- by Ryan Brown

Yesterday, my MPP voted to allow Charles McVety's Canada Christian College to grant BA and BSc degrees. You may have heard something about this in the news, but if you're confused, here's a rundown:

Charles McVety is homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, and racist. I don't use these words lightly in the case of individual people, but McVety is quintessentially all of these things.

He's claimed that gay people 'prey on children' and he was instrumental in the coordinated attack on the 2015 changes to the health and physical education curriculum which he claimed would 'teach homosexuality' to children. He claimed that Islam has a mandate to perform a 'hostile takeover' of Canada.

He was also instrumental in getting Doug Ford elected. Ford came into the PC leadership race and aligned himself with Tanya Granic Allen/Charles McVety-endorsed homophobic rhetoric against the HPE curriculum, and that helped him narrowly defeat Christine Elliott. McVety's evangelical influence played a role in this. Needless to say, Ford owed McVety a big one.

This week that came to pass as 52 Progressive Conservative MPPs, including Bill Walker, voted to turn McVety's evangelical Christian college into a full-fledged university with the capability of giving out Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees.

Bill Walker voted for this despite the calls from LGBTQ+ people, the National Council of Canadian Muslims, the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations and the faculties of multiple universities not to. He set aside the interests and safety of queer and trans folks to let his boss carry out a shameless political favour. He tarnished what it means to represent his constituents.

Or maybe he voted this way because it's what he genuinely believes is right. In this case, I'm not sure which is more cynical: believing that Bill Walker would toe the line even in a blatantly terrible and inequitable decision, or believing that Bill Walker believes someone with such hateful views should have so much power.

Either way, Walker chose to use his power yesterday to propagate - not tear down - hate, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, and racism. He used the power his constituents gave him to put some of them in danger. He sent a clear message on how much power he feels someone like Charles McVety should be given.

It's not enough to say you care about equality. It's not enough to say you don't support hatred. It's not enough to wear a pink shirt one day of the year. When you're in a position of power and you use it to amplify the voice of a bigot, your words are proven empty.

I won't forget this in 2022, and my call to action to my friends in Bruce-Grey Owen Sound is that you don't either.

Ryan Brown, Owen Sound's Youth Volunteer of 2019, is a Loran Scholar studying at McGill University.





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