I don’t always agree with my colleagues and that’s the nature of the beast that is politics. I try, though, to leave those disagreements where I feel they belong – in Council Chambers.
HOWEVER, when a colleague makes statements like the ones found here, something needs to be said.
This is not okay.
This is not acceptable behaviour.
These statements are divisive and exclude a great many people in our communities across Niagara.
We cannot govern Niagara effectively if people feel excluded or targeted.
Anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism exist in Niagara.
There has been an uptick in anti-Asian racism in Niagara.
Still more broadly than the groups I’ve mentioned, racism exists in Niagara.
Homophobia exists in Niagara.
Transphobia exists in Niagara.
Misogyny exists in Niagara.
Many, many forms of oppression exist in Niagara.
Councillor Bylsma (who is also the mayor of West Lincoln) doesn’t know “what they’re still fighting for.”
That’s easy, Councillor Bylsma. “They’re” still fighting for equity.
This is the main reason why – under the leadership of this term of Council – Niagara Region joined the Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities (the work of CIM will be resourced appropriately when we’ve come a bit further through the pandemic).
It is because of thinking like this that so many of us in the community work so hard to educate ourselves, listen, and do our best to represent the entire community.
I am sorry that I have a colleague who feels this way. Please know that these statements are not reflective of most of your Regional Council.