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Your Voice: Ron Cannan has perpetuated harmful stereotypes and injected religion into politics

All letters to the editor published by KelownaNow reflect only the opinions of the readers who submit them, and not necessarily those of KelownaNow or its staff. Letters can be submitted to news@kelownanow.com


This letter to the editor is in response to a column written by City of Kelowna councillor Ron Cannan. Wilbur Turner is a Kelowna-based writer and the founder of 2SLGBTQ+ organization Advocacy Canada.

Dear Councillor Cannan,

As we step into the new year, your predictions for 2024 offer your view of various issues facing our world, nation and local community. While your opinions cover a range of topics, I feel compelled to address some of your statements.

It is both disheartening and concerning to see religious beliefs injected into political discussions, especially when those discussions include matters affecting marginalized communities such as the 2SLGBTQ population.

As a Canadian politician, it is essential to uphold the principles of inclusivity, diversity, and respect for human rights. Engaging in proselytizing by intertwining personal religious beliefs with political commentary can be damaging, perpetuating harmful stereotypes and fostering an environment where discrimination and prejudice may thrive.

Elected officials are entrusted with the responsibility of representing all citizens, irrespective of whether they share the same personal beliefs.

It is worth highlighting the casual use of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's first name throughout your predictions, which may inadvertently diminish the formal respect owed to the office he holds. Political discourse should maintain a level of decorum, recognizing the importance of addressing leaders with the appropriate titles.

Furthermore, insinuating and derogatory remarks about the relationship between Prime Minister Trudeau and the NDP leader, Jagmeet Singh, not only perpetuates harmful stereotypes but also detracts from the substantive issues at hand. Such comments undermine the gravity of political discussions and divert attention from the core responsibilities of our elected officials to serve the public and promote a fair and inclusive society.

<who> Photo credit: Wax Pencil Imagery/Wilbur Turner </who> Advocate and writer Wilbur Turner.

Turning our attention to 2SLGBTQ rights, it is imperative to acknowledge the progress made in recent years, thanks to the efforts of activists, policymakers, and the community itself. Canada has taken significant strides towards inclusivity, recognizing and protecting the rights of the 2SLGBTQ community.

However, your predictions hint at potential challenges ahead, particularly in the realm of education policies and appear to encourage undermining the work of public education professionals in how they support 2SLGBTQ youth.

Politicizing the support of vulnerable youth only perpetuates further harm and has lasting consequences. As a society we realize that public education needs to reflect the reality of the world around us, and that includes the existence of 2SLGBTQ people of all ages and their representation in our community.

The 2SLGBTQ community has historically faced discrimination and marginalization, and it is crucial that our political leaders actively work towards fostering an environment of acceptance and equality. Statements that undermine the struggles and experiences of this community are not in line with the values of a nation that prides itself on diversity and respect for all.

As an advocate for 2SLGBTQ rights, I urge you to reconsider the language and sentiments expressed in your predictions.

By promoting understanding, empathy and unbiased policymaking, we can work towards building a more inclusive and accepting society. Let us embrace the diversity that defines Canada and ensure that the rights and dignity of every citizen, regardless of their background, are protected and celebrated.


Sincerely,
Wilbur Turner



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