For Jessi Ingalls, this weekend’s Pride parade in the southern Manitoba city of Morden was supposed to be a celebration.
But after having a Pride flag ripped from the home she shares with her partner and two children last weekend, she says she’s now going to Saturday’s parade as an act of defiance.
“It’s definitely more of a protest. It’s not so much a celebration,” she said Friday.
“It’s more of ‘we’re here and we’re not going away, and you need to either learn to love and accept that or be quiet.'”
The tearing down of Ingalls’s flag overnight last Saturday is one of several acts of homophobic vandalism in the Pembina Valley region, as Morden — a city of just over 9,000 — prepares for its second ever Pride parade, following one in 2019.
A van, two Pride flags, and a church have all been vandalized recently in Morden and the nearby city of Winkler.
The day before her flag was torn down, Ingalls said she was having a yard sale when someone working for a political campaign showed up and tried to start a debate.
“I asked him to leave after explaining that they’re hurting people. And then that night, overnight, our flag was ripped off.”
The following day, a van that belonged to a friend in Winkler, which had been decorated for Pride, was spray-painted with a homophobic slur, Ingalls said.
“She’s got five kids, and they have to drive around with that van like that, when it’s supposed to be spreading love and kindness and acceptance.”
And on Wednesday, rainbow-coloured decorations outside St. Paul’s United Church in Morden were torn down and left in the street.
The church’s minister, Carrie Martens, said she was expecting something like that to happen — so the church bought extra supplies.
Unfortunately, these acts of hostility aren’t new to Martens, who identifies as part of the queer community. During Pride month last year, Martens says she fielded an angry phone call over a rainbow flag in the church’s window “indicating that I was leading my congregation to hell.”
But in recent months, it feels like that anger is growing, Martens said.
“We’ve been just noticing that there’s this gradual incline in anti-rainbow [LGBTQ] rhetoric going around the community.”
Acts of hostility
CBC News has contacted the Morden Police Service to find out whether it is investigating any of the incidents but did not receive a response before deadline on Friday.
CBC has also contacted the Manitoba RCMP for the same information.
Morden Mayor Brandon Burley said he’s aware of the incidents, and he and his council have extended their support to the local LGBTQ community.
He’s planning on walking in Saturday’s parade along with other members of city council.
“We’re not going to allow our rainbow community to suffer that intimidation,” said Burley. “Council is squarely in the corner of the rainbow community, and we have their backs.”
The incidents in Morden come on the heels of other acts of homophobic vandalism in Manitoba and beyond in recent months.
There have been various reports across Canada of LGBTQ and transgender flags being stolen, damaged and even burned.
Last month, a Pride flag was stolen from a Winnipeg school just days after several books that covered LGBTQ and Indigenous themes were taken from a teacher’s classroom.
Amid reports of increased hate — including 2021 Statistics Canada data that found a 64 per cent rise in hate crimes related to sexual orientation from the year before — the federal government said this year it would provide emergency funding to help Pride festivals across Canada ensure security.
People who talked with CBC about the latest incidents said they worry the current political climate could be contributing to hostility against the LGBTQ community in southern Manitoba, especially with a byelection this month in Portage-Lisgar — the federal riding that includes Morden and Winkler.
It’s all left some members of the community feeling on edge, said Peter Wohlgemut, president of Pembina Valley Pride, which supports LGBTQ people in the region.
“Some people quite obviously are feeling unsafe or feeling rather targeted,” Wohlgemut said.
“It’s violence directed against our community.… That is very concerning and makes people wonder, ‘am I safe in my community?'”
Ingalls said the vandalism at her home has left her shaken.
“I moved here and I expected this to be, like, my forever home. I have two kids and we raise our kids here. They go to school here. We contribute to society the same way everybody else does,” she said.
“To not feel safe because somebody came onto my property and took something while my kids were sleeping in the middle of the night, it doesn’t give us a lot of security anymore.”
Still, she said she feels encouraged by the level of support she’s seen in the community.
“If you drive through Morden and Winkler right now, there’s more Pride flags hanging from houses than we’ve ever seen,” she said.
“People are going out and buying it specifically just to show support and show that this isn’t how our community normally is. This is not how we raise our kids. This is not the community that we want for each other.”
'ET Canada' cancelled by Corus Entertainment, blames 'challenging' advertising market – CTV News
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Entertainment Tonight Canada to end after 18 seasons
Canadian media company Corus Entertainment has announced it is ending flagship entertainment program Entertainment Tonight (ET) Canada after 18 seasons.
“The costs of producing a daily entertainment newsmagazine show in a challenging advertising environment have led to this decision,” read a statement posted on the company’s website on Wednesday.
“We recognize the impact this decision has on the dedicated team who have worked on the show and we thank them for their meaningful contributions over the years.”
