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B.C. councillor calls feedback to his controversial column ‘hateful’

‘Accused me of being racist’: Kelowna’s Ron Cannan publicly addresses response to New Year’s piece
Kelowna Coun. Ron Cannan. (City of Kelowna video)

Councillor Ron Cannan calls it some of the most hateful behaviour he’s ever experienced in public office.

He’s referring to some of the feedback he’s received regarding a Jan. 2 column, that appeared on the Kelowna Now website.

In the column, Cannan gives his personal views and predictions for 2024, covering several topics including one that struck a nerve - sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) resources in B.C. schools.

READ MORE: Politicians claim Kelowna councillor’s column ‘promotes religion over inclusion’

Cannan wrote that he expects the school board will continue to get pushback from parents and grandparents regarding the SOGI policy and the “transgender movement” within public schools.

He says he’s since been attacked by “a few strong secularists and advocates of SOGI” for his Christian beliefs.

Cannan brought the issue up during Monday’s (Jan. 8) regular meeting of council attending via video.

“They’ve harassed me via phone and online sending messages of profanity,” Accused me of being a racist, homophobic and spreading hate,” he added.

Cannan says the personal attacks and defamatory statements also affect his family.

“I know many people from the 2sLGBTQ population, including my father, whom I dearly beloved,” he said. These words and comments are the opposite of being tolerant, respectful and working towards a more inclusive and accepting society.”

Cannan did not elaborate on the reference to his father.

He also addressed his fellow councillors.

“I’m so sorry that you, my council colleagues, have had to experience this negative pushback for my opinion column. I am far from perfect, however, I trust that you and everyone in this city believe in democracy and reject this intimidating and abusive behaviour towards any elected official for simply expressing one’s honestly held personal predictions and views.”

Mayor Tom Dyas, who is currently on vacation, issued a statement two days after Cannan’s column appeared online.

“Members of council and the public have shared their concerns with me regarding Coun. Cannan’s viewpoints and we are disappointed that he has used his elected position as a city councillor in this way.”

Dyas also suggested the matter will be given “due consideration” under council’s new Code of Conduct, which Cannan points out he is well aware of and respects.

Cannan also notes that Kelowna Now includes a disclaimer in his column, and others, stating it reflects only the opinions of those who write them and are not necessarily those of Kelowna Now or its staff.

“That disclaimer has been in all of my columns published as a city councillor and I haven’t heard any feedback as far as any concerns or confusion as to that being my personal opinion column.”

He adds he will be adding a sentence to future columns so that there will be no potential misunderstandings.

“This article is my personal view and does not reflect the opinions of city council or the city.”

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Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Journalist and broadcaster for three decades.
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