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LETTER: Councillor apologizes after homophobic comments allowed from the gallery

City councillor Susan Heaton-Sherstobitoff

At Monday, April 1st council meeting a gentleman stood up and made some very inappropriate homophobic comments, along with comments about the homelessness in our community. When I got home, I could not sleep as it really bothered me that not one of us on council or our staff intervened to tell him to sit down and be quiet - and for that I sincerely apologize. I should have said something - we should have all said something.

Question period is just for that – for community members to ask questions and not to provide comments or opinions. This was my very first encounter with such speech. I heard and recognized that inappropriate comments were being made, and was actually struggling in my head how to handle and address the person in this situation. I now know that to prevent these inappropriate statements from happening in the future, it has to be addressed head-on. 

So that behaviour will not be tolerated by me ever again. We say we are an inclusive and safe community for all  – but this tells me that there are still some in our community that will never be inclusive and/or provide a safe haven for the LGBTQ+ community or for our homelessness and for that I feel very sad. There is no room in our community or in our council chambers for this behavior. So on Tuesday, May 21st – my dear friend Joan Alexander will be attending our council meeting and providing Council and Senior Staff with an LGBTQ+ educational presentation. I encourage you all to attend as we all need to education ourselves on how to be a true inclusive and safe community.

So please accept my apology. I need to do better. We need to do better. And that is my promise to everyone.

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