Oakville Community Association questioned over Drag Queen statements and links to PPC

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Published October 25, 2023 at 5:11 pm

A new community group in Oakville is under fire on its socials for alleged links to the alt-right People’s Party of Canada and for its public stance on Drag Queen Story Hour events at local libraries.

The Oakville Community Association was created in late 2022 with JD Meaney, who twice ran for the PPC, as one of its co-founders. The group’s Board of Directors was elected earlier this year, though the board’s exact makeup is not clear, with an administrator only saying that it is made up if representatives from all seven wards in the town.

“There have been some comments on social media that the People’s Party of Canada is behind the OCA. This is not factual and constitutes disinformation,” the spokesperson said, emphasizing that the People’s Party is “not behind the 0CA.”

“Each person has and is free to have their own political views just as all Town and Regional Councillors can. Municipal matters are non-partisan,” the statement continued. “We are simply an inclusive group of concerned citizens who volunteer our time and energy to actively participate in the democratic process, with a focus on municipal issues that affect our community. The OCA Directors will be hosting a meet and greet in the near future, and we hope that everyone can come.”

The Drag Queen issue drew far more attention from many of the group’s 600-plus members, with many voicing their displeasure on both Redditt and Facebook about being included in the OCA’s anti-trans views.

Two of the group’s board members spoke against Drag Queen Story Hour events at a recent Oakville Library Board meeting, with provocative phrases like “gender indoctrination,” “coerced gender-affirming care” and the “radical trans movement destroying the lives of so many of our young people” peppering their speeches.

Liz Galvin, who said the board of director’s stance on the divisive issue was “unanimous,” began her address with conciliatory words, saying she hoped the community could “come together” and “find a happy medium” on the matter, but also included sexually suggestive images in her presentation and said the OCA believed Drag Queen Story Hours “actively promotes gender ideology theory.”

“This belief,” she continued, “is at the heart of a dangerous movement that encourages children to take experimental hormones and possibly undergo radical sex assigned surgery.”

Resident Diane Cole responded on the group’s Facebook page, calling Drag Queens a “wedge issue used to rage farm and create division,” which prompted an answer from an administrator of the group that the OCA “at no time has indicated it opposes gender-affirming care as the presentation simply outlines the potential negative impacts of such care.”

Other residents, such as Jennifer K, said the words expressed by the OCA speakers at the Library Board meeting “clearly illustrate a bias against gender-affirming care and the transgender community. “

Natalie Sousa questioned the group’s transparency, noting they might be “selectively publishing content.”

“As a follower of this group, I’ve recently observed discussions that trouble me deeply. The removal of books from libraries and the expression of racist and transphobic opinions are not in alignment with my beliefs,” she said. “Let’s promote diverse and inclusive perspectives to foster a better understanding of the world we live in.”

The group’s strategic priorities, as outlined by Meaney in an op-ed piece in January, are to “educate the community and increase awareness of the role of municipal governments,” noting there was just a 28.3 per cent voter turnout in the recent municipal election. “More engagement is needed.”

Its interests include fiscal responsibility, environmental policy, infrastructure, increased flood risks, traffic congestion, library records, business development, council-to-community relationships, emergency services and public health.

Midtown Oakville proposal

The Association penned a letter to Ontario Premier Doug Ford in September, asking that his party roll back Bill 23 – the More Homes Built Faster Act. The legislation, the group believes, will lead to high densities and increased traffic in neighbourhoods like the Midtown community, the subject of a public meeting Wednesday evening.

The Midtown proposal, the letter stated, will result in 50-60 storey high rises that “do not fit within the character of Oakville.”

The OCA also held a ‘Conservative Thursday’ event October 12 with the theme ‘Women in Politics’ with Conservative MPs Melissa Lantsman (Thornhill) and Anita Roberts (King-Vaughan) and Senator Salma Ataullahjan (who was appointed by Stephen Harper in 2010) as guest speakers.

Members will get an opportunity to have their voices heard in early 2024 at the Oakville Community Association’s Annual General Meeting.

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