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Maxed Out: Action4Canada doesn’t reflect the Whistler community

'They are social conservatives who seem to long for a simpler time. A time when more of the country was white, Anglo-Saxon, Judeo-Christian'
Action4Canada Tanya Gaw has recently come under fire for her comments calling Truth and Reconciliation a "witch hunt" and arguing historical Indigenous harms were their own doing.

“The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”

-Chicken Little

Ain’t it just?

If you pay any attention to what’s going on in this country and the larger world, it’s pretty easy to believe the sky is, if not falling, certainly having trouble staying up. Brutal wars are being waged, notably in Ukraine and the Middle East, but conflicts we’ve long since grown tired of hearing about continue to take lives. Lookin’ at you, Syria.

Strongmen nationalists and quasi-dictators are rising to power on fear-stoking campaigns promising to set matters “right,” generally at the expense of groups they can point to as undesirable. The Orange Monster still wants to make America great again, perhaps better spelled “grate.”

People are struggling to afford groceries. They’re struggling with higher interest rates than they’ve ever seen. Dreams of a home of their own are vanishing unless they want to move to places like Thunder Bay—no offence, TB. A third of all restaurants say they’re operating at a loss.

But all those ills and many, many more, pale in comparison to the horror show that plays out on social media and the grey recesses of the internet.

A group that finds very little right with modern life came to town last week to organize likeminded people to discuss—fight?—their own sky-killing maladies. Their list of current issues with which they take exception is long and brings to mind the entertaining song of Professor Wagstaff of Huxley College, played by Groucho Marx in the film Horsefeathers: “(Whatever it Is) I’m Against It!”

If their positions on many issues didn’t have traction in some quarters, they’d be hilarious. But they’re not. Instead, they show a profound distaste for both science and social order and they’re woefully out of step with both the country and this community.

Action4Canada claims to be “a grassroots movement reaching out to millions of Canadians and UNITING our voices in opposition to the destructive policies tearing at the fabric of this nation,” its website reads. “[W]e educate, equip and empower citizens to take action. We are committed to protecting... FAITH, FAMILY and FREEDOM.”

It doesn’t take long to figure out the things they want to protect is their faith, their family and their freedom. Not yours if you happen to disagree with them. They’ll happily crush yours if it doesn’t mesh with theirs.

They are social conservatives who seem to long for a simpler time. A time when more of the country was white, Anglo-Saxon, Judeo-Christian. It goes without saying they’re anti-abortion. They also believe climate change is a bogus conspiracy with no grounding in science. They’re convinced—and fighting in court to prove—that Canada’s response to Covid was ill-conceived, heavy-handed, and illegal. The Canadian body count, 54,498, and world deaths, 6.9 million, were apparently insufficient to impinge their personal liberties.

Childhood vaccines? Dangerous poison, a crippler of body and brain. Medical assistance in dying, also known as MAID? Acts of murder. The United Nations? Canada should pull out... now.

But it’s the intolerance of many of their social positions that strike at the very structure of the Canadian experiment. They argue critical race theory—the study of how society’s laws and social structures are shaped by conceptions of race and ethnicity and ways to level the playing field—is a “dangerous and harmful Marxist agenda intended to destroy the foundation of our nation which is built on Judeo-Christian principles.” This polemic fits well with their belief multiculturalism is a “failed experiment that is destroying the fabric of our nation.”

It gets worse. They’re convinced LGBTQ+ activists have infiltrated schools and are forcing their deviance on innocent children. They consider SOGI—Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity—an element of the curriculum in School District 48, to not be about treating everyone with dignity and respect and making schools a safe place for all students, but instead to be insidious indoctrination to confuse children about issues of gender orientation. They call for and support efforts to ban all books from school libraries they have deemed “pornographic” that touch on the subject.

They believe the entire concept of the 15-minute city impugns the law of God—their God, of course—and is a ruse to monitor and control all aspects of life, establish a surveillance state, restrict freedom of movement, outlaw property and car ownership and establish a social credit score for right-thinking people, one that will punish those who refuse to go along with the groupthink.

I can’t begin to touch on all the positions this group takes. You can see for yourself if you enjoy a good horror story:

I’m heartened by the miserly turnout Thursday evening. Only six people attended... and one reporter. This is not a group who reflects our community. It is a group who would embrace a theocracy based on their own religion of exclusion, fear and hatred of those who don’t see the world the way they do.

Their founder and leader, Tanya Gaw, is reported to have posted on X on Oct. 12: “ It’s time to pull the plug and end the charade of the Truth and Reconciliation witch hunt. The graves are empty and indigenous violence is their own doing.”

Locally, Lil’wat representatives are appalled the Catholic church in Whistler would host an organizing meeting for Action4Canada. They’ve conveyed this message, stating, “Providing a platform for a group that denies the well-documented atrocities of residential schools is unbelievable. This even was flagged with Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church, who responded that Action4Canada is ‘a parents’ rights group that focuses on moral teachings.’” (See related story on page 15.)

They have called upon the leaders of Whistler to examine tax exemptions for the church in light of their actions.

When I asked about the church’s position in providing space for the meeting, Father Andrew L’Heureux responded, “I don’t think these are settled issues. We definitely haven’t seen any debate among experts to make up our own minds. These are issues that are about the good of humanity. If the only way you can hold your position is to not talk about it, it seems to me that is not freedom but more entrenchment of ideology.”

Say what?

This seems to fit a pattern. It wasn’t that long ago the local church was embroiled in controversy because of their alignment with the Napa Institute, a traditionalist Catholic lobby group that seems to share many of the same beliefs espoused by Action4Canada.

I can only take solace in the reality that so few people in town would bother to come out for this event. And I join with the Lil’wat people in their hopes the muni will re-examine their policy around permissive tax exemptions for this and other churches.