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Former Norwich, Ont. councillor welcomed to Toronto Pride month event

A former Norwich, Ont. town councillor took centre stage at a Toronto Pride Month event.

Alisha Stubbs, who resigned last week over what she called “blatant discrimination”, attended the unveiling of a Progress Flag inside 51 Division headquarters of the Toronto Police.

Stubbs' decision came on the heels of a 3-2 vote to ban all non-governmental flags on Norwich Township property.

An earlier motion had specifically mentioned Pride and Progress flags

Among those who voted in favour of the motion was Norwich Mayor Jim Palmer.

CTV News attempted to reach Palmer Thursday with no success.

Back in Toronto, Stubbs expressed no regrets about her decision.

“I stand by the words that I said. We can use our positions of power to do good,” she said.

But in Norwich Thursday, some of her supporters said they are experiencing intimidation.

Jennifer Wild of Norwich Residents for Love and Acceptance is among them.

Jennifer Wild, seen on June 1, 2023. (Sean Irvine/CTV News London)

“We’ve felt a little unsafe in the town. We have not been quiet about our beliefs. We haven’t been quiet about why we are angry,” said Wild.

Wild, who wears a cross to express her faith in Christianity, cannot understand why some other followers in Norwich stand against Pride and Progress Flags.

One church offering its full support is Norwich United. It is hosting a Pride service this Sunday at 10:30 a.m.

Part of their preparations includes a Progress flag. It will soon be secured inside a large boulder at the front steps, so it can't be easily removed.

Over the past months, some Pride and Progress flags and symbols around town have been disappeared.

Pastor Janice Pow of Norwich United Church, as seen on June 1, 2023. (Sean Irvine/CTV News London)

Inside the church, Pastor Janice Pow is mentally preparing to give a sermon about love on Sunday, “Jesus never talked about who not to love. Jesus never said ‘Don’t love that guy. Don’t love that person or woman’.”

While the sermon will be about love and peace, Pastor Pow has safety concerns.

She told CTV News she has been assured police will patrol the church area during the service.

She said it is all part of an effort to take a stand against intimidation.

Norwich United Church, as seen on June 1, 2023. (Sean Irvine/CTV News London)

“You can only remain quiet to keep the peace for so long. And then you have to speak up,” she said.

Which, in the minds of many, is exactly what Stubbs did.

While she’s out of office now, she contends her power to fight has only grown.

“With anything to do with safety and inclusion, the fight should never be over until all people feel safe,” said Stubbs.
 

— With files from CP24s Beatrice Vaisman

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