Canadian Anti-Hate Network
The Newfoundland & Labrador English School District is facing a flurry of attention online after a former People’s Party of Canada posted a series of rants online claiming that the school contains a satanist “posse,” is allowing students to identify as demons, and to be non-verbal if they identify as animals.
“For some time now, the [Newfoundland & Labrador English School District] staff have been fielding questions resulting from social media posts making broad claims about students and individuals who identify as cats and/or animals,” the district wrote on Twitter. “These posts claim that [Newfoundland schools] are placing litter boxes in their buildings.”
“Let us be clear, this claim, as well as many others associated with this line of thinking, are completely false and are causing undue stress on our school communities.”
This particular narrative appears to have started with Dana Metcalfe, the St. John's East PPC candidate in the last election and outspoken conspiracy theorist from Newfoundland. She is also the partner of James Topp – an army veteran who just recently completed a protest walk across the entirety of Canada in opposition to COVID health restrictions.
In a live stream recorded from the front seat of her car, Metcalfe tells her viewers the most recent problem at a local high school.
“A few days ago I had a couple of people reach out to me about a child [attending the school] that was identifying as Lucifer,” she said. “This child in the classroom has said that he identified as Lucifer and he carries a cross. He's got a bible and he’s got this little following of satanic whatever you want to call them.”
“I don’t know if it’s harmless, I don’t know if it’s not harmless. But I can tell you right now it’s not harmless because schools are popping up all over the place now that are doing satanic after-school programs.”
After posting images of messages between her and the student – exposing the child’s full name and social media account – she put out another statement saying he did not believe the boy to be a danger.
Also included in the car rant is the rehashing of an old accusation of Metcalfe’s: that students identifying as “furries” are being accommodated in an inappropriate manner. Specifically, Metcalfe claimed that these children were allowed to be “non-verbal” in class.
While she made several denials that she had claimed there was a litter box set up within the school, posts from May show Metcalfe making exactly that claim about an unknown school.
“NL school considering installing litter boxes for the students who identify as furries,” she posted to Twitter. “I wish this was satire. Name [sic] of the exact school is unknown but it is confirmed that it is in the province of [Newfoundland]. When do we say enough is enough? Time to wake the F up.”
When reached for comment, however, Metcalfe said she had not made any allegations about litter boxes, saying that a post on her now-shuttered Facebook page Raven News was posted by a different administrator.
“The litter boxes I can’t comment on or confirm,” Metcalfe told the Canadian Anti Hate Network over Messenger. “However, we have confirmed a custodian in [Labrador] City had been asked if he would. If it’s been implemented or not I have no clue.”
While it was eventually disabled due to “inappropriate content,” Metcalfe also ran a petition garnishing thousands of signatures titled “Taking a stand against the Furries and Demons in the English District School Board NL.”
The text of the document tells signatories their aim is to have “anything outside of being human struck” from a list of approved gender identities – a list that does not exist.
In her response to CAHN, Metcalfe said she supports the 2SLGBTQ+ community, and that gender identity does “not deserve to be reduced to child’s play. Being gay, bisexual or whatever gender is a legitimate claim. Animals and other things well I can’t get behind that at all. What are we suppose to do when it’s time for them to integrate into society. I am asking the school board to limit identifies as human only.”
While Metcalfe’s current tirade has been an introduction to her for many, she has been an active activist on the island since relocating from Alberta. Forming “Mothers Opposing Bullying” in 2017 after an elementary school failed to inform her after her son was allegedly assaulted and bullied repeatedly.
From that time, however, her advocacy shifted towards climate denialism, claims of nefarious plots orchestrated by the World Economic Forum, and, when the pandemic began a shift towards opposing health mandates, masks, and of course, vaccinations.
She is credited as the organizer of protests against vaccine mandates where she acted as a representative of a group called Canadian Frontline Nurses. Metcalfe is not a nurse herself and denies the title of anti-vaccine. Canadian Frontline Nurses was founded by two Ottawa nurses who have previously spread conspiracy theories related to the COVID vaccination.
Before the protest, the Registered Nurses' Union of Newfoundland and Labrador condemned the protest in a statement.
“It has come to our attention that the group ‘Canadian Frontline Nurses’ is planning another protest for what they call a ‘national health freedom movement’ today at Memorial University,” the union wrote in September 2021. “This group has drawn in anti-science, anti-mask, anti-vaccine and anti-public health followers whose beliefs align with theirs.”
Metcalf also participated in the organization run-up of “Operation Bearhug” – the protest started by James Bauder that would evolve into February’s blockade protests in Ottawa. Posts across a variety of social media show Metcalfe recruiting individuals for the “convoy” travelling from Newfoundland to Ottawa in late January.
Metcalfe, and fellow protesters, became the subjects of a CBC article after staff at a local vaccination clinic say they closed early due to the demonstration. Metcalfe denies their protest resulted in the closure and refutes the article’s claim that police were required to escort patients to their vehicles. She maintains the police arrived on scene to ask the protest group to stop honking the horns of their cars and says the group complied immediately.