I recently received a private message from an individual with an interest in our upcoming election. The message contained a homophobic message toward me specifically and fear-based misinformation masquerading as “science” about gay people in Port Hope. I understand that the same individual has reached out to several other candidates and has been spreading the same misinformation online in other forums.
The message sent to me had a purpose: to ostracize me, condemn me as a viable candidate, and link me with harm to Port Hope’s citizens. It attacked who I am, and not what I do.
In response, I’m writing to let all of you know what kind of candidate I am. I am a candidate who will not be bullied. I have zero tolerance for bullying behaviour — you will not see it from me, nor will you see it tolerated in my work or on my teams.
Here’s the other thing – in my view, what we do in response to bad behaviour defines us. This has reminded me that opposing bullying and persecution involves work still. It involves more than just me.
So what do we do now? I am beginning by sending a strong signal to my community:
My Port Hope does not bully.
My experience of Port Hope is that it is the most wildly accepting place I’ve lived in Canada. While living here I’ve been met with the best of what we strive to be as Canadians; Port Hope has been warm, inviting, informed, and accepting. But even here bad behaviours that marginalize others and make them feel less than can be found. We must work together to eliminate these behaviours.
Opposing bullying is a non-partisan issue. It doesn’t matter who you are, you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Allowing bullying behaviours to continue puts people, and especially youth, at risk — an unacceptable outcome.
We have much work to do, it seems, to reach Port Hope’s great future…but I pledge to you here: I will oppose bullying wherever I encounter it and I will strive to make Port Hope a place where every citizen is safe, healthy, and happy. Our best is yet to come!
Join the conversation about who we want to be. Use the #myporthope to share ideas on how to make this town better.
While preparing this statement, the following candidates confirmed with me their opposition to bullying. In an act of solidarity we all want and expect better for our community. Together, we denounce this behaviour, and together we will work for a better Port Hope free from bullying.
- Todd Attridge
- Les Andrews
- John Bickle
- Laurie Carr
- Brian Coggins
- Ian Everdell
- Colleen Haley
- Terry Hickey
- Tony Jenkins
- Will Lambert
- Jeff Lees
- Vicki Mink
- Bob Sanderson
- Sam Whittaker