Westboro community organizes to "drown out hate"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OTTAWA - Far-right youth group Save Canada, transphobic activist “Billboard Chris” Elston, and their far-right supporters plan to meet at 11am at Broadview and Carling on June 9th, and march up Broadview to spread anti-trans hate in front of the three schools on Broadview.

To counter this assembly of transphobic fascists, we will rally the community at 10am at Broadview and Wellesley. We have partnered with Community Solidarity Ottawa, as well as a number of other community organizations and labour unions to hold a counter-protest against hate, transphobia, and fascism. 

When “Billboard Chris” Elston and Josh Alexander announced they would be marching down Broadview Avenue to protest in front of the three schools on that street, the local community began to organize. The parents and community members are no stranger to defending our schools and youth from this transphobic and fascist movement. In 2021, we rallied when “Billboard Chris” with local transphobes Shannon Boschy and Chantal Pfahl spontaneously protested in front of Broadview Avenue schools. This time, we are planning a joyous celebration of the queer and trans community that will impede the transphobic fascists from reaching our schools.

“In the absence of real action from institutions and political leaders, it is up to us to keep our streets, schools, and communities safe from the rise of fascism”, says Emily Quaile, organizer and parent of a Broadview Public School student. “We know what happens when we don’t show up en masse to reject hate: the far-right sets up camp like the convoy did, and institutions fail to respond. It is up to us to go beyond statements and take direct action where the fascists try to organize and build their movement. This is a societal problem that transcends individual schools and boards - it is everywhere and we must come together to end this hateful movement.”

The far-right are more organized than ever, and the growing fascist movement in Canada cannot be ignored. While many individual far-right activists claim to be single issue protesters, there is a growing alignment between transphobes, anti-mask/anti-vaxx activists, former so-called “freedom convoy” supporters, and the extreme right – neo-nazis, white supremacists, and right-wing accelerationists.

Even though the fascists desire attention and conflict,it is important to counter them whenever they attempt to organize.. Without a counter-protest, they would be free to spread their hate in front of three schools and expose children to fascist and transphobic propaganda. We must not only denounce fascism where it appears, but we must organize to provide the safety of numbers for those who feel it is imperative to counter hate on June 9th.

“It is vitally important that people vocally reject the growing anti-2SLGBTQIA+ hate,” said Skyler MacLeod, a spokesperson for Community Solidarity Ottawa. “We expect that any students who do participate should not be disciplined by their schools or face police harassment. People should not have to face state repression for defending their community from the far right.”

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For Media Inquiries:

English:

Emily Quaile
[email protected]

French:

Community Solidarity Ottawa
[email protected]

Horizon Ottawa

Sam Hersh
[email protected]

 

Additional Information:

Save Canada is a far-right Diagolon-affiliated youth group that has organized a number of anti-LGBT protests over the past several months, including in Ottawa in February where they attempted to shut down a drag storytime event at the NAC. Recently, they have begun to rally with open neo-Nazis, including neo-Nazi group White Lives Matter as well as former Canadian Nationalist Party leader Gus Stefanis. Their main spokesperson, Josh Alexander, is a Grade 11 student from Renfrew who was expelled for bullying transgender students. Since then, he has become a major figure on the far right, and has received flattering portayals in both mainstream and far-right media.

Billboard Chris has attempted to do anti-trans protests outside of Ottawa schools before. In 2021, he attempted to protest outside of Broadview Avenue schools, where he was met with overwhelming community opposition. More recently, he was present for the convoy occupation of Ottawa, where he attended to spread anti-trans messages.

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