thumb-2023-06-012-leduc-phil-mcdavid This article is more than 1 year old

Alberta City Council Meeting Disrupted By People Claiming Herbicides Are Linked To ‘Gay Agenda’

Anti-2SLGBTQ+ extremists disrupt city council meeting with conspiracies about Pride flags and rainbow crosswalks

A city council meeting in Leduc, Alberta went off the rails this week after far-right extremists showed up to a public hearing to express their concerns about the city’s Pride crosswalk.

The meeting temporarily shut down after two speakers began berating the mayor and city council in a profanity-laden tirade about the “gay agenda.”

The chaos began when local resident Phil McDavid took to the microphone to complain about Pride flags and express his concerns about the federal government spraying trees with chemicals that he alleges changes men’s gender.

“Another way to stop your trees from dying, is to request the feds stop from spraying kerosene, raw gasoline, raw diesel, strontium, aluminum, barium, lithium, atrazine. You know what atrazine does? It turns males into females.”

“Literally,” McDavid said.

“It’s in lots of the herbicides and stuff like that, they put it on the plants, nobody’s watching that stuff. Nobody. Easy job to figure out what’s going on with the trees and stuff and why they’re dying. It’s got nothing to do with climate change.”

Turning his attention to rainbow crosswalks and Pride flags, McDavid claimed discrimination.

“We respect the Christian community’s need to have a moral standard, as is common to all his majesty’s subjects of a Christian monarch, so as to eliminate the present discomfort of the promotion of immoral standards and lifestyles,” McDavid told the city council. “Anything that makes me feel uncomfortable is against the law.”

“The city should not be favouring one group or another. This stuff should be left in the bedroom, and at home, and get it out of our schools,” McDavid said to applause. “I’m gonna tell you something right now and I don’t care how much heat I take for this, If it doesn’t go, we’re coming. There’s lots of us.”

“Who made this decision to promote the gay agenda?”

McDavid later claimed he’s “been working with Danielle Smith to get this province back on track.”

Laurel and Phil McDavid with Alberta Premier Danielle Smith (Facebook)

Laurel McDavid, Phil’s spouse, also rose to, in her words, “educate” the city council about the hidden agenda behind Pride, based on misinformation about the meaning of the different colours.

“The rainbow was from God. I reclaim that back. That is God’s promise to his people,” Laurel McDavid said. “Just because a sect of people has stood up to say anything else and claimed it doesn’t take away from what God has done.”

“We do live in a Christian nation.”

Laurel McDavid proceeded to shout at city council about conspiracy theories revolving around the pride flag, claiming that it represents bestiality, necrophilia and pedophilia, which also drew applause from supporters in the crowd.

With the meeting out of control, it was at this point that the mayor called a recess.

The disruptions occurred days after the RCMP began investigating vandalism of Leduc’s pride crosswalk. RCMP say there’s been a spike in hate incidents directed at the 2sLGBTQ+ community during Pride month.

The Mayor Ryan Pollard said he’d never experienced anything like it.

‘For some reason they think that were infringing on their rights by having a pride flag flying, by doing a crosswalk, by wrapping a bus that says a seat for everyone. its sad to me that we have people that just hate everyone,” Pollard told the Ryan Jespersen podcast.

Kurt Phillips, a board member with the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, says conspiracies about a so-called ‘gay agenda’ go back decades.

“Some of these claims go back to the 70s, 80s, early 90s, claims that children are being being indoctrinated or forced to choose a gender,” Phillips told PressProgress.

“We’ve seen examples of really ridiculous rhetoric, with claims around the Pride flag, for example, about the colours representing these really horrible things, that aren’t true, but people will read it and believe it because it confirms already existing biases.”

Phillips said conspiratorial extremists like McDavid drift from one “flavour of the month” to the next and “incorporate all of their fears into that.”

“Right now it’s the World Economic Forum, so anything they are afraid of, whether it’s 15 minute cities, drag reading events, its all part of some overriding nefarious conspiracy to make men effeminate — or whatever their fears might be.”

Cathy Heron, the Mayor of St. Albert, said mayors in the province including herself are anticipating similar disruptions in their jurisdictions from conspiracy theorists.

The town of Westlock, Alberta faced an organized campaign led by Take Back Alberta organizer Benita Pederson to stop a rainbow crosswalk in the downtown.

At the public meeting where council unanimously supported the crosswalk, David Thomas, an organizer with Pedersen’s group, compared the symbol to pedophilia, necrophilia and bestiality in a room filled with young students.

“Painting the progressive flag on our street implies that the LGBT movement wants yet more progress, more categories, more intrusions into society, so what more is to be asserted?” Thomas asked. “Bestiality? Pedophilia? Necrophilia?”

Take Back Alberta leader David Parker has spoken at anti-pride protests in the province this month, promoting the protests on the group’s Telegram channel.

Parker, a graduate of the evangelical Trinity Western University mobilized significant numbers of followers during the Alberta election.

Protests have come from the Wexit movement, which pushes for Alberta’s separation from Canada, along with christian groups and anti-vaxxers, and combinations therein. Earlier this month Peter Downing, founder of multiple separatist organizations and ex RCMP officer began urging parents to send their children to public elementary schools with bibles to put on their desks to protest the pride flag.

“People are getting excited about this. We’re bringing the bibles back to schools.”

Recent months have seen school board meetings targeted by protesters, along with libraries and children’s sporting events.

There’s also been an uptick in anti-2SLGBTQ+ vandalism in recent months.

A United Church was vandalized recently in Ponoka, Alberta for its rainbow sidewalk. Okotoks, Alberta had a similar incident. Rainbow crosswalks are a popular target across Canada with recent incidents in British Columbia and Ontario.


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Stephen Magusiak
Stephen Magusiak is PressProgress’ Alberta reporter. His reporting has a focus on public accountability, public services and privatization, and the right-wing war on environmentalists.

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