Rainbow crosswalks “shouldn’t be remarkable,” Langley MLA Andrew Mercier told the provincial legislature on Monday, March 1, International Zero Discrimination Day.
Mercier praised the campaign that made a new rainbow crosswalk possible by the Langley school district offices and the main RCMP headquarters in Murrayville.
“Rainbow crosswalks are a basic extension of human dignity and acceptance to vulnerable teenagers and folks who need it,” Mercier said.
“They shouldn’t be remarkable. We shouldn’t be here having statements in this House about them, but the fact of the matter is that right now they are. It’s the work of those who have made it possible to paint a rainbow crosswalk in Langley that should be heralded.”
Mercier singled out CUPE B.C. president Paul Faoro for mention, as well as Susan Cairns from the Langley School District Foundation.
“I can’t say enough about how proud I am of the work they’ve done and what it means for our community in Langley.”
Mercier opened his statement by referring to the 1965 arrest of Everett George Klippert by RCMP in Northwest Territories after Klippert told the officers he was gay.
Kilippert was charged with four counts of gross indecency and jailed as a sex offender.
In 1967, NDP MP Tommy Douglas raised the case in the House of Commons with then-justice minister Pierre Trudeau, who responded six weeks later with an omnibus bill decriminalizing homosexuality.
Mercier said the new rainbow crosswalk in Langley “couldn’t come at a better time.”
“As sure as you can paint them, there are those who would oppose them. While certain organized groups and individuals come to mind in the Fraser Valley, I won’t dignify them by naming them in this House. Nor will I give them a platform for bigoted and toxic views. Suffice it to say that there is a disturbing rise in hate speech in this province. That alone is a reason to be painting rainbow crosswalks. More than that, some of these groups and individuals have the gall to claim that their hateful views and homophobic and transphobic speech attract human rights protection, that they are protected by freedom of conscience or freedom of speech. Well, there is no human right to hate.”
On Feb. 23, at its regular meeting, the Langley Board of Education announced $12,000 dollars was raised over the course of two months to create the crosswalk.
CUPE BC, which represents two of the school district’s unionized employee groups, donated $6,000, half of the funding needed.
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