Truth and Reconciliation

At last evening’s Council meeting, Niagara Regional Council passed three motions that take steps (small, though they may be) toward Truth and Reconciliation with our Indigenous friends, neighbours, relatives, and communities.

I am pleased that this Council passed the following three items/motions unanimously (the full text of which are below the video):

Corporate Services Committee Minute Item No. 5.5
CSC-C 27-2021 – Motion Respecting National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

CL-C 71-2021
Niagara Region’s Corporate Day for Learning and Reflection on September 30, 2021

CAO 15-2021
Updated Land Acknowledgement Statements

You can watch the video of the meeting here. The discussion (from my changes to the order of the agenda and the Chair’s remarks to the passing of the items/motions) about the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and the two items related to it begins at: 00:11:45 and ends at 00:38:45.


Open Letter regarding Abuse and Harassment

I would like very much for this to be the last time that I have to speak about this issue at all, because I would like very much for this behaviour to end. But we do have to have these conversations, because we know that allowing it to continue whilst we are quiet about it often leads to much worse, including physical violence. (more…)

“They’re” fighting for equity…still

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.