Simultaneous protests and counter-protests across the Maritimes on gender education in schools
Hundreds of protesters turned up across the Maritimes at simultaneous protests and counter-protests Wednesday centered around gender education and policies in schools.
In Halifax, protesters packed in front of city hall in a protest and counter-protest, which continued as a march around downtown before both groups returned to the Grand Parade.
“The demonstration grew to approximately 1,200 people that consisted of mainly two separate groups,” said Cst. John MacLeod, with the Halifax Regional Police, in a news release Wednesday.
On one side protesters gathered as part of events being held throughout Canada, created by a group called “1MillionMarch4Children” which says rally participants are “standing together against gender ideology in schools.” Bearing signs with slogans such as “Leave our kids along,” they chanted, “Protect our kids!”
“Our children should be learning about playing with toys,” said protestor Susan Campbell.
“And their ABCs and arithmetic, and not about the things that they’re trying to teach them, and I’m not even going to say these things.”
“I’m against the government…pushing sexual orientation on children,” said parent Michelle Briella.
“I don’t think it’s right, and it’s got to stop.”
Protesters and counter-protesters in Grand Parade in Halifax face-off, voicing their opinions on gender ideology in schools. (CTV/Carl Pomeroy)
"THIS IS GETTING OLD"
On the other side, members of the LGBTQ2S+ community chanted “Trans rights are human rights,” and waved rainbow pride and trans flags with messages such as, “No space for hate.”
“Well, you know, I’ve been queer for a long time, this is getting old,” said counter-protester Heather Roberts.
“I just want to be here to support everyone. It’s really, really sad to see that people have those thoughts, but those are their thoughts.”
“I was, unfortunately, not able to transition until my late thirties due to harassment in the school system,” said Dreya Jordan.
“And that’s the main thing that we want to prevent with these children, is for them not to be harassed in the school system.”
Halifax police had a large presence downtown, positioning cruisers and closing Argyle Street between Sackville and Duke Streets. Officers with bikes stood between the two groups to keep them separated.
The "1MillionMarch4Children" protesters left Grand Parade after about a half-hour of chanting back and forth, and passed by Province House, followed by the counter protesters up to Citadel Hill before then returning to city hall.
While emotions were high, there did not appear to be any major incidents during the protests, which lasted three hours before participants dispersed.
The Halifax Regional Police says a 16-year-old was arrested and will face charges of assault with a weapon, mischief (property damage) and causing a disturbance.
In Moncton, hundreds gathered in protest and counter-protest in Centennial Park Wednesday morning.
The "1MillionMarch4Children" group walked around nearby Bessborough School and what started as a mostly calm and peaceful protest escalated when the march made its way back to the park.
Dozens of protesters on each side shouted chants while being separated by RCMP and city by-law officers.
Counter-protester Chris McDonald said he was constantly verbally harassed by the million-march crowd, but was glad to show his support for the LGBTQ2S+ community.
He said he feared for his safety at times during the protest.
"There's a lot of people coming up to me, putting their hands in my face. There's guys pushing me back. I've been threatened with some guy's dogs, and in general there's a lot of hate," said McDonald.
Blakney Robichaud said her group stands with Premier Blaine Higgs in regards to his comments about students not keeping secrets about their gender identity from their parents. However, she stressed she is not anti-LGBTQ2S+ in any way.
“I stand for inclusion,” said Robichaud. “I have family and friends who are part of the community and I’ve never been against the community, ever.”
Dozens of members of Moncton's Muslim community were vocal in their protest, saying schools are teaching their kids about topics that don't align with their beliefs.
Masood Bawany said the protest was originally organized by the Muslim community in Canada.
Several children and adults were confrontational with members of the counter-protesters, but Bawany said they don’t support violence of any kind.
“We don't want to confront anybody. We know that some individuals involved, the youth sometimes, gets pumped up and start saying things, but we do not support that. We weren't here for that,” said Bawany.
"MY JOB IS NOT TO BE POLITICAL"
Anglophone East School District Superintendent Randy MacLEAN said he made sure students were kept inside during the protest, but wouldn't comment directly on the nature of the march.
“My job is not to be political. I try to stay above that and work in the operations part of it. We live in a democracy and the beauty of the freedom of speech,” said MacLEAN.
"1MillionMarch4Children" Moncton organizer Charlene Blakney Robichaud was glad to see the large turnout of supporters.
"I love that so many people came out to stand for protection of our children and for the protection of parents' rights. Parents are feeling very left out and like they don't have a say on their own kids," said Blakney Robichaud.
The crowd dispersed from Centennial Park around 1:15 p.m.
Click here for a photo gallery of images from the protests in Halifax and Moncton.
The Shopping Trends team is independent of the journalists at CTV News. We may earn a commission when you use our links to shop. Read about us.
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
With less than 50 days until Republican voters begin the process of determining their nominee to take on President Joe Biden, political analyst Eric Ham writes about a storm brewing within the GOP -- as super-donors align behind a surging candidate who could pose a threat to frontrunner Donald Trump.
Four people are in police custody after Quebec businessman Daniel Langlois and his partner Dominique Marchand were found dead in Dominica.
Speaker Fergus apologizes, faces calls to resign over 'personal' video played at Ontario Liberal event
House of Commons Speaker Greg Fergus apologized to MPs on Monday about a 'personal' video tribute message played this weekend at the Ontario Liberal Party leadership convention, but two opposition parties say that's not enough and are now calling for him to resign over his 'unacceptable' participation in a partisan event.
A kangaroo that escaped the Oshawa Zoo during a one-night stay last week has been recaptured after more than three days on the loose.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and Radio-Canada will eliminate about 600 jobs and not fill an additional 200 vacancies. The cuts at CBC come days after the Liberal government suggested it may cap the amount of money CBC and Radio-Canada could get under a $100 million deal Ottawa recently signed with Google.
A Desjardins report suggests short-term rentals likely contributed to the housing affordability crisis in Canada and around the world.
The Government of Canada as well as the Conservative and New Democratic parties are among the nearly two dozen entities granted standing to participate in the national public inquiry into foreign interference in Canadian elections and democratic institutions, Commissioner Marie-Josee Hogue revealed Monday.
NDP calling on Liberals to establish special immigration measures to help Canadians with families in Gaza
The federal NDP is urging the Liberals to immediately create special immigration measures to allow the evacuation of extended family members of Canadians and permanent residents in Gaza.
A video recorded by two would-be assassins showing a botched hit on a Toronto-area lawyer ended up as evidence in the trial of a Brantford man who was later sentenced to 12 years in prison.
EXCLUSIVE Uber launches lawsuit over 'bad faith' council vote, calls on court to overturn ridesharing cap
Uber Canada is taking the City of Toronto to court over a surprise council vote to freeze the number of ridesharing licences.
Ontario's Progressive Conservative government is planning to bypass key debate and public hearings on a bill to push Ontario Place redevelopment plans forward, a move the opposition parties say is undemocratic.
Experts are warning that Canada's "super pigs" – a crossbreed of wild boars and domestic pigs – are quickly encroaching on mountain parks and communities in Alberta.
A pilot plan to change the daily school hours for students enrolled in the Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) has been grounded, the board says.
Calgary police say a shooting in the community of Woodlands last month led to the seizure of almost $300,000 in illegal drugs and a handful of guns.
It's not winter in Montreal until the plow trucks roll in. The city was blanketed in a fresh blanket of snow over the weekend, and officials say they're ready to start clearing roads, sidewalks and bike paths.
Two 12-year-old girls were charged with assault in connection with the assault of a woman at an LRT station in late November.
The youngest children of an Alberta minister were injured in a crash last Friday.
A 30-year-old woman from St. Albert was killed in a two-vehicle crash on Highway 28 east of Morinville Monday morning.
Pat Ptaszynski has been in the flower business in Greater Sudbury for 73 years.
A 29-year-old northern Ontario man is in custody and facing attempted murder and firearms-related charges following an incident in Temiskaming Shores late last week.
Police have laid criminal charges against the driver of a pickup truck involved in a September collision in the Sault that killed a pregnant woman.
'This very easily could have been a fatal fire': Pet cat credited with saving owner's life during Exeter, Ont. fire
Damage was extensive to a duplex on Victoria Street in Exeter following an early morning fire — and the tenant's pet cat is credited with saving his life.
A tractor that remains embedded in a building in downtown Seaforth is expected to be removed on Dec. 7. It’s welcome news to downtown businesses who have been dealing with the partial closure of Main Street to traffic since the crash nearly two months ago.
A 67-year-old man from St. Thomas is facing multiple charges after he allegedly drove impaired over the weekend and crashed into an Elgin County hydro pole.
He has only been in office since October, but Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew is already boasting the highest approval rating among Canadian premiers, according to a new poll.
Winnipeg is seeing a 44 per cent spike in shoplifting incidents this year.
Officers with the Manitoba RCMP have charged two people, including a 14-year-old male, with second-degree murder in connection with the death of a teenager in a northern First Nation community.
A Jewish organization says a bus service contracted to transport community members from Toronto to Ottawa for a pro-Israel rally did not show.
The Ottawa Police Service is investigating shooting threat messages that were sent to students at Garneau Catholic High School in Orléans.
Supporters of Israel and prominent Jewish groups rallied Monday on Parliament Hill, calling for an end to antisemitic violence in Canada and for solidarity with Israel.
The former partner of a Saskatchewan Mountie charged with first-degree murder was the first to testify as the trial began on Monday in Prince Albert.
A man who brutally killed a Saskatoon woman more than 20 years ago has had his day parole revoked.
City councillor Troy Davies is looking back at last week's City of Saskatoon budget deliberations as a missed opportunity.
Fees for residential parking permits in the City of Vancouver could increase by up to 20 per cent in 2024, according to a proposal coming to council along with next year's budget.
An atmospheric river has made landfall in southern British Columbia, prompting Environment and Climate Change Canada to issue rainfall warnings for Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island.
The Saskatchewan government's electrical utility is to remit carbon charges into a nuclear energy investment fund, the province announced Monday.
A woman is dead and police are investigating following a fatal pedestrian collision over the weekend.
An investigation that began with tips from the public has led to five people pleading guilty to charges such as wildlife trafficking, hunting without a license and hunting at night.
A search effort has been launched for a missing boater who was last seen off the coast of Nanaimo three days ago.