consistent and vocal in my support for the 2SLGBTQ community, and will continue to be. My hope is that the EDI committee will make our community a friendly and welcoming place for all.
If elected, I will support PFLAG initiatives in the town, and will lobby fellow councillors to do so as well. Petawawa has really fallen behind the times in this area, and in the future, I want to see Petawawa take on a leadership role towards becoming a just society. A Town in which all residents are respected for who they are as individuals, and not judged as members of this or that social group.
100%. Absolutely I will. I feel that I’ve been doing some positive things, but there’s always more that can be done. This training could be provided to all members of the newly elected council.
1. Personally, I recognize and fully support each and every individual's right to be who they are or how they identify within the 2SLGBTQ+ community. All our citizens should feel accepted and safe within Petawawa. I feel unsettled with our current position around the flying of the pride flag during June. In my opinion, the spirit of resolution 11 established in 1998 was to set a policy in place to address temporary or special requests within our community and the council of the day wished to remain neutral on Public Proclamations. It is not a resolution aimed specifically to restrict individual expression of self or at the Pride movement, but an enactment that at the time addressed how to handle frequent and numerous requests to 'support' causes, events and activities. The resolution also resulted in the denial of raising a Military Family Appreciation flag or Support for Medical causes.
Do I believe the resolution is outdated? I most certainly do. A resolution conceived a 1/4 of a century ago definitely needs to be reviewed and updated to reflect the current culture of our population. There is a process to address this required change, and the Town of Petawawa residents that feel strongly about the issue, either supporting or against, the change will express their opinions at the ballot box. The nature of the resolution requires a 12 month waiting period before it can be reevaluated and reviewed, which will bring us to June 2023. I have the utmost respect for our community and they will demand that the right thing be done.
2. Thank you for sharing the information wrt the trend of individuals not feeling safe in Renfrew County communities. That is unacceptable. One of the benefits of the Petawawa community as a whole is that a fair number of our residents are transitional, typically arriving in Petawawa from other communities. They will, perhaps, bring with them a more progressive view. Tapping into local events as well as county-wide events is an excellent venue for the Pflag Renfrew County to welcome and inform members of our community about the concerns and to raise awareness of your group's commitment to ensuring our community is safe and welcoming to all citizens.
The Petawawa Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee is an excellent venue to open up the lines of communication and awareness within Petawawa and was formally recognized at the 15 Aug Town Council Meeting. Originally proposed by Ellen Wong-Gallant and Rebecca Conroy, it will ensure citizen engagement and advocacy with regards to inclusion. This committee will be an excellent resource for town leadership to ensure decisions are in line with community interests. There is always benefit when we take the time to gather information from our entire population.
If elected I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with your group with the goal of increasing awareness and acceptance of all of our citizens.
3. The opportunity to grow and develop the inclusion of all our residents by increasing my awareness and understanding is a commitment I am happy to make.
Please let me know if you have any more questions or comments.
If elected I will work to modernize the Town of Petawawa’s ban against public proclamations to allow for proclamations that promote inclusion and celebrate diversity. Recently the town voted against a proposal to fly the Pride flag. I want to live in a community where we recognize and celebrate the diversity of human experience. I support flying the Progress Pride Flag, which is maximally inclusive and signifies a commitment to further progress.
I would also like to see other initiatives such as Pride festivals and crosswalks that celebrate the diversity that exists in our community.
False information is no match for real people. If elected, I will work to communicate with groups who feel threatened by diversity and be sure that they are given the information they need to appreciate the benefits of inclusion. I would also increase opportunities for people to connect positively through community building, Pride festivals, flag raisings, and education campaigns.
I will commit to learn about 2SLGBTQ issues from 2SLGBTQ people, participate in safe space training, and build relationships with my local Pflag and Pride groups. I believe that we should always be learning, and I am always ready to challenge what I think I know about gender and sexuality.
These topics are vital. Thank you for the work that you do.
Candidate for Petawawa Town Council
Questions 1 - I fully support the amendment to our proclamation policy to enable our community to tangibly demonstrate that we are an equitable and inclusive community. This means proclaiming Pride month, disability awareness and Indigenous People - Truth and Reconciliation to name my top three. I am a proponent for establishing the Town's Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
Question 2 - I believe through education and awareness we can start the process of understanding, acceptance and support. All people in Petawawa must be represented, be equal and enjoy all the same opportunities. As far as anti hate speeches, elected officials must set the bar for our acceptance of all our citizens and we must be allies for 2SLGBTQ+. We must not only recognize what is being said but the effect of what is being said....I have recognized pride month by prominently placing the pride sign on my front lawn and by my actions of acceptance. I support the installation of the pride crosswalk in Petawawa and to our celebration and awareness events.
Question 3 - yes, yes, yes
We must be a modern Town - that means change and embracing our diversity because it is in and through our diversity that we are strong and resilient. I look forward to the development of our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee and the positive steps we will take on behalf of all people and especially our marginalized residents.
Theresa Sabourin (she, her)
Hello Jill and community,
Thanks for taking the time to send me these questions, I can say I’m not as knowledgeable as I could be about the 2SLGBTQ+ community but there is always room for growth and learning.
1.I totally support changing the flag resolution and would vote in favour of it.
2. I can understand how hurtful hate speech can be to people and it is very unfortunate. I think as much education and information people can receive on the repercussions this action has on peoples lives can go along way. To combat this I think continued acknowledgment and education to people who have little understanding about what is going on. The town has taken a step in the right direction with the EDI committee and hopefully we continue with that.
3. I would be open to attending a training session and to build relationships with the local community.
Petawawa is a great community to live in and I hope to make it as inclusive as possible.
I truly believe that the current by-law in Petawawa needs to be reviewed so that we can better understand the needs of our community. Petawawa should be inclusive of all of its citizens no matter their sexual oriantation, colour or creed.
I will work towards modernizing the current by-law so that we can achieve this goal in a responsible manner.
I thank you for your time.