Hateful, Horrid Heather

On Wednesday, Sept. 20, crowds of protesters descended on the Manitoba Legislature and The Forks to rally in support of “parental rights.” “Parental rights” is the anti-2SLGBTQIA+ hate lobby’s newest dog-whistle term used to cloak their fight against basic human rights for transgender people.

The rallies were part of a coordinated day of similar hate rallies in dozens of cities across Canada. It should be troubling to all Winnipeggers that as many as 2,000 people felt emboldened enough to take part in these attacks on queer rights.

But it’s just as troubling that our own provincial government has brought this hate out of the fringes and into the mainstream. Premier Heather Stefanson and the PC Party have made “parental rights” a main part of their campaign messaging. Advertisements on billboards and bus benches across Winnipeg have made the party’s contempt for queer Manitobans clear.

Of course, Stefanson and company can’t openly run on “We hate transgender people!” which is why they’ve deliberately decided not to define what they mean by “parental rights” until after the election. But they don’t have to. We all know what it means.

It’s more than just a sickening bit of hatred from the party, which has enthusiastically followed the rest of the global centre-right in tolerating, if not outright embracing, neo-fascism following the rise of Donald Trump in the United States. It’s also a cynical play to appeal to the bigotry of a certain segment of the voter base, because the PCs simply have nothing else to run on. What else are they going to pitch to voters? Their disastrous record? Please.

Published in Volume 78, Number 03 of The Uniter (September 21, 2023)

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