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Kelowna, B.C. MLA under fire for recent social media activity



A Kelowna MLA has become the subject of controversy this week after her recent social media activity supported an anti-transgender platform.

Debate was sparked online, after Kelowna-Mission MLA Renee Merrifield quote-tweeted a tweet from Jordan Peterson who is known for speaking out against certain transgender rights.

MLA Renee Merrifield’s controversial tweet.


“I was actually really kind of surprised and shocked when I saw the tweets,” said Advocacy Canada chair Wilbur Turner.

“With the position of Shadow Minister of gender (equity and) inclusion, it really surprised me that someone who had that kind of portfolio or responsibility would be supporting that platform.”

Just this week, Peterson has been told to undergo a mandatory coaching program due to his public statements and was previously the subject of controversy after refusing to use gender-neutral pronouns.

“To actually support someone like that is just causing more of that kind of damage, delegitimizing trans people and dehumanizing them,” said Turner.

Merrifield was not only in hot water for retweeting that post but for liking a separate tweet earlier in the week.

A tweet MLA Renee Merrifield liked early this week. Twitter

In a statement to Global News, Merrifield’s press secretary says she has removed the like after seeing it incorrectly interpreted as her opinion and she wanted to distance herself from that perception.

Merrifield also clarified her support for the LGBTQ2 community.

“I have time and again stood up for trans rights, including at the B.C. Legislature, and worked as an MLA to create a more inclusive BC,” said Merrifield.

“I strongly support the rights of people of all gender identities. Trans rights are human rights and it’s up to all of us to create a more inclusive world for trans people and all British Columbians.”

The statement also said that Merrifield does not intend to provide further comment on the topic.

Turner says the constantly changing opinion of Merrifield regarding these issues, can be very frustrating.

“They’re saying on one hand, that they are supporting the trans community, coming out in speeches and the legislature but behind the scenes, they’re doing something quite different on social media. It’s really undermining what they’re there for,” said Turner.

He also adds that the support could be harmful to Kelowna’s LGBTQ2 community.

“It really causes the people who are being marginalized and singled out for this kind of hate to be fearful,” Turner said.

Turner says he has invited Merrifield to a discussion with himself and other members of the community to learn where she is coming from, and to teach her about the damage she may create by supporting this platform

However, no date has been set.


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Analysis | House GOP embraces mainstream media after years of bashing 'fake news' – The Washington Post



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Analysis | House GOP embraces mainstream media after years of bashing ‘fake news’  The Washington Post


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Canada adds Russian media personalities, companies in latest round of sanctions



OTTAWA — Canada has announced it is imposing a new round of sanctions on Russian media personalities and companies accused of spreading disinformation about Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly announced the latest sanctions against 38 individuals and 16 entities, saying those affected are propagating Russian President Vladimir Putin’s lies.

Among those added to Canada’s blacklist are several Russian singers, including former contestants on the popular Eurovision singing contest, as well as actors and athletes.

The list also includes one of Russia’s largest state-owned media groups, MIA Rossiya Segodnya, which owns and operates a large number of Russian-language companies.


Many of the new additions had already been sanctioned by Canada’s allies following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nearly a year ago.

The new measures come amid questions about the effectiveness of Canada’s sanctions regime.

The Canadian Press reported this week that as of June 7, Canada had ordered $123 million in assets within Canada frozen, and $289 million in transactions had been blocked under sanctions prohibitions related to Russia.

But by late December, the RCMP said only $122 million in assets were listed as seized, and $292 million in transactions had been blocked despite hundreds more people associated with Russia being put on the sanctions list.

The police force did not provide an explanation for why the sums reported by financial institutions had hardly changed during that period.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 3, 2023.


