* See follow up report with video highlights.
TORONTO, March 30, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A crowd of an estimated 2000 or so concerned parents from a wide range of ethnic and faith communities demonstrated outside Ontario’s legislature Thursday demanding the defeat of the Liberal government’s “anti-bullying” Bill 13. The speakers and spirited, chanting crowd, many with homemade signs, expressed fears of a dangerous loss of freedoms from the government bill and its imposition on all Ontario schools of a sexual culture radically opposed to their own beliefs.
Kim Galvao, the main organizer from Concerned Catholic Parents of Ontario, expected just a few hundred but was overwhelmed to see the far larger number of protesters show up with hundreds of signs. Galvao told LifeSiteNews that she started organizing the rally only two weeks ago and networked with several other groups to get the word out.
Galvao said she is “just a mother” and decided to to try to get a rally going because the government was not responding to her serious concerns about Bill 13. “There was just silence and so I just felt I needed to do something.”
Galvao stated, “I am alarmed to see a sexual agenda imposed on our schools by the Liberal government. ... As a mom I do not want my children taught that there are seven different genders. As a mom, I do no want my young children taught the disputed theory that a person’s gender is not connected to their physical anatomy.”
There were notably large numbers of participants from the Chinese Catholic, Chinese Protestant and Korean Christian communities. The rally was attended by Christians of several denominations and the many ethnic and religious communities represented included Sikhs, Muslims, Koreans, Chinese, Somalians, Nigerians, Pakistanis, Portuguese, Spanish communities, Filipinos, and more.
Several speakers gave passionate speeches warning of the loss of liberty, parental rights and freedom of religion that would result from what they claimed is the unconstitutional proposed legislation.
Speakers included: Kim Galvao, Concerned Catholic Parents of Ontario; Jack Fonseca, Campaign Life Catholics; Dr. Charles McVety, Institute for Canadian Values; Reverend Dominic Tse, North York Chinese Community Church; Teresa Pierre of Parents As First Educators; Allan Tam, Chinese community leader and School Trustee at York Region District School Board; Phil Lees, Family Coalition Party leader and several religious leaders from various Christian denominations, as well as a Sikh speaker.
Charles McVety, holding a copy of Bill 13 and a copy of the resource guide from the Toronto District School Board titled, Challenging Homophobia and Heterosexism, said there were three main things he strongly rejected: the violation of parental rights, the attack on religious liberty and the restriction that any person or group renting schools would also have to abide by the new legislation.
Jack Fonseca of Campaign Life Catholic charged that “McGuinty’s Bill 13 is about social engineering. It is about indoctrinating kids to reject the moral and religious beliefs of their parents on human sexuality, in favour of the government’s ideology.” He added, “that’s why the bill contains bizarre things like the 7-gender theory.”
Fonseca continued: “Dalton McGuinty is requiring the Catholic church to violate its religious beliefs. ... Where does he think we are? The former Soviet Union?”
Dominic Tse, pastor of North York Community Chinese Church accused the Liberal government of using Communist totalitarian tactics similar to those those used in the Communist China that many in his community fled from.
Tse told the crowd to loud cheers, “What do we call these things? We call them dictatorship. We call it totalitarianism. Where we come from we know what that means, right? We are not going to allow the government to Bill 13 us, to dictate to us what we need to do and what we need to think.”
Theresa Pierre call Bill 13 “a grave violation of our conscience rights” and that is “going to cause social upheaval”.
Phil Lees shouted in his speech, “We will not allow the rights of responsible, principled Ontarians to be taken away”.
A pleasant surprise to the organizers was the number of MPPs who came and joined the rally. At least four PC MPPs mingled with the parents, listening to the speakers and chatting with demonstrators. Rick Nicholls, MPP for Chatham-Kent-Essex, received enthusiastic response to his brief speech commending the parents for their strong, public opposition to Bill 13. Several other MPPs were spotted coming to the steps of the legislature to watch the large, very determined crowd and to hear what they were saying.
At one point during the rally, former Education Minister and homosexual activist Kathleen Wynn came outside and walked past the huge parents group. She then went over to the small group of 40 counter-protestors who had gathered nearby to demand that Dalton McGuinty force the Catholic Church to violate its religious beliefs. She also spoke to Omni TV in favor of Bill 13, downplaying the concerns of parents.
One MPP told organizers that the parents could be heard shouting “Stop Bill 13” inside the chamber. Coincidentally, lawmakers were at the time debating Bill 14, the alternate anti-bullying bill initiated by Progressive Conservative MPP, Elizabeth Witmer. Her bill, without the sexual agenda of Bill 13, is not opposed by the demonstrators.
All speakers at the rally expressed support for legitimate anti-bullying legislation that targets genuine causes of bullying, of which body image was said to be by far the most common target.
Near the end of the rally a moving prayer was presented by Korean pastor, Rev. Soo. He humbly pleaded in his prayer, “Please grant wisdom to our leaders and support them as they make changes to our laws affecting our families and especially our precious children. Children are our future.”
Several mainstream media outlets were present, although rally organizers reported what so far appears to be a news blackout on the event in all the local television media - CBC, CTV, Global and CP24. Local newspapers and talk radio were said to have given at least some coverage to the event.
Rally organizers strongly encouraged Ontario parents to email, write, phone and visit their MPPs and to urge them to vote against Bill 13.
* See follow up report with video highlights.