Over 100 Ontario Union Organizers Discuss Counter-Protests Against Parental Rights Rally

Over 100 Ontario Union Organizers Discuss Counter-Protests Against Parental Rights Rally
A large crowd of protesters gather outside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office to protest gender ideology in schools, in Ottawa on June 24, 2023. (Jonathan Ren/The Epoch Times)
Andrew Chen

With the approach of a nationwide "million-person" march focused on upholding parental rights and advocating for the removal of gender ideology from the education system, several unions representing public servants and teachers are looking to organize a counter-protest.

On Sept. 15, a Vimeo video revealed that more than 100 union organizers had an "internal" discussion about protesting the march organized by parents. Roadkill Radio News was the first to find the video and report on it.
The parent-led rally, dubbed "1 Million March 4 Children," is scheduled for Sept. 20 and aims to advocate for parental consent as a prerequisite for children changing their gender-related pronouns and names in schools.

Additionally, it seeks to promote children's welfare and address concerns related to gender ideology, including its teachings, sexual education, and exposure to explicit sexual content.

As of Sept. 18, protests linked to the 1 Million March 4 Children movement have been planned in at least 25 cities across seven provinces. The movement has garnered attention on social media platforms like X, formerly known as Twitter, with hashtags such as "Leave Our Kids Alone" and "Protect All Children."

The online meeting held by the unions on Sept. 15 was largely led by staff members from the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL). Speakers at the meeting rejected the parent-led rally's stated mission to protect children, instead asserting the march is motivated by "hate" and that it opposes the LGBT community.

"[The 1 Million March 4 Children] is a mass, nationwide, coordinated protest," an OFL representative said in the video.

"We've seen where they're targeting and what they're doing, which is the insidious ways that they're saying that they are protecting children, and we know that, far from protecting children, this is actually an attack on children and on communities."

The OFL has launched a website where members of the public can register to participate in the counter-protest. The website also provides a range of resources, including one titled "Guide for Pride Defenders" from an NGO that has underscored its initiatives in opposing what it calls "fascists and the far-right."
The Epoch Times contacted the OFL for comment regarding its statements about the 1 Million March 4 Children. No response was received in time for publication.

Engagement Tactics

An OFL representative speaking at the online meeting offered some insight into how the counter-protest might unfold.

Referring to similar movements in the United States, the representative stated the rally is "under the guise" of being led by parents, religious groups, and certain ethnic communities. The representative emphasized that those participating in the counter-protests should base their response on opposing the message of hate rather than the targeting of individuals.

"It's a very easy way to divide many diverse communities by pitting us against each other. But within labour, within progressive movements, we know about intersectionality, and we know that hate can come in many forms, a lot of ignorance," the representative said.

"And so we need to make sure that our message is targeted towards the message as opposed to the people who are saying it, because in that way, we're not going to fall prey to their usual ways of bigotry."

The representative also stressed the importance of counter-protest participants arriving ahead of time at the parent-led rally to ensure they have an immediate presence having already "established [them]selves."


Ottawa businessman Kamel El-Cheikh, one of the organizers of the 1 Million March 4 Children, issued a warning to the unions in response to their discussions about organizing a counter-protest.
"If you dare to counter-protest, we will make note of that, and we will make sure that every pride festival, every pride event, will be met with a counter-protest," he said in a video posted on X.

"We respected your differences. We disagree with your lifestyle just like you disagree with ours. But remember, if you are there to counter-protest, we will consider that a threat."

Mr. El-Cheikh emphasized that the 1 Million March 4 Children rally brings together a diverse array of ethnic and religious communities, including Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and others.

"They're coming down, and they're very angry, and they lost their patience, but they're peaceful," he said.

Several Canadian provinces are instituting new policies aimed at addressing issues related to children's preferred pronouns and gender identity.
In both Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, formal policies have been implemented that uphold parental rights regarding the gender identity issue and mandate that schools must obtain permission from parents or guardians before changing a child's preferred name and pronouns for students under 16 years of age.
Concurrently, Ontario Premier Doug Ford has also voiced his support for parental rights, asserting it is not the responsibility of teachers or school boards to "indoctrinate our kids."
Marnie Cathcart and Tara MacIsaac contributed to this report.