The show’s final episode will air on Oct. 6, with reruns airing in the same time slot on Global TV until Oct. 31, a Corus spokesperson told CBC News.
The cancellation won’t impact Corus’s obligation to produce Canadian content under the rules set out by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the spokesperson said.
ET Canada’s website and social media platforms will also be shut down. The spokesperson declined to comment on how many people had been laid off as a result, but said the program’s hosts were impacted.
The network said it has no plans for another entertainment news show.
An hour-long, magazine-style show that focused on entertainment, celebrity, film and TV news, ET Canada began airing in 2005 on Global TV, which is owned by Corus Entertainment.
The program has been hosted by Canadian media personality Cheryl Hickey since its launch, with regular appearances by entertainment reporters, including Sangita Patel — a co-host since 2022 — plus Carlos Bustamante, Keshia Chanté and Morgan Hoffman.
The cancellation leaves ETalk, CTV’s weeknight show, as Canada’s lone major entertainment news program.
Andrea Grau, founder and CEO of entertainment publicity firm Touchwood PR, said ET Canada offered a Canadian perspective that made it stand out in the U.S.-dominated entertainment landscape.
“There was this great Entertainment Tonight brand that was going on in the U.S. — we all watched. And the idea of a Canadian arm of it was very special because it could give a different slant,” she said.
ET Canada’s demise comes during a major shift in the industry, she said, as publicists struggle to find entertainment outlets that can shine a spotlight on emerging Canadian artists and projects.
“Even though we share a language with the U.S. and we share pop culture, we are still Canadian and we have a different perspective,” Grau said, noting that ET Canada’s hosts were a mainstay on the U.S. press circuit.
“You see those relationships that have been built over the years of having Sangita [Patel] standing on a red carpet interviewing someone, or Cheryl Hickey interviewing someone. They’re recognizable to [celebrities] after all of these years, too,” she said. “They’ve created such a strong brand.”
Canada just had its lowest number of births in 17 years. What’s behind it?
The number of babies born in Canada dropped to a 17-year-low last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic and a declining fertility rate, data shows.
A Statistics Canada report released Tuesday showed there were 351,679 births registered across the country in 2022, which was a five per cent decrease from the previous year. This was Canada’s sharpest drop recorded since 2005.
Before 2022, the lowest number of births recorded was in 2005, with 345,044 babies born nationwide.
While the number of births in all provinces and territories declined last year, Nova Scotia was the notable outlier with a 12.8 per cent increase in live births.
The biggest decrease was in Nunavut, with the number of births dropping 11.8 per cent compared with 2021.
Canada, like many other developed countries, has been seeing declining birth trends over the past several years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has affected many people’s plans to have kids, said Kate Choi, an associate professor of sociology at Western University.
“Although the fertility decline was indeed part of a larger trend of fertility decreases that have been occurring in Canada, the magnitude of the decrease is larger than what we would have anticipated in the absence of COVID-19,” she told Global News in an interview.
The high cost of living has magnified the size of the drop in births, Choi said.
“It’s very expensive to have children and right now, when everything is expensive, it’s very hard for young adults to be able to have the type of lifestyle that allows them to have children, which is contributing to delayed and forgone fertility,” she added.
It’s a concerning trend for Canada, according to Choi, who said decreasing birth rates have the potential to exacerbate population aging issues.
Canada is considered a low-fertility country and its fertility rate has been declining over the past decade.
The latest Statistics Canada data from 2021 reported a fertility rate of 1.44 children per woman that year — marking a slight increase following a steady decline since 2009.
The fertility rate is an estimate of the average number of live births a female can be expected to have in her lifetime, according to StatCan.
Lifestyle changes and work decisions are contributing factors, with a shift toward smaller families, said Mark Rosenberg, an expert in geography and professor emeritus at Queen’s University.
“I think mainly the factors we should focus on are first and foremost women’s decisions around the labour force and delaying birth until they’re in their 30s,” he told Global News in an interview.
There is also an increasing number of younger people living in single-person households, Rosenberg added.
Despite the drop in births, Canada’s population has been growing at a “record-setting pace,” surpassing the milestone of 40 million people earlier this year, due to a focus on increasing immigration.
Meanwhile, the StatCan report Tuesday also showed a rise in the proportion of babies who were born with a low birth weight — less than 2,500 grams.
Seven per cent of all babies had a low birth weight in 2022 compared with 6.6 per cent the year before.
Babies with a low birth weight are at an increased risk of complications, such as inhibited growth and development and even death, according to StatCan.
“When we see higher rates of low birth weight babies or higher rates of babies that are born who are overweight, those are issues that we should be concerned about because they reflect on people’s health,” Rosenberg said.
— with files from Global News’ Katherine Ward
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