The Canadian Press

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Freedom Marching Project Presents: LEGACY | ‘Legacy’ Returns With Entertainment To Celebrate and Appreciate Black Culture and Excellence



Popular Live Showcase ‘Legacy’ Returns With Entertainment To Celebrate and Appreciate Black Culture and Excellence

Community Leaders Connect Emerging Talent With Entertainment Professionals for Mentorship

For Immediate Release

February 2, 2023 (Kitchener, Ontario) – On February 25, 2023, live from the Conrad Centre for the Performing Arts, the community collective known as The Freedom Marching Project will revive Kitchener’s premier talent showcase from the early 90s. Legacy: What Was, What Is, What Will Be is an entertainment showcase nurturing up-and-coming talent in all aspects of entertainment. It’s an outlet where youth are provided with a genuinely supportive environment to share their cultural heritage with confidence. The collective’s objective is to create a showcase that will contribute a positive space and platform for the growth and advancement of Black creatives and culture by using the power of entertainment to motivate and galvanize.

From the 90s to the late 2000s, Legacy became a top-tier showcase for local talent. The presently reworked event will pair participants on the mic or behind the lens with industry Legacy Mentors to foster togetherness and hone in on their respective crafts. To execute this vision, the Legacy Mentors will guide these passionate Black youths and provide emotional support and resources to help them become stage and event ready. Stepping into the role of mentorship for the inaugural year are director and choreographer Shameka Blake (TIFF, Damien Marley, Sean Paul), educator and artist LaToya Ottley, and choreographer Raechele Lovell (Diverse Works Dance Company). There will also be volunteer positions available.


Hosted by antiracism and racial justice educator Selam Debs and arts and culture purveyor Glodeane Brown, Legacy will feature performances by hip hop artist Ramsay Almighty, percussionist Gerima Harvey and award-winning youth mentor, Top 100 Canadian Idol contestant, singer and songwriter Rufus John. Audience members will be treated to a specially recorded round table discussion with past performers about their indelible experience with Legacy and its influence on their lives. During the event, artists will perform a special tribute to honour Legacy alumni, award-winning sister duo Mystic & Miranda (“Speed of Love,” “Thinkin’ About You”) and singer, songwriter Faith Walker (“Head In The Clouds,” “Steppin’ Out”). The evening’s house band, The Recipee Band, will back the performing artists. The Recipee Band has performed with international heavyweights Brandy, Mya, Usher, Kardinal Offishall, Jully Black and many more.

“I come from an environment where I was always the other, and I struggled to find my community. So when I auditioned for Legacy, sang an Usher song, and people knew what that was, I felt at home. I found my tribe where I could safely explore and grow my creativity,” says Rufus John, Founder of The Freedom Marching Project. That same sentiment has been expressed by many alumni, and the committee continues to work diligently to carry it forward with future Legacy members as well.


Legacy is presented with the generous support of the Waterloo Region Community Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts and Region of Waterloo Arts Fund.


For more details about Legacy: What Was, What Is, What Will Be, visit our website:

Connect with The Freedom Marching Project:






WHAT: Legacy: What Was, What Is, What Will Be

WHERE: Conrad Centre for the Performing Arts

36 Kings St W, Kitchener

N2G 1A3


WHO: Rufus John, Ramsay Almighty, and Gerima Harvey, plus up-and-coming talent. Hosted by Selam Debs and Glodeane Brown.

WHEN: Saturday, February 25th, 2023

TIME: Doors open at 5 pm / Showtime at 6 pm

Tickets available at

** Talent available for interviews

Media is to provide interview questions in advance

Media Inquiries:

The Freedom Marching Project

Rufus John | | 519.500.9394

About Legacy:

Legacy uses the power of entertainment to celebrate and appreciate Black Excellence. The Freedom Marching Project formed the Legacy Committee. It later partnered with The Caribbean Canadian Association of Waterloo Region and K-W Multicultural centre to revive the community event. The group provides a safe space where young aspiring artists can acquire tools, skills and knowledge through mentorship to build on their artistry. Then, ready with their newly acquired appreciation, they’ll hit the stage to unapologetically express Black joy, culture, beauty and excellence via a presentation at the Legacy Showcase.

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