Opinion

Editorial: Divisive events deserve scrutiny

Pride Week got off to an inauspicious start in Nanaimo.

Delegations came before city council Monday to ask that councillors apologize for a decision last month to cancel a leadership telecast at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre.

Council had made a motion not to allow events associated with “divisiveness, homophobia, or other expressions of hate” at public facilities.

We thought council overreached – the Leadercast conference was about leadership, and only indirectly linked to homophobia – but we admired councillors’ compassion and acceptance of minority rights.

City council certainly never asked his opinion, but Nanaimo-Alberni member of Parliament James Lunney felt obliged to weigh in and mailed a letter that was received at Monday’s meeting. The Conservative MP urges an apology to the Nanaimo Evangelical Fellowship church and Leadercast sponsors and organizers.

Some of the debate in council chambers last month was unfair and offensive to Christians and private apologies have already been made.

However, council should not apologize for its decision, nor should it rescind last month’s motion. Public events associated with divisiveness and hate should always be scrutinized. Councillors should exercise their veto carefully, but they should continue to have that power.

Lunney and others have presented hypothetical situations, worrying that Good Friday services will be cancelled in the future. Does anyone really believe that will happen? Until it does, this should be a non-issue. For our MP or anyone else to twist one isolated city council decision into an attack on the traditional definition of marriage, well, that just seems like homophobia.

Pride Week should remind us that we need to do better, and become a more accepting and inclusive city. It’s clear we’re not there yet.

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