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LETTER: Where is the 'P' in Progressive Conservative?

Local MPPs have not 'lived up to their promises to be for the people'
2018-07-19 Amyot 5 RB
Brandon Rheal Amyot is shown in this file photo from July 2018 at Meridian Place in downtown Barrie. Raymond Bowe/BarrieToday

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I remember meeting with Jill Dunlop before Doug Ford became the leader of the Ontario PCs.

We had a productive conversation about issues facing the LGBTQ2+ community in Simcoe County and Ontario, and what she as a potential member of government could do to lift our community up.

It seemed to me that she would continue the legacy of former Simcoe North MPP Garfield Dunlop, who famously defended the 2015 health and physical education curriculum.

Then, when the government announced its repeal of the curriculum, our community reached out to local MPPs to help defend it. We sent letters and rallied.

This outreach included local MPP Caroline Mulroney, whom I also met with before the election and previously supported the curriculum.

There was effectively radio silence.

Aside from wishing a “Happy Pride” during Simcoe Pride this summer, none of our MPPs have actually lived up to their promises to be “for the people.”

They are progressive in name only.

It takes a lot for me to say this because I tend to prefer to “call in” people rather than call them out. But we’re past the point of being “polite” about issues.

Now that the Ontario PCs have adopted a motion not to “recognize gender identity,” it’s time our local MPPs and all other so-called progressive conservatives to stand up and act.

They should condemn this motion, and prevent similar legislation from coming forward.

Gender identity isn't an 'ideology' or 'opinion'. It's a part of human identity, whether you are trans or not.

Questioning the validity of it has consequences on mental health. In Canada alone, one-third of trans kids attempt suicide and two-thirds report discrimination based on their gender identity.

What hurts most about this motion is that it comes just before Trans Day of Remembrance, Nov. 20. It’s a day where people around the world honour the loss of trans and gender-diverse people - with 2,981 reported murder cases worldwide since 2008.

Even the Ontario legislature honours it.

So while I and many others across Simcoe County will be showing up to mark this day locally, I hope Jill Dunlop and colleagues will show up too. And when they do, I hope they’ll have something to show for it other than empty words.

Brandon Rhéal Amyot

Brandon Rhéal Amyot, a community activist who works with various non-profits both locally and nationally, is a Georgian College graduate now studying at Lakehead University.

Editor's note: Jill Dunlop is the MPP for Simcoe North, a position formerly held by her father, Garfield Dunlop.