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MINTO – New flyers circulating the north Wellington County municipality have some residents questioning what constitutes hate mail and whether Canada Post can and should be distributing it. 

Distributed from post offices in Palmerston, Harriston and Clifford, the yellow flyer and petition is the latest instalment from a group of “concerned citizens” looking to convince council to create a bylaw ensuring all crosswalks and flags/banners on public property “remain neutral” in Minto. 

Opening with “Do you know what is going on in YOUR community,” the flyer encourages residents to contact mayor Dave Turton and council members if they feel Pride initiatives and the municipality’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion committee are “not representative of ALL constituents of Minto” and to join the “900+” people who have already signed the petition.

“I didn’t know what it was about at first, but as I started reading it, I was appalled,” said a Palmerston resident who asked for anonymity out of concerns for their safety. “I think anybody who identifies with the community would be heartbroken to read that.”

Some residents said online they were “shocked” and “disgusted” when they found the flyer in their mailbox and said “a lot of people” might feel like they don’t belong in Minto after receiving it.

Others say they submitted complaints about the flyers containing “hateful misinformation” to Canada Post.

The Concerned Citizens of Minto who distributed the flyer did not respond to a request for comment.

Some expressed support for the flyer online.

“Neutrality solves both so what’s the issue,” wrote one person on Facebook.

In an email, Canada Post representative Valérie Chartrand said the flyers were distributed alongside other unaddressed advertising mail but “should not have been delivered” because the sender’s information was not visible on the mailing itself, as the company requires.

Chartrand said the company will review the proper protocols internally to ensure it doesn’t happen again. 

As for the flyer’s content, the information is not prohibited under Canada Post’s non-mailable matter regulations. Those same regulations requires the corporation to deliver all items of mail that are deposited with it and “does not have the right to refuse a mail item because it, its employees or any customer objects to the item’s content.”

Harriston resident Brenda Atkin told EloraFergusToday seeing the flyer “saddened” her but she understands Canada Post’s job is to deliver what is supplied. 

“(When I saw the flyer) I think what struck me was that the delegation that went before council had taken their argument another step further,” said Atkin. “That brought a reaction from me more than how it got in my mail because somebody could drive around and put them in your mailbox too.” 

In an emailed statement, Minto Pride said the petition is “filled with inaccurate statements” as council has heard the group “speak extensively” at the last three council meetings which led to the creation of a new commemorative banner policy “to be fair to all sides that have been presented.” 

Addressing accusations in the distributed flyer that the committee wasn’t transparent about their drag story time at Pride in the Park, the group said the committee used their funds from donations to hire the drag queens, who have a preschool TV show “encouraging inclusivity and kindness” and “if people did not want to go or bring their children, they didn’t have to.” 

“The accusation in the flyer that the town’s DEI initiatives cause Division, Exclusion, and Inequality is a bold statement coming from the people who are causing this divisiveness by continually spreading misinformation and hatred,” said the committee. “These ‘concerned citizens’ have not once reached out directly to the Minto Pride Committee for information or explanation, but instead rely on assumptions with no desire to learn or grow.”  

Isabel Buckmaster is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for GuelphToday. LJI is a federally-funded program.

By Isabel Buckmaster, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jul 04, 2024 at 13:50

This item reprinted with permission from   Guelph, Ontario
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