Ontario’s Government Is About To Institutionalize Bigotry Into Its University System

Today, the Canadian Christian College (CCC) is much closer to becoming a University. We strongly condemn the Ford government for making moves to grant legitimacy to an institution, and its president Charles McVety, which have a long and harmful history of homophobia, transphobia, and anti-Muslim sentiments.

Canadian Anti-Hate Network

December 7, 2020

Source: Facebook

Today, the Canadian Christian College (CCC) is much closer to becoming a University. We strongly condemn the Ford government for making moves to grant legitimacy to an institution, and its president Charles McVety, which have a long and harmful history of homophobia, transphobia, and anti-Muslim sentiments.

Any decision that places the CCC among the country’s credible higher learning institutions not only hurts the communities McVety targets, but denigrates Canada’s already ailing educational system.

Ontario is enabling bigotry. Period.

On Monday, Bill 213 (aka the Better for People, Smarter for Business Act) passed its third and final reading. The CCC is mentioned by name and, once the bill is given royal assent, will become the Canada University and School of Graduate Theological Studies.

According to CTV’s Colin D’Mello, Ontario’s PC Party has vowed not to pass that portion of the bill into law until the school has passed through the Postsecondary Education Quality Assessment Board (PEQAB). This multistep process includes space for public comment in its first phase. Members of the public wishing to express their objection will be able to participate by submitting their concerns to the Board. 

The issue is not related to the certification of a Christian school, but rather McVety’s use of evangelicalism to organize, work toward, and with the help of Bill 213, institutionalize his particular brand of prejudice. 

McVety has been a firebrand against a variety of Canadian communities for years. In 2010, was the host of a show called Word TV, on the Christ Television Service. The program was removed by the network after multiple complaints to Canada’s media regular, the CBSC, about the “program’s treatment of different issues, such as homosexuality, Islam, Haiti and euthanasia” as well as “discriminatory comments on the basis of sexual orientation, religion and mental disability.”

McVety also reportedly stated on the show, “Islam is not just a religion, it’s a political and cultural system as well and we know that Christians and Jews and Hindus don’t have the same mandate for a hostile takeover,” according to the National Council of Canadian Muslims

While the CBSC ultimately ruled that McVety’s comments did not rise to denigration of Islam or people with disabilities -- a decision we disagree with -- his talk show was found to be trading in explicit homophobia. In addition to calling the Toronto Pride Parade a “sex parade,” the CBSC also said he made suggestions that “homosexuals prey on children.” Xtra magazine reported that in speaking out against the Ontario sex-ed curriculum, McVety made the following statement on his show, which ultimately lead to its cancellation: 

“Why? Because unfortunately, they have an insatiable appetite for sex, especially with young people. And there's not enough of them, so they want to proselytize your children and mine, our grandchildren and turn them into homosexuals. And they’ve seized our Ministry of Education and now they’re implementing this! Back when we led the campaign to defend marriage in, oh, in 2005, we warned that once they legalized same-sex marriage, then that will be the legal groundwork for them to change our curriculum and to start teaching this to our children. Well, here it is, my friends. Something that we said five years ago is now alive and well in the province of Ontario.”

In response to Bill 213, former Premier Kathleen Wynne questioned, “why this government would extend the mandate of the most publicly and vocally homophobic man in Ontario?” 

The CCC also hosted The Rebel’s “Rally For Free Speech,” against the non-binding M-103. While the motion was nothing more than a call for a condemnation of Islamophobia, self-described “propaganda arm” of the alt-right neo-Nazi movement Faith Goldy called it “one step closer to enshrining Islamic blasphemy laws.” Speakers included Goldy, Kellie Leitch -- famed supporter of the Barbaric Cultural Practices Hotline -- McVety himself, and more. All attempting to stir up anger over the latest perceived (non-binding) attack on free speech. 

McVety is also close friends with Ontario Premier Doug Ford. In 2019, Ford’s government defended itself from allegations of favouritism when the annual “Jesus in the City” parade, which McVety is the chief promoter of, received a $12,078 grant under the Celebrate Ontario program.

He has a long history of campaigning against the LGBTQ+ community, leading the fight against marriage equality as the Senior Director of the Defend Marriage Coalition, a lobby group seeking to repeal the Civil Marriage Act that legalized same-sex marriage. 

Most damning for a university handing out Bachelors of Science and Arts, McVety supports the harmful and debunked methods of conversion therapy. In a 2018 CBC article he argued that to not try and counsel a child into a heterosexual lifestyle is "so ideological it's almost Soviet in nature,” as he argued the child's rights would be violated by denying them counselling.

In September 2019, McVety and street preacher David Lynn planned a march through The Village, Toronto’s LGBTQ+ oriented neighbourhood, in response to several incidents earlier that year in which Lynn was detained and charged after he and others preached anti-LGBTQ+ messages over loudspeakers in the Village, and allegedly instigated fights. They were prevented from entering the Village by an organized group of antifascists, faith leaders, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and allies.

After today’s final reading, Bill 213 is well on its way to becoming law in Ontario. Yet, as it drives forward unfettered by the government, queries about McVety, his friendship with Doug Ford, and even loans McVety took from his own college all remain currently open.

The question of whether the province is willing to costume baseless bigotry in the laurels of education, however, has been answered with a resounding yes.

With files from Hazel Woodrow.

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