Some members of council of the Township of Emo continue to demonstrate their hostility to LGBTQ2 inclusion and the municipality's equality and human rights obligations.
During a public meeting on Tuesday, September 13, 2022, Emo's council considered whether to adopt a "Declaration of Equality". The item appears at item 7.19 of the meeting agenda.
The resolution was introduced by two councillors and, based on their comments during the debate, was intended to help the community begin a process of healing. Councillors Lori-Ann Shortreed and Lincoln Dunn stated during the meeting that the declaration was intended to position the municipality as a place that is inclusive of all people, regardless of ethnic origin, creed, gender, sexual orientation and other grounds enumerated in the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Councillor Harrold Boven spoke at length in opposition to the proposed resolution, referencing various websites he had visited. Boven was joined in his opposition to the motion by Mayor Harold McQuaker, who made a statement after the vote. McQuaker and Boven both denied that the Council's previous decision to refuse to recognize Pride had caused harm in the community. When pressed by Councillor Shortreed, Councillor Boven could not appear to explain if his opposition to the Declaration of Equality was because it referred to LGBTQ2 people.
Councillor Warren Toles declared a conflict in the item at the outset of the discussion and left the meeting room, for unclear reasons. Curiously, Boven declared a conflict after debating the item at length, and then declined to vote. With 2 out of 5 members not voting, the resolution passed in a 2-1 vote with the support of Councillor Shortreed and Councillor Dunn.
An audio recording of the heated exchange is available at the below link:
In June 2020, Borderland Pride commenced an application in the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario against the municipality for its Council's refusal to provide a resolution in support of Pride Month. The resolution was defeated at two consecutive meetings by the votes of Mayor McQuaker, Councillor Boven, and Councillor Toles.
Mayor McQuaker has been acclaimed in the 2022 municipal election and Councillor Boven is running for re-election.
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)
Township of Emo spends $38K in legal fees rather than address LGBTQ2 discrimination (Media Release, July 13, 2022)
Borderland Pride surveys candidates for Emo council (Media Release, September 12, 2022)