By Naureen Rizvi, Ontario Regional Director
Casual bigotry is creeping into Ontario politics and that is a concern for our union.
Since the official Ontario election campaign began, Doug Ford has been tight-lipped about his opinions and refuses to share details on most of his party’s sparse platform.
But he wasn’t born yesterday, and neither was I.
Doug Ford’s past comments speak for him today. I am a firm believer that when someone tells you who they are and what they believe in, you should listen to them.
Doug Ford’s statements reveal his socially conservative values, and those of other PC candidates.
Ford has made it clear that he is the kind of person who defends homophobes, caters to the religious right, and dismisses the importance of public services that could save the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people in this province.
Join me and take action against homophobia and transphobia. We must put in the real work to stop Doug Ford and part of that work is voting on Thursday, June 7.
When given opportunities to denounce homophobia, Ford excuses it. Some of Ford’s supporters accosted a protester with a rainbow flag at an event organized by the Ford family and his dismissive response to this was, "You can’t show up to a Yankees game with a Red Sox hat on."
When Toronto was announced as the host of World Pride 2014, most members of the city council stood and cheered. Mayor Rob Ford refused to clap and his brother Doug Ford defended it saying that it would have been hypocritical to cheer for the festival.
Andrew Lawton, Ford’s hand-picked candidate in London-West once said that the pride flag would ‘tarnish’ London City Hall.
If my friends had said things like that, I would reach out and talk with them about the importance of supporting LGBTQ communities who face discrimination, hate and ongoing harassment. I would explain the history of pride, and how it has evolved in the face of profiling and targeting by politicians, something that the federal government just apologised for last year.
I would however not put them in charge of schools, hospitals and public services in Ontario and neither should you.
May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. This year, I am pledging to take action against homophobia and transphobia and I will act to ensure no politician sends our province backwards with hate. I will make my vote count to stop Doug Ford and I ask you to join me to make a difference in this election.
If Unifor members work together, we can make our votes count to continue to improve progressive policies that lift up the most vulnerable and counter inequality.