Cross-country protest, counter-protest regarding teaching of gender ideology in schools planned for this week. Photo credit: Getty Images
This is going to be one interesting week. Across Canada, opponents of radical gender ideology in our public school systems have organized a so-called “1 Million March for Children”. The key person behind this march is a Muslim-Canadian businessman named Kamel El-Cheikh, but the march will involve people of all religious backgrounds and others who support strengthening parental rights and a return of school curricula to the basics of education such as literacy, numeracy, problem-solving, science, etc. The organizers are also planning a walkout by students on the same day, and suggesting that even if people are not able to attend the march they could keep their children out of school for the day as a protest. The marches are planned in many Canadian cities – 22 in Ontario alone – to begin at 9am in the time zone of the region involved.
It has been known for some time that this march was being planned, and now opposition demonstrations are being planned by various LGBTQ groups, leftist organizations and unions. Over the weekend, a recording of a secret meeting among these groups organized by various unions was leaked and described some of the tactics these groups plan to use to protest the 1 Million March for Children. The fact that the recording was leaked publicly would suggest not all of the participants were on board with what these groups are doing.
They are couching their opposition in terms of hate, claiming that this march has nothing to do with protecting children but rather is a manifestation of hate by the “far right” against LGBTQ communities and gender ideology in schools. During the leaked zoom call, the leftists stated that they must mount a very strong response to the march so that more thinking of this kind does not take root in Canada. They plan “rapid response teams” to confront and combat the so-called hate, and will be armed with petitions ready to distribute, placards, signs and the usual protest paraphernalia.
Some of the tactics the anti-march crowd are advised to use cited in the leaked call include getting to the various locations where the march is planned earlier than the 9am starting time so they can get a jump on marchers and be first to speak to media covering the events. They also recommend the wearing of masks to hide people’s identities. Someone stated during the call that this kind of large, organized march had not yet taken place in Canada, and compared it to the Freedom Convoy of last February.
After hearing the union groups’ plans, organizer El-Cheikh sent out a video stating that if the unions and others attempt to disrupt this march, he will ensure that in future every Pride parade or other similar event will be protested by him and his supporters. He said that his group had left the Pride parades alone in the past, and that his march deserved the same courtesy. Although both sides claim to want a peaceful event, the escalating tone of comments by the two sides suggest peace is unlikely.
It is always interesting to hear from the left, which protests frequently about a wide range of issues, yet doesn’t seem to think anyone else has the right to do so. The other infuriating element is that most of the groups, if not all, that are opposing the parents’ march are funded by our tax dollars. This includes groups like Egale, which launches legal challenges, conducts research on LGBTQ issues and does public education outreach. Egale receives about $2 million from the federal government, and more from various provinces, including Ontario. It is also a charity, which should not be permitted considering it is effectively a political organization. There are other not-for-profits and charities involved in this counter-protest, virtually all of which are funded by our tax dollars. The current federal government has been especially generous to these third-party groups and their numbers along with the tax dollars they consume have increased dramatically under Trudeau.
In the case of the unions involved in this counter-protest, the majority are public sector unions, therefore fully funded by tax dollars. It is truly disgraceful that these unions are using Canadians’ tax dollars against them in this way. In recent years, unions have gone far beyond their supposed role of advocating on behalf of their members and are now social justice warriors promoting what is essentially a Marxist vision for Canada. There is no way billions of our tax monies should be permitted to be used in this manner. Canada has some of the most generous treatment of unions in the world, with dues forced by law and zero requirement for unions to be accountably to their members – let alone the taxpayers that are forced to finance them. As a result, unions have lots of money to fund these causes that most Canadians do not support. This is a reality that needs to be changed.
Teachers’ unions are also very involved in this cause, although there are also many teachers who are supporting the Million March as they agree extreme gender issues have no place in the classroom. In a sense, the teachers and unions supporting the gender identity teachings have only themselves to blame for the backlash, as these concepts were often introduced in schools to very young children in a secretive way, without consultation with parents or anyone else.
The battle lines are drawn. The fact that a number of provinces have begun to legislate that parents must be informed about any gender transition tendencies their children exhibit in school has escalated and brought this conflict into the open. Many parents are still not well-informed about what is going on in their children’s schools, but hopefully they will become engaged now that the issue is more public and high-profile events like the Million March are taking place. This week will see the start of a serious backlash against the forces of “woke” that are penetrating so many elements of our lives, our governments and our institutions. It surely won’t be the end of it.
She has published numerous articles in journals, magazines & other media on issues such as free trade, finance, entrepreneurship & women business owners. Ms. Swift is a past President of the Empire Club of Canada, a former Director of the CD Howe Institute, the Canadian Youth Business Foundation, SOS Children’s Villages, past President of the International Small Business Congress and current Director of the Fraser Institute. She was cited in 2003 & 2012 as one of the most powerful women in Canada by the Women’s Executive Network & is a recipient of the Queen’s Silver & Gold Jubilee medals.