Two groups on opposite sides on the issue of sex education in public schools gathered at the Civic Centre Saturday.
The local Stop the War on Children rally was one of several held across Canada yesterday.
Members and supporters of the LGTBQ community were also present, as they were at a similar protest on Civic Centre grounds in September. All told, the event drew a little over 100 attendees.
Peace and cooler heads prevailed at Saturday’s event, whereas the September protest became a little heated. City Police and OPP were on site in case there were any flare-ups. The two groups were separated by police barricades.
Organizer, Arnold Heino had choice words for Sault Ste. Marie Mayor, Matthew Shoemaker, who was invited to attend but didn’t. Watch Video for his comments
Protesters oppose the federal government’s 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan, launched in August, 2022. They call the plan a form of indoctrination and take exception to content they deem inappropriate.
“We are not against the gay community at all,” said organizer Arnold Haino, told the gathering. “We are against the provincial and federal government, and local government, telling us what to do with our kids. They have no right to tell us what to do with our kids.
Heino used an example of a babysitter overstepping their responsibilities.
“What if you came home and that babysitter said I taught your child how to masturbate? What would you do? This is the same thing that the government is doing. And yet, nobody is standing up. The problem is, everybody wants to be silent.”
Over on the LGTBQ side, there was singing and dancing.
LGTBQ member Sarah Whalen said it’s important the gay community turn out and support each other.
“The reason I’m here today is because our community needs to come together to see that we all have a fundamental right to exist. That’s all we’re asking for. The humans today speaking on the other side are saying that we shouldn’t be talked about, we should be hidden. And that really, we shouldn’t exist and their children shouldn’t be exposed to that.”