Borderland Pride has issued a survey questionnaire to the 6 first-time candidates for Emo municipal council. The short survey canvasses the candidates' views on the municipality's legal dispute over the current council's 2020 decision to refuse to recognize Pride Month. The survey also seeks general comments from the candidates on their views about Pride and LGBTQ2 inclusion in the municipality.
The covering letter for the survey congratulates the candidates for letting their names stand in the 2022 municipal election and specifies that Borderland Pride is reaching out in hopes of building a more positive relationship with the new council. It goes on to provides information about the organization's ongoing human rights claims against the municipality resulting council's May 2020 decision - in a 3-2 vote - not to recognize Pride Month.
The Township of Emo has spent over $38,000 on legal fees in the ongoing discrimination suit, despite having only filed a brief response to the allegations. That $38,000 sum is, in fact, more than the amount sought in Borderland Pride's entire claim. In every known case since the 1990s where a municipal council or official has refused to grand a Pride resolution or proclamation, the complainant has been successful at the Tribunal. Even if the municipality were successful in the litigation, cost awards are not granted at the Tribunal.
Borderland Pride's letter reminds the candidates that the municipality's position on Pride and LGBTQ2 inclusion has been a significant and ongoing matter of public interest and encourages them to take part in the survey and share their views. The letter commits to publish all responses that are received by October 7, 2022 and to identify those candidates that fail to respond by that deadline.
The six new candidates for Emo's council who were sent the questionnaire are Geoffrey Pearce, Lisa Teeple, Gerald Wieringa, Phil Whatley, Frank Szeder Jr., and Russ Fortier.
The views of the current council members are known on these issues. Of the incumbents, Mayor Harold McQuaker (who was acclaimed in this year's election), Councillor Harrold Boven voted against the 2020 resolution to recognize Pride Month, and Councillor Lori-Ann Shortreed voted in support of the resolution. Of those members of the current council not seeking re-election, Councillor Warren Toles was opposed to the Pride resolution and Councillor Lincoln Dunn voted in support.
The letter send to the new candidates and the questionnaire can be viewed here.
Emo town council rejects Pride proclamation (Media Release, May 12, 2020)
Emo council sticks with discriminatory resolution (Media Release, May 26, 2020)
Discrimination complaint filed over municipal refusal to recognize Pride (Media Release, June 22, 2020)