An anti-LGBTQ group will no longer be able to present at Mission Public Schools meetings after receiving a ban from the board.
At a school board meeting on Tuesday (Feb. 21), Mission Public Schools banned Action4Canada from presenting misinformation at meetings intended to target, discriminate, or trigger trauma in the school district.
Board trustee Randy Cairns brought the motion forward to ban Action4Canada and it carried unanimously. The ban will be reconsidered in one year.
Mission Public Schools board chair Shelley Carter says the district is inclusive, diverse, and accepting and does not condone misleading and hateful propaganda.
“We expect all groups to be respectful of all persons when presenting. This type of group with a platform that is full of misinformation and wants to present hateful propaganda, leads to a ban,” Carter said. “We want all students, parents and the staff to feel safe when attending our meetings.”
The board is looking at tightening up its policies by reviewing meeting procedures and delegations.
“I think that we’ve done the right thing,”Carter said.
Carter estimates that the school board received upwards of 300 emails concerning the ban, mostly copy and pasted.
Mission Public Schools superintendent Angus Wilson says he met with the group in his office and it was an interesting hour and half.
“Action4Canada is concerned about many things in Canada, from immigration to vaccines to 15 minute cities, and they aren’t willing to believe the information we have provided them, as well as other agencies like the RCMP, over and over again. It is pretty frustrating.”
Action4Canada presented to the Board as a delegation on Jan. 10. According to the agenda for that session, the group presented concerns about Mission Public Schools’ support for 2SLGBTQ+ youth and requested the removal of SOGI (sexual orientations and gender identities) educational resources, and pornographic/sexually explicit books from Mission Public Schools.
“They then asked to screen share a targeted hateful and disturbing presentation. A trustee made a point of order to have it removed. The incident was triggering for many in the district and public,” the agenda reads. “They acted in a deliberate, misleading manner to present something they knew violated the school district’s values.”
According to Mission Public Schools, the group did not follow the presentation procedure that they were informed of by staff. Wilson said they subsequently tried to connect conspiracy theories about the United Nations to Indigenous people.
Augusta Gladstone is a Mission parent that encountered Action4Canada at the Jan. 10 school board meeting and the Mission RCMP Policing Forum on Feb.8.
“They did not give a disclaimer or warning beforehand and they showed some pornographic images,” Gladstone said. “There was a lot of misrepresentation and misinforming facts.”
Gladstone says at the policing forum, the group requested a stop to land acknowledgments, saying “it’s God’s land, not Indigenous land.”
“A lot of the things that they talked about pushes back against everything my elders survived in residential schools and it pushes back on the reconciliation that everyone has been working towards,” Gladstone said. “Guidelines before starting these public forums have been very effective. I’ve been to a few where they really crack down on that kind of thing and make it a culturally safe setting for everyone.”
Mission Mayor Paul Horn, who attended the policing forum, says the city has no plans to ban Action4Canada from public meetings.
“I don’t think the secret of this whole thing is to not let people express themselves. I’ve been asked that and I’m not inclined to do it,” Horn said during the Feb. 21 council meeting. “But I am inclined to encourage our community members to speak up for what you expect when it comes to that type of conduct